Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2006 Where's the densitophiles' rage about the new BCBS garage? Previous Next
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Huggybear
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Username: Huggybear

Post Number: 197
Registered: 08-2005
Posted From: 68.252.68.251
Posted on Saturday, April 22, 2006 - 10:15 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

It is amazing, given the size of the new BCBS garage and the site and the specifics of its site plan, that this group hasn't broken into spasms of outrage. Was it that everyone was fixating on Staples?

Did anyone notice that - aside from the monster proportions of the garage that block many people's skyline views and whose entrance threatens traffic backups on the 375 service drive - that the site plan calls for yet another surface parking lot (and/or other empty space) to face Beaubien?

http://www.detnews.com/2005/bu siness/0504/24/C01-159720.htm

This would make BCBS into yet one more surface lot owner in the Randolph-Beaubien corridor (which if you look carefully, seems already to contain half of downtown's surface parking and associated visual blight). They're building an 1,800 car garage to replace a 700-car one? Do they really need one square inch of surface lot after doing that?

If BCBS wants to fit into the community, it should be redeveloping Randolph and Congress into something that can integrate into Bricktown. It doesn't have to be much more than two-story brick to work - not even that expensive to build, especially compared to a $40mm garage. But a surface lot? Come on.

While we're at it, what's stopping the relocation of that concrete brutalist utility building across Congress? If you could have that site too, you would have the other side of the street - and could put some depth in the neighborhood.
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Livernoisyard
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Username: Livernoisyard

Post Number: 477
Registered: 10-2004
Posted From: 69.242.223.42
Posted on Saturday, April 22, 2006 - 10:46 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

So now buildings have to be politically correct too now in a city with a fair number of skyscrapers, eh? Some people should get a life if all they got to complain about is the height of another skyscraper!
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Iheartthed
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Username: Iheartthed

Post Number: 27
Registered: 04-2006
Posted From: 68.40.50.194
Posted on Saturday, April 22, 2006 - 11:51 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The city of Detroit really needs to put a moratorium on downtown parking structures/lots QUICKLY if they don't want to kill downtown's revival.
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Lowell
Board Administrator
Username: Lowell

Post Number: 2516
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 66.167.210.27
Posted on Saturday, April 22, 2006 - 12:03 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I drove past that monster yesterday and, with all the other parking structures rising, began to wonder if a glut of parking space will not cause that market to implode at some time.

Is there any study out there that assesses the need vs. the supply? Or is downtown growth so robust that the costs of all this will be justified?
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1953
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Username: 1953

Post Number: 767
Registered: 12-2004
Posted From: 65.54.154.43
Posted on Saturday, April 22, 2006 - 12:17 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Taller! Taller! Must fill skyline!
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Huggybear
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Username: Huggybear

Post Number: 198
Registered: 08-2005
Posted From: 68.252.68.251
Posted on Saturday, April 22, 2006 - 12:40 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

There's nothing wrong with the structure itself. A couple blocks closer into the CBD and it would blend right in. The only time it looks out of scale is from the east side of 375. The aspect is not a skyscraper. It's a cube.

It's great that they're thinking ahead. If they can sell parking that you have to go up 9 levels to reach, more power to them. If anything, these big structures are a vote of confidence in redevelopment.

The traffic will get exciting, at least given my experience that quite a few BCBS employees entering the campus from Lafayette seem incapable of signaling left turns or avoiding "blocking the box." Wait until they are doing that on a freeway service drive. Anybody have a body shop for sale?

But flattening a big piece of land even farther into the CBD seemed to get little attention. That corner where the 1970 garage currently sits is dead adjacent to the Bricktown people mover station. That's why it's a shame that it will become... nothing. We ought to be paying attention to what adjoins these stops - joke as it is, the People Mover does seem to be getting more ridership. Figures, since they finally built things near the stops. The strip between Randolph and Beaubien is already blighted as hell - and what is terrible about it is that it adjoins one of Detroit's most popular tourist destinations.

Will all this parking glut the market? Who knows. We have a huge garage at Compuware, a huge garage on the Premier site, a huge Millennium Garage, a huge Opera House garage, a huge Ford Field Garage, and a huge Greektown staff garage. I'm probably forgetting a couple. If anything, the pace seems to be building. Demoing the Greektown structure for the new casino will probably put a pinch on supply.

But could you ever sink surface parking by increasing the supply with structures? Probably not. If structures run $12-18K per space, it is very hard to price competitively with a surface lot where your only capital costs might be demoing some small commercial building and then paving over the site with asphalt. You can probably make all the money back in the first year on a surface lot.

The only way to get rid of surface lots is to introduce an externality that makes them unprofitable. Good luck. The people who own those lots are big political contributors.

BTW, that utility building turned out to be the St. Antoine electrical substation. Probably not easy to move!
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Jams
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Username: Jams

Post Number: 3146
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 68.79.118.181
Posted on Saturday, April 22, 2006 - 1:20 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The current structure on the Beaubien is insufficent for BC/BS needs. After 10-15 years of summer repairs, anyone who sat out in front of Beaubien Street or The Detroiter dealt with the noise and sometimes huge dust clouds each night every summer, it's finally going to be gone. Good riddance to that unsightly hulk.

According to the rendering, it looks as if it will be a landscaped and veiled surface parking lot, I'm assuming for visitors to the building. It actually may have more eye appeal than the current situation.

BC/BS does not have parking open to the public due to the "insurance risks" so all of this parking is only for the BC/BS campus.

Personally, I find the new structure well thought out, using a relatively small footprint but rising vertically maximizing parking on the end of the campus that has very little foot traffic today or in the foreseeable future and designed to fit in with the rest of the campus's architecture. I also like the expansion of the greenspace on the Congress side, instead of the old parking structure.

While this Campus' design might be too "Suburban" for many of you, I think this plan by BC/BS is far better than the last expansion when East Fort Street and St. Antoine were made into private entrances.
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Jams
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Username: Jams

Post Number: 3147
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 68.79.118.181
Posted on Saturday, April 22, 2006 - 1:54 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Huggybear

quote:

If BCBS wants to fit into the community, it should be redeveloping Randolph and Congress
into something that can integrate into Bricktown. It doesn't have to be much more than two-story brick to work - not even that expensive to build, especially compared to a $40mm garage. But a surface lot? Come on.




1. Randolph and Congress is two blocks from BC/BS. That is one corner of the old Wayne County Building.

2. BC/BS area is a "CAMPUS". It is an entity within an entity. There is no compelling interest for it to build structures in order for it to become a "landlord" of a "retail strip".

Everyone applauds Compuware and their employees for contributing to the revival of Downtown and the CBD, but BC/BS set up shop and stayed during the bleakest times and now are consolidating many of their operations to the Downtown Campus as opposed to moving to a totally suburban location.

They deserve far more credit than they receive, although I hate my monthly bill from them.
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Ltorivia485
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Username: Ltorivia485

Post Number: 2590
Registered: 08-2004
Posted From: 199.74.87.98
Posted on Saturday, April 22, 2006 - 2:42 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I rather have tall parking garage structures that can fit cars within one city block than individual companies taking up empty sites that could go to skyscrapers as their own parking sections.
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Motorcitymayor2026
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Username: Motorcitymayor2026

Post Number: 711
Registered: 10-2005
Posted From: 68.21.44.129
Posted on Saturday, April 22, 2006 - 3:05 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

well, they wouldnt build them if we didn't need them. Obviously, this means more people are coming downtown....and since underground parking isnt very pheasible, vertical parking is better than horizontal street parking. In the last few years, there have been more garages built (and nice ones too) than there have been ugly paved surface lots.... New buildings, renovations, or fuller occupancy are bound to follow
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Royce
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Username: Royce

Post Number: 1591
Registered: 07-2004
Posted From: 75.9.241.144
Posted on Saturday, April 22, 2006 - 5:20 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Huggybear, you think this garage is bad, wait until the 13 story one goes up for the permanent Greektown Casino hotel/parking deck on Monroe.

I do hope that one day BC/BS will sell or lease the land where they plan to build the surface parking lot to a developer who would build some townhomes instead. That corner has been begging for some kind of pedestrian activity for years, and having some residential units along Beaubien would be ideal. Even if the townhomes were just built on the Beaubien side with a smaller surface parking lot behind them along Congress would be an acceptable compromise.

BTW, Jams, I use to park on East Fort where the BC/BS addition is now located. When that huge parking lot was there I used to imagine how nice it would have been to have some townhomes along that stretch of Fort. Being in the heart of Greektown, I'm sure the developer of these townhomes could have gotten a handsome penny for residential units in that location.

(Message edited by royce on April 22, 2006)
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Huggybear
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Username: Huggybear

Post Number: 199
Registered: 08-2005
Posted From: 68.252.68.251
Posted on Saturday, April 22, 2006 - 7:17 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Jams - sorry. I drive on Beaubien every day (and have for years), and I still confuse it with Randolph occasionally. :-) I think it's because I'm always late for work and never paying attention to the street signs!
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Huggybear
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Username: Huggybear

Post Number: 200
Registered: 08-2005
Posted From: 68.252.68.251
Posted on Saturday, April 22, 2006 - 7:24 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)


quote:

Huggybear, you think this garage is bad, wait until the 13 story one goes up for the permanent Greektown Casino hotel/parking deck on Monroe.


Well, that one will have at least one positive... it will block the view of the prison attached to 1300 Beaubien! :-)
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Mackinaw
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Username: Mackinaw

Post Number: 1402
Registered: 02-2005
Posted From: 141.213.173.94
Posted on Saturday, April 22, 2006 - 9:31 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Don't worry, this part of the skyline will fill in big time when Greektown Casino builds WAY up on the Monroe/St. Antoine site. There's one block where a plain old parking structure will be replaced by sometime substantial.
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Erikd
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Username: Erikd

Post Number: 587
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 69.242.214.106
Posted on Sunday, April 23, 2006 - 5:26 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)


quote:

It is amazing, given the size of the new BCBS garage and the site and the specifics of its site plan, that this group hasn't broken into spasms of outrage. Was it that everyone was fixating on Staples? ...But flattening a big piece of land even farther into the CBD seemed to get little attention. That corner where the 1970 garage currently sits is dead adjacent to the Bricktown people mover station. That's why it's a shame that it will become... nothing.




Huggybear,

I am one of the 'densitophiles" that wasn't happy about the land use pattern for the new Staples on Jefferson, so I should be able to clear up most of your questions.

1. I'll start off by pointing out that the land use style of the new BCBS garage and the new Staples are completely different. The new Staples will be constructed in a strip-mall style with a large parking lot in front, and the building set back from the street. Every building located between Jefferson and Atwater on Jos Campau (except Staples) is built out to the sidewalk. The infill plans for that section of Rivertown call for urban, non-strip mall style development. The outcry over Staples was due to the city's decision to allow development on Jefferson to happen in a strip mall fashion that conflicts with the pedestrian friendly vision for the rest of Rivertown.

The new BCBS garage is a very different situation for a few reasons...

A. Staples is building a parking lot on JEFFERSON, at the corner of a growing area designed to be pedestrian friendly and attractive. BCBS is building a structure on a freeway service drive. Unlike the Jefferson/Campau intersection, the 375 service drive is not suitable for pedestrian friendly development.

B. Parking garages are NOT the same as parking lots. The suggestion that parking garages conflict with urbanity and density is flat-out wrong. Parking garages are commonplace in high-density urban areas, and they generally help fill out the urban landscape and streetwall, unlike the surface lots that create gaps in the streetwall and discourage pedestrian activity.

2. Your lament over the demise of the aging garage on Beaubian is almost comical...


quote:

"flattening a big piece of land even farther into the CBD...That corner where the 1970 garage currently sits is dead adjacent to the Bricktown people mover station. That's why it's a shame that it will become... nothing."




You must be joking. Do you really think that tearing down the crumbling garage on Beaubian, and opening up the property for development is such a dreadful situation?

I love the BCBS garage for 2 simple reasons: They are turning a surface parking lot into a structure, and they are opening up prime real estate for development at the same time.
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Jams
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Username: Jams

Post Number: 3157
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 68.79.101.1
Posted on Sunday, April 23, 2006 - 2:45 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

ErikD,
Have you or anyone on this forum seen a site plan of the proposed Staples?
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Reetz12
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Username: Reetz12

Post Number: 46
Registered: 09-2005
Posted From: 69.246.61.199
Posted on Sunday, April 23, 2006 - 3:10 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Jams the layout of Staples is as follows, imagine four boxes together 1 and 2 on the top and 3 and 4 on the bottom. Along the 3-4 is Jefferson. Along 1 and 3 is the side street (atwater) Staples sits in the 1 box, 2 box is parking, 3 box is parking and 4 box is retail strip mall. I have the drawings at work if youwant me to email you the layout..have trouble posting on this forum.

Although I agree with what BCBS is doing, good for them

(Message edited by reetz12 on April 23, 2006)
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Motorcitymayor2026
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Username: Motorcitymayor2026

Post Number: 732
Registered: 10-2005
Posted From: 24.231.189.137
Posted on Sunday, April 23, 2006 - 3:51 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

reetz, could you email them to me?

nickq9488 at yahoo dot com

thanks
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Lmichigan
Member
Username: Lmichigan

Post Number: 3587
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 67.172.95.197
Posted on Sunday, April 23, 2006 - 9:57 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

To Huggybear, who totally missed the logic why many aren't decrying the construction of this new garage, Erik D. summed it up very simply:

"I love the BCBS garage for 2 simple reasons: They are turning a surface parking lot into a structure, and they are opening up prime real estate for development at the same time."

I wouldn't go so far as to say I i{love} the new BCBS, but I'm certainly not going to complain about it for the reasons given above.
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Erikd
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Username: Erikd

Post Number: 591
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 69.242.214.106
Posted on Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 3:10 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Jams,

The Staples project is strip-mall style with a parking lot in front. I don't need to see the actual blueprints to understand what a strip mall looks like.

To clarify the viewpoint on the garage vs. parking lot debate, it is very simple:

All parking is NOT created equal.

Parking garages are a perfect example of high-density, urban-style, development built to accomodate heavy use on a small area of land. This type of high-density development allows a plethora of activity to take place within a small area of land, thus enabling a pedestrian and mass transit-friendly environment.

Parking lots are low-density land hogs that result in spread-out development, making pedestrian and mass transit travel difficult and impractical.

Comparing the BCBS garage with the Staples parking lot is like comparing the RenCen with the Poletown plant.
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Fury13
Member
Username: Fury13

Post Number: 1037
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 69.14.122.204
Posted on Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 9:27 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Well, one thing that (most) parking garages, parking lots, the Ren Cen, and the Poletown plant all have in common is...

They're ugly.

Damn ugly.
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E_hemingway
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Username: E_hemingway

Post Number: 587
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 68.42.176.123
Posted on Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 9:48 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I like BCBS plan. That garage is great. If they're going to build a parking garage, I prefer they do it as tall as possible and make it blend with the surrounding area. It looks like that is what's happening. If BCBS develops the area around Bricktown in the near future, it will really hit a home run with the project.
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Huggybear
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Username: Huggybear

Post Number: 202
Registered: 08-2005
Posted From: 68.79.166.37
Posted on Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 9:54 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Lmich, it's not a question of logic - it's a question of experience with what happens when "prime real estate" is "opened for development." That was the same idea when the M-L got mowed down, right? I guess it makes sense if you define "development" as something happening when land prices get above $1mm a square foot. You can justify "opening land for development" in places where land is viewed as an asset and not a liability. Witness the pocket lots in Manhattan.

"Opened for development", in this town, generally means "surface parking lot until the Second Coming." Until that land actually has something in place, it's only a question of shuffling higher-density parking from one end of the BCBS campus to the other - and leaving the part that faces the CBD vacant - just like a lot of the surrounding property. Visitors don't ooh and aah at things along the 375 service drive - but they do gape at how much of the east side of the CBD has been leveled.

This is why I am surprised that people who complained that the Staples was (does anyone even know this for certain?) on the back of its lot (instead of the front) didn't go crazy. Absent some actual development (or even a plan), this is essentially the same zero-sum game. It may even be worse, since it is all parking and does not (at least on the surface) add any retail or anything else that might arouse the interest of the public.

I hope people haven't gotten to the point where they are thinking categorically that having huge parking areas breaking up a small CBD is ok just because the parking goes up rather than across. Although it may be desirable to concentrate more cars in one place, building up does not look like a huge success story. Maybe it is at places like Compuware or Ford Field's office building, where concentrating a lot of parking facilitates a large development - but the city is littered with large structures (and one underground garage) that are no more functional as streetscape elements than surface lots are. "Ground floor retail" is a relatively new requirement for new garages, but it has been a very mixed bag in the execution. Visible vacancy, a lot of marginal retail, and some success stories.

And are above-ground, multistory parking garages necessarily "urban"? Maybe this is the somewhat distorted view we get when our experience is limited to a dichotomy between (a) huge surface lot or (b) monster garages.
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Jfried
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Username: Jfried

Post Number: 823
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 209.131.7.190
Posted on Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 12:04 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

reetz - you must have an old site plan. the layout I've seen shows the staples fronting the corner of jefferson/jos comp with minimal setback, and parking behind. the second building (at the west end, adj to hollywood) is also fronting jefferson with parking behing.
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Detroitplanner
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Username: Detroitplanner

Post Number: 25
Registered: 04-2006
Posted From: 63.85.13.248
Posted on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 - 9:25 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

For Petes sake, why must you argue about those that want to invest i the City, ANY retail the fills holes in the current market, and saves money for small business ventures should be lauded. Where were all of you a few years ago when the Hospital was torn down without a peep?

You need retail now that fulfills a need more than you need rather than a building that you want. Can anyone show me an example of a multi story staples (or any of its like sized competitors) store for instance? I for one would not want to live above a Staples. With all of those trucks going in and out, open very early and very late hours, it would be a very noisy place to be. Plus the fact that if you have a car it would have to be in the middle of buggies all the time getting dinged or scraped.
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Detroitduo
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Username: Detroitduo

Post Number: 596
Registered: 06-2005
Posted From: 194.138.39.56
Posted on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 - 9:29 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

That's right! We should just let the people who have the money to invest do whatever the hell they want with no rules or plan! I mean, come ON! They want to invest money in our City! Get off their backs already, jez!
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Gumby
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Username: Gumby

Post Number: 1129
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 68.60.143.186
Posted on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 - 10:00 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)


quote:

Maybe it is at places like Compuware or Ford Field's office building, where concentrating a lot of parking facilitates a large development - but the city is littered with large structures (and one underground garage) that are no more functional as streetscape elements than surface lots are.




What do you mean 1 underground garage? There are 4 that come to my mind instantly. Ford Auditorium, Kenedy Square, Hudsons Block, and Grand Circus Park. I also believe that Compuware has some underground parking because there is that entrance in the median of Monroe.

Look I would love it if we had an effective mass transit system and these garages were unneeded but that is not the case. We have to face the reality of the situation and deal with it in the best possible way, which is what they are doing. Underground garages are expensive and requiring businesses to build them might deter new development (why do you think the city is the only one to build them?). If you wanted BCBS to build the new garage in the same location, where would you have them park while itt was torn down and they built the new one?
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Gumby
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Username: Gumby

Post Number: 1130
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 68.60.143.186
Posted on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 - 10:01 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)


quote:

That's right! We should just let the people who have the money to invest do whatever the hell they want with no rules or plan! I mean, come ON! They want to invest money in our City! Get off their backs already, jez!




Isn't that what they do with Ilitch?
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Spaceboykelly
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Username: Spaceboykelly

Post Number: 141
Registered: 04-2005
Posted From: 69.246.30.248
Posted on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 - 10:24 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Am I the only one who thinks its ironic that someone named Detroit Planner would say, "For Petes sake, why must you argue about those that want to invest i the City, ANY retail the fills holes in the current market, and saves money for small business ventures should be lauded."

City Council should definately regulate what happens on Jefferson. As far as major streets in major city's downtowns Jefferson Ave is pedestrian unfriendly enough.

Detroit should have enough vision and respect for itself so that it doesn't allow any business to do what it wants just because, "well, you're Detroit you should accept it." Look at Poletown. Can we at least admit that Poletown was an urban planning disaster and that Detroit hasn't had the best track record with urban planning?

That said, it sounds like the plans for this Staples are maintaining some kind of sembalance of urbanity. From what I've heard the storefront can be accessed from the Jefferson sidewalk. [Is that true? Can anyone verify this?] I also heard that the parking lot will be small.

Personally, I think it's strange that Staples would want to give out that much free parking on Jefferson and I wonder how many people will take the opportunity to just park there.
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Detroitduo
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Username: Detroitduo

Post Number: 599
Registered: 06-2005
Posted From: 194.138.39.56
Posted on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 - 12:17 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Spaceboykelly, I was taken aback that such a person would say that, too. If you want to see what happens to a city without a plan, go checkout Westland or Canton. Both true suburban cities. Is that really what we want in Detroit? no. Urban is and should be, urban.
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Focusonthed
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Username: Focusonthed

Post Number: 142
Registered: 02-2006
Posted From: 209.220.229.254
Posted on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 - 1:38 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

East Jefferson is NOT downtown.
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Detroitplanner
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Username: Detroitplanner

Post Number: 26
Registered: 04-2006
Posted From: 63.85.13.248
Posted on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 - 3:32 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Planning is about fullfilling needs, not a narrow minded view of what is utopia. Can you argue that small businesses in the area would welcome such a store? What about the additional jobs that this store will bring (both direct and indirect?). What you fail to realize is that this is high intensity, niche retailing. It is not going to fit into an tight urban space and be successful. The use is not adapted for a mixed use space either, making a impossible for it to be successful for office or housing as a mxture.

What is wrong with what I said? To laud is to praise, or to hold up as an example. Most of the buildings along Jefferson avenue are about the same height and same set back as what is indicated in this thread.

Sometimes the worst people you deal with as a planner are the 'know it alls' who refuse to look objectively at a project, its benefits and only with one narrow minded objective. The worst people for Detroit are many of the pro-urban folk, particularly when they, not have (unlike my self), have made Detroit their home, have put down the hard cash to become a permenant fixture in that City, and were, born raised, and educated in that City.

You have no idea what the people actually want as you are too busy dreaming of Ikeas and Cheesecake factories when its hard to find a place to buy affordable underwear downtown. We need businsesses that serve our population and that help businsess flourish. Just because it has parking does not make it the devil, there are thousands of places in Detroit that have free parking. I should also point out this is not exactly the CBD so you're definition of urban would look pretty crappy surrounded by Van DerRhoe townhomes, car dealerships, single story buildings, and strip malls.

Did you even see my reference to what was there prior? Do you even know? If you can explain to me what you did when the hospital was torn down that complimented both the strip mall next to it and the historic apartment building across the street from it then I would understand your position more, untill then I contend that this is a vacant parcel, we have needs, and this will fit in well with building new businesses in Detroit.

I'm sorry you can only see things as being 'urban' or 'suburban' not everything in this world is black or white, 99 percent of it is grey.

(Message edited by Detroitplanner on April 26, 2006)
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Reetz12
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Username: Reetz12

Post Number: 47
Registered: 09-2005
Posted From: 216.144.213.130
Posted on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 - 3:46 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Staples building does not sit on Jefferson, it sits back in the lot. The lot is surronded by shrubs and a ornamental fence. There is 108 parking spaces provided for 25,000 sf of retail space.
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Detroitduo
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Username: Detroitduo

Post Number: 605
Registered: 06-2005
Posted From: 84.156.56.97
Posted on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 - 3:48 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

East Jefferson may not be downtown, but it is Urban. East Jefferson, also is surrounded by residential and particularly the future riverside dense developments. That being said, East Jefferson needs to be "walkable". That is my only point.

For a "planner" to say, "For Petes sake, why must you argue about those that want to invest i the City, ANY retail the fills holes in the current market, and saves money for small business ventures should be lauded.", implies the developer should allowed to what s/he wants, because they are bringing business to a place where others are afraid to do business. *shrug*

While I agree that many on here want all NEW development to be more new-york-urban and high density, it doesn't entirely fit the bill for many parts of Detroit... but let's face it! It's a blank canvas in many neighborhoods. Why can't we build for the future, instead of right now? It's just a consideration. and why is it wrong? Because a bunch of quacks on a forum said it was a good idea? *shrug* I just made the comment, because it didn't sound very "planner"-like. By no means am I a planner, but I DO live in the City and have an idea how I would like it to look for the years to come...
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Detroitplanner
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Username: Detroitplanner

Post Number: 28
Registered: 04-2006
Posted From: 63.85.13.248
Posted on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 - 3:53 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Duo et al,

You people are as impossible to please as City Council. You're part of the problem, not the solution. There are sidewalks, it has pedestrian access. How many parking spots are there at Jefferson Chevrolet or the Ford Dealership?

I would assume that the only reason why there are that many spots lies in the city's zoning ordinance that prescribes there shall be X number of spaces provided for y number of square feet.

BTW, I am a certified planner with an AICP, and a member of the American Planning Association, Michigan Association of Planners, and a gradiate of WSU's College of Urban Labor Metropolitan Affairs and went to grad school at Eastern with a specialization in land use. I have been a practicing planner for nearly 18 years, working for non-profit, pro-Detroit agencies. The projects I've been invovled with are discussed on this forum everyday. I do know what I am talking about, what is your expertise?

Did you grow up in Detroit? Do you own a house in Detroit? Did your parents take you on the City bus to Tiger and Redwings games or Shopping at Hudsons? Was your Dentist in the David Whitney Building? Were you born in a Detroit hospital? Do you remember your neighborhood Sanders?

(Message edited by detroitplanner on April 26, 2006)

(Message edited by Detroitplanner on April 26, 2006)
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Detroitduo
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Username: Detroitduo

Post Number: 606
Registered: 06-2005
Posted From: 84.156.56.97
Posted on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 - 4:02 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Excuse me, but I take exception to being compared to Detroit CC... MY hat collection is MUCH more fabulous and my calendar is published professionally!

:-)

Calm down! It's simply a discussion. Like ANY of our wishes or discussions here will EVER be considered by these developments!
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Detroitplanner
Member
Username: Detroitplanner

Post Number: 29
Registered: 04-2006
Posted From: 63.85.13.248
Posted on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 - 4:07 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Do you think planners don't read this and digest your thoughts? I've gotten some good feedback on this board that I have brought to project managers.
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Jams
Member
Username: Jams

Post Number: 3178
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 68.79.99.149
Posted on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 - 7:25 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hate to bring this up again. But what is the uproar about Staples?

2/3 of the frontage on that block is a stripmall, with a gas station on the opposite corner. Am I the only one who actually walks Jefferson?

Everything that has been built on East Jefferson in the last few years is set back, parking in front, and the old urban style buildings built to the sidewalk sit vacant year after year.
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Detroitplanner
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Username: Detroitplanner

Post Number: 30
Registered: 04-2006
Posted From: 64.12.116.204
Posted on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 - 8:50 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Jams, I swear some people just don't get it. They see Detroit as some utopia that they can control. This isn't SIM City, These folks are not robert Moses, one person cannot tell another what to do with their land.
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Detroitduo
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Username: Detroitduo

Post Number: 607
Registered: 06-2005
Posted From: 84.156.56.97
Posted on Thursday, April 27, 2006 - 2:43 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Planner, I am an engineering project manager. If I know about anything, it's planning. Without a plan, it's chaos. If I answer "no" to any of your questions,does it change the value of my ideas or opinions?

I DO live in Detroit and own a house in Detroit. Not on Jefferson, because I don't like the "Telegraph" feel of that area. As a matter of fact, I never go over to that side of town, because of it. I would rather walk down Woodward to Kinkos than get in my car and drive on Jefferson. I moved to Detroit 6 years ago to live in and have an urban experience. If this development were on Woodward, then I would care, but it is not, so I don't.

Detroit is NOT a utopia, but it IS, in many ways, a blank canvas. Why do you feel the need to flash your credentials? If you are coming to this forum to read and get feedback for your projects, then you must know you will get many different opinions. I have told you I understand your opinion. I guess that doesn't matter, because I don't agree with it. *shrug*

(Message edited by detroitduo on April 27, 2006)

(Message edited by detroitduo on April 27, 2006)
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Erikd
Member
Username: Erikd

Post Number: 596
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 69.242.214.106
Posted on Thursday, April 27, 2006 - 3:26 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Detroitplanner,

You are missing the point. Nobody is saying that Staples is bad. Nobody is saying that Staples should be forced to build a multi-level store. Nobody is saying that Staples shouldn't be allowed to have parking.

A simple zoning requirement to place the building on the street, and the parking in the rear, is not a radical concept proposed by overbearing know-it-alls that are hell bent on creating a utopian society. This type of requirement is common in Ferndale, Royal Oak, Birmingham, Grosse Pointe, and thousands of other cities throughout the state and country.
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Detroitplanner
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Username: Detroitplanner

Post Number: 32
Registered: 04-2006
Posted From: 63.85.13.248
Posted on Thursday, April 27, 2006 - 9:32 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

One person's definition of what is urban than anothers. Do you remember what Detroit was like back when the parking was behind the stores and you had to enter the stores through the alley door? How is this any better? There are already set-backs along Jefferson Avenue.

I get so frustrated when I hear folks bitch about development that is actually good for the business climate and can help small business. A Setback would fit in the area just fine.

There are not pedestrian access issues as there are sidewalks around the perimeter of the site. It is safer for ADA and elderly to have the parking in front as there will be no alley to cross (as in the old day of Detroit Shopping).

You can complain all you want about 'charater' now, but where were you when the developer ripped down Doctors Hospital? I don't remember an uproar about that.
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Erikd
Member
Username: Erikd

Post Number: 598
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 69.242.214.106
Posted on Saturday, April 29, 2006 - 6:59 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

This thread has made it clear that there is no room for discussion with the pro-strip mall crowd.

The idea of constructing new buildings up to the sidewalk, and placing the parking lot in the rear, is dismissed as an anti-development mindset.

It is obvious that there is strong support for strip-mall development, opposed to urban style development, in Detroit.

There is no point in debate...

Strip mall construction= good
Urban style construction= bad

I want to thank Detroitplanner and the others for showing me the errors in my thinking.

I had the stupid idea that urban-style development was better than strip malls, but I have been proven wrong.

I now realize that people prefer strip malls and parking lots over urban style areas.

Why did I ever think that Detroit should follow the urban-style development in RO, GP, Ferndale, B-ham, etc?

Even a fool can see how much people prefer strip malls over some outmoded urban style area with parking in the rear or in a garage.

Just look at all of the older areas in this region to prove the point...

The strip malls and open spaces in Highland Park are much more attactive than the dense housing and urban style retail on Jos Campau in Hamtramck.

The anti-strip mall requirements of Ferndale and Royal Oak are driving business and residents to the thriving strip malls of Oak Park and Hazel Park. On any given night, you can find a hundred free parking spots at the strip malls on 9 and John R, but parking at 9 and Woodward is much more scarce. It is an obvious fact that strip malls are better than urban-style areas, so I can only assume that these people in Ferndale and RO are not aware of the amazing sea of parking located a few short miles away.

If the people listed above sound stupid, the residents of Grosse Pointe will blow your mind. Grosse Pointe is another example of an old suburb that is clinging to the stupid concept of urban-style development. Just like RO, Ferndale, B-ham, and other undesireable areas, the anti-business commies in GP require new buildings to front on the street, and put parking in the rear. If the anti-strip mall zoning in GP isn't bad enough, they also don't allow big box stores in GP.

The residents of Warren, Eastpointe, Harper Woods, Roseville and Fraser are blessed with an endless sea of strip malls and parking lots. The inherent superiority of these strip malls and parking lots is proven by the substandard lifestyle that Grosse Pointers are forced to endure as a result of an urban style environment.

Detroit needs more suburban style developments. We don't want to repeat the same mistakes that have caused the terrible decline of Grosse Pointe, Ferndale, and Royal Oak.
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Jams
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Username: Jams

Post Number: 3192
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 68.79.91.123
Posted on Saturday, April 29, 2006 - 10:16 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Erikd,
While I agree with many of your thoughts, I disagree with your arguments. Grosse Pointe, Ferndale, and Royal Oak are relatively small cities. Detroit is a much larger area and could and should be able to sustain a variety of development styles.

I find it incredulous, so much time and discussion has been spent on this one plot of land next to a strip mall already established.

No one has mentioned the brick wall left standing on the Joseph Campeau street side. Shall we have that torn down in order to allow traffic to enter there?

I agree with Detroitplanner, where was the outrage when Doctor's Hospital was torn down? The frontage on Jefferson was both beautiful and historic, but it is gone now. Shall we hold back our City from new retail, jobs, and services needed because only "urban" should be built?

Our main concern should be attracting businesses to the City, not putting up roadblocks.
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Jams
Member
Username: Jams

Post Number: 3195
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 70.229.46.50
Posted on Saturday, April 29, 2006 - 11:20 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

BTW if I could be the omnipotent ruler of Detroit, I would decree Staples, OfficeMax, or Office Depot would only be welcome in Detroit if they established themselves in the building on the corner of Fort and Shelby.

In order to make our City a viable entity, understand there are many opinions other than your own. Enjoy that new Staples offering things our City needs, saves time driving to a suburb.

Could have been another liquor store!

JamS - pleased to have another option to spend a few dollars in the City I live
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Detroitplanner
Member
Username: Detroitplanner

Post Number: 36
Registered: 04-2006
Posted From: 152.163.100.8
Posted on Sunday, April 30, 2006 - 2:31 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Eric, you really don't get it do you? You need to advocate for the right fit at the right place. You have lots of local examples 'urban style' construction that is little more than strip malls (see that Meadowbrook Mall reincarnation) or Fountain Walk. Those are 'urban style', but they are crap.

Besides the Farmer Jack's there is nothing in the Meadowbrook Mall that really serves a person's basic shopping needs. Likewise, the same is true about Fountain Walk.

If Staples thought that an 'urban style' store would work, why would they develop a new building and not go into say, the spot next to CVS, the old Silvers (which if I recall correctly Staples bought Silvers when they entered the market, then closed them down just for the client list), or even the Ren Cen (Have you looked at how much empty retail there is on the E side of the building?

This site will have a store that will service local businesses and the people who both live or work in the area. Business owners will stop at the store either before or after the day to pick up supplies, get cards, computer stuff, at a price that is affordable. There is currently nowhere else downtown that offers that service. I used to shop at Gail's even though the costs were much higher than out in the strip malls because I support small businesses and want to buy stuff in Detroit. Ya know what? The new way of buying office supplies is from big boxes, Gail's could not compete. You can't run a business supply store any longer, anywhere, and expect to compete. Big Boxes need parking to be successful in this city. This ain't New York or Chicago, nor should it try to be a copy of it.

It is more important that we have this store to support local businesses than it is that we have it 'urban style' besides, 'urban style' would fit in poorly with the surrounding land use on Jefferson. However, a set back building will align it with Jos Campau nicely. Face it. East Jefferson is domintated by what you have defined as strip style. Why? Maybe its because its NOT Downtown! Maybe because it what best meets the needs of the surrounding area???

Detroit is a unique city that tells its own story. Detroit is not another Chicago, New York or Toronto, and it should not apologize for it. Industry was able to allow much of Detroit to develop in a way different than most other cities. Because Detroiters were relatively rich, everyone had single family homes starting in the 1920's. Using your logic, single family homes are Suburban Style homes, so maybe we should just buldoze corktown, boston-edison, warrendale, indian village, and east english village and put up those ugly-ass lofts crosswinds is building on woodward just N of the BLVD. Using your logic, that would be an improvement because its urban style!

Once again you seem to put pipe dreams before what is best for the welfare of the City. To rip me based upon my simple support of this project shows me that you don't really know much about city planning or what is best for Detroit.

People still walk to the Family Dollars that are popping up all over the City, but they have parking lots. Why don't you attack them?? Why don't you attack the Walgreens, CVS, and Rite-Aids that tear down historic buildings at the City's best intersections, build a store, only to abandon them a couple of years later for a site where they can fit a drive thru window? All of these are ripping down urban style buildings to build strip style ones. Yet, the the urban locations have defintie advantages over let say a Lyon Township location of the same store, as an urban location can also get shoppers by foot. However, an office supply store that could not accomodate cars would be out of business the same way Gail's or Silver's is.

A planner's primary role is to improve the living conditions for the people in the area for which they serve. It is not to make things look pretty (although a lot of the stuff that is an end result looks pretty good). Planners do not control the real estate market. Planners cannot tell someone who meets all zoning requirements 'no I don't think your building has enough 'urban style', I reject your site plan'. Have you forgot in america the right to own land and the right to do what you want with that land trumps your idealistic goal of making things look pretty?

While I'm ranting like a loonie... I'm tired of all of the 'Loft People' and the 'we're more Detroit than you attitudes'. Sorry buddy living in an apartment for a few years does not make you a Detroit expert. I'm the offsping of two City employees who raised me in the City and continue to live in the City. Everyone I went to elementary school with lived in Detroit as a kid, all of us lived in single family homes and our parents drove cars or walked to the gorcery stores. The provision of parking in areas like East Jefferson or Highland Park is not some new-fangled concept. I'd say the greatest difference between then and now is that the parking lots used to all be behind the stores and the front doors were always locked, now stores entrances face the street, but there may be some parking provided either to the side, or in front of the building. Areas like Jabba's Greenfield Grand River are a tale of two cities. DetroitPlanner's Grandparents lived at Sussex and Grand River behind the A&P. Maybe Jabba fit me for shoes as a boy? The parts that converted to the new style are full of stores. The parts that hang onto the parking lots in the back are not doing so hot.

The City you see now is there for a reason. There have been 'loft people' coming to Detroit forever, all with their ideas about how to fix it by making it look pretty. It is not a new phenomenon (Plum Street, Cass Corridor, Corkown, Indian Village) were similar movements that predate 'the loft people'.

Planners can argue that the newer style is a better fit based upon empirical evidence such as what is found at Greenfield and Grand River. Is this our preferred approach? Of course not, we liked it the old way too; but it is the one that makes the most economic sense and allows neighborhood shopping districts in Detroit to compete with the ones in the suburbs. Planners want people to shop where they live, we don't want people diving all over the place clogging up the roads. Providing retail that folks will put stores in, or shop at helps to shorten the trips of Detroiters and allows many the option to walk.

BTW, if you point to places like Ferndale or Royal Oak as being successful urban style places, that is hogwash. The basic fabric of these places have not changed much since I was a boy. 20 years ago you could shoot a cannon down Washington and not hit a soul at 8 pm on a Saturday. The same was true for 9 Mile 10 years ago. What has changed has been demographics (the old people that lived here all died off, and it became hip, the same way that parts of Detroit are now hip).

(Message edited by Detroitplanner on April 30, 2006)
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Detroitplanner
Member
Username: Detroitplanner

Post Number: 37
Registered: 04-2006
Posted From: 152.163.100.8
Posted on Sunday, April 30, 2006 - 3:06 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"Planner, I am an engineering project manager. If I know about anything, it's planning. Without a plan, it's chaos. If I answer "no" to any of your questions,does it change the value of my ideas or opinions?"

No it does not change the value, I am trying to step into the other persons shoes, very little is given here except for opinion. This form of discourse naturally leads to short, flippant, answers. I am also offering a bit of context about myself so that those arguing with me can have a better understanding of my position.

What frustrates me the most about planning is we all really want the same thing. The problem is that communicating this way makes everyone sound way to authoritarian (myself included). We're just spinning our wheels here.

This is however a very useful site for planners to read. However there is a digital divide in this city that is vast as our population is older and less educated than most. The needs of the poor and the elderly are given very little consideration here. These problems are much more impportant to the average Detroiter than the set back of a store.
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Erikd
Member
Username: Erikd

Post Number: 607
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 69.242.214.106
Posted on Thursday, May 04, 2006 - 3:56 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think there is some misunderstanding in this discussion...


quote:

Grosse Pointe, Ferndale, and Royal Oak are relatively small cities. Detroit is a much larger area and could and should be able to sustain a variety of development styles.




I agree. Build strip malls at Jefferson and Connor or Van Dyke and 8 mile. Building strip malls in Rivertown, Midtown, Corktown, etc is a bad idea. The section of Campau between Jefferson and the river is filled with old buildings built out to the street, and home to condos, offices, bars and restaurants. This street is an anchor for the Rivertown redevelopment. The rest of the Rivertown projects are supposed to be built in the same urban style as this section of Jos Campau. An urban area along the riverfront will be a huge asset for Detroit, and a very desireable area. Allowing new strip malls in this area is a bad idea.

Building a Staples at this location is a good idea, but there should be some attempt to blend it in with the rest of that section of Jos Campau.

I would like a new Taco Bell downtown, but building a drive-thru on the Hudson block would be a bad idea.


quote:

BTW, if you point to places like Ferndale or Royal Oak as being successful urban style places, that is hogwash. The basic fabric of these places have not changed much since I was a boy. 20 years ago you could shoot a cannon down Washington and not hit a soul at 8 pm on a Saturday. The same was true for 9 Mile 10 years ago. What has changed has been demographics (the old people that lived here all died off, and it became hip, the same way that parts of Detroit are now hip).




I couldn't disagree more with this statement. The resurgence of these areas has nothing to do with demographic change. If the reason was demographics, we would see this resurgence happening all over the city, and in nearly every older suburb. Outside of the resurgence of certain areas, the overall decline of the city and older suburbs is still happening.

There must be a reason why certain older areas are growing and bucking the overwhelming trend of decline that surrounds them.

There is one thing that these areas have in common. They are urban style environments, unlike most of the new suburbs and other old areas in the region.

These areas are bucking the trend because they are urban style.

With the constant expansion of infrastructure and lower taxes in the new suburbs, older areas can't compete without offering something not found in the exurbs.

The only advantage Detroit has over the exurbs is our unique urban neighborhoods. Replicating suburban strip malls will not help Detroit grow. Filling out our growing urban neighborhoods with cohesive development is the key for the future of Detroit, and other older areas in the region.
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Detroitplanner
Member
Username: Detroitplanner

Post Number: 70
Registered: 04-2006
Posted From: 63.85.13.248
Posted on Thursday, May 04, 2006 - 10:17 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

What is so different between Detroit and Royal Oak or Ferndale in terms of neighborhoods? Detroit was developed at the same time as these areas.

I would agree that the Hudson Block would be a bad location for a drive thru restraunt. I mean, how would you get the food from the kitchen and down into the parking lot below? I'm sure no one will pay the $5 minimum to drive thru the garage to get an el supremo fantastico combo. That is the only place you could put the drive thru as the rest of the block is better suited for a 10-15 story building.

Demographics had a huge role to play in the change of RO and Ferndale. Both had severe problems with nearly no retail (with the exception of the Gap Outlet). Younger, more affluent people trickled into these areas as housing was cheap. As more arrived, you started to see their downtowns begin to cater to them and become food courts for drunken yuppies. You can't really buy much in Downtown Royal Oak anymore (basics food, underwear, hardware). While Ferndale is more diveresed for the time being its only a matter of time before it too starts losing things like the dollar stores, bookstores (some are already gone), and smaller groceries like Sav-a-Lot.

These areas are also not really all that dense and are what I would consider average in terms of people per square mile within the residential areas.

Finally, if there is such a clamour for 'urban style' living, why is Pontiac retail doing so badly? Pontiac is located in the center of one of the richest counties in the United States, yet Pontiac is in terrible shape when it comes to attracting both retail and housing.
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Erikd
Member
Username: Erikd

Post Number: 609
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 69.242.214.106
Posted on Friday, May 05, 2006 - 2:17 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)


quote:

Demographics had a huge role to play in the change of RO and Ferndale. Both had severe problems with nearly no retail (with the exception of the Gap Outlet). Younger, more affluent people trickled into these areas as housing was cheap.




This is where we disagree. You attribute the influx of "younger, more affluent people" to the cheap housing that was available in these areas.

The same style of cheap housing is also found in Warren, Hazel Park, Eastpointe, Oak Park, and most other old suburbs in this region. Why is it that the "Younger, more affluent people" are moving into RO and Ferndale, and avoiding the neighboring suburbs?

Warren, Hazel Park, and Eastpointe offer the same housing stock as RO and Ferndale, at a fraction of the cost. All of these older sububs have gone through the same demographic changes, from the boom in the 50s, to the decline in the 80s.

Do you really believe that the urban style areas of RO and Ferndale are not the reason for their resurgence?

The only difference between a house near 9 and Woodward, and a house near 9 and John R is the proximity of an urban style area. The only difference between a house near 11 and Main, and a house near 11 and Van Dyke is the proximity of an urban style area.

Ask any recent buyer of a house in RO or Ferndale why they didn't choose a cheaper version of the same house in Warren, Oak Park, Eastpointe, Hazel Park, etc... The proximity to the urban style areas of Ferndale and RO is the reason.
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Lmichigan
Member
Username: Lmichigan

Post Number: 3643
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 67.172.95.197
Posted on Friday, May 05, 2006 - 2:55 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I'm not sure if I by this whole mass migration by young people back to any of these two cities. Both Ferndale and Royal Oak have lost a greater percentage of their population from 1990 to today than even Detroit.
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Swingline
Member
Username: Swingline

Post Number: 480
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 172.145.0.84
Posted on Friday, May 05, 2006 - 12:53 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I don't think that anybody is claiming that the Staples project should be built like it would be if it was located on the Upper West Side in Manhattan. (If they are, their heads are in the clouds.) That's not the point or the goal of Detroitplanner's despised loft people. The point that the city and its planners need to be sensitive to is that the Jos. Campau and E. Jefferson intersection is a gateway to a very important neighborhood to the future of Detroit. If the riverfront as a neighborhood is to become an economic force for the city (one that pays taxes rather than consumes them), attention must be paid to the built form of any development there. Development along Jefferson Avenue is the front porch to this area. Asphalt makes for a poor front porch.

Yes, the Staples is going to be an automobile-centric retail store. But its materials and orientation to the street can go a long way towards encouraging continued development in the area. There's a reason why you don't often find high-end residential development adjacent or very near to conventional strip mall areas. Surface parking lots as a built form are not the view people with money prefer from their dwelling.

I'm glad the Staples is going in there. I'll be able to shop there. But if the city fails to properly promote and plan for sufficient density in this unique area, it will horribly squander a golden opportunity.
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Detroitplanner
Member
Username: Detroitplanner

Post Number: 76
Registered: 04-2006
Posted From: 63.85.13.248
Posted on Friday, May 05, 2006 - 3:59 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"The same style of cheap housing is also found in Warren, Hazel Park, Eastpointe, Oak Park, and most other old suburbs in this region. Why is it that the "Younger, more affluent people" are moving into RO and Ferndale, and avoiding the neighboring suburbs?"

Are they avoiding these areas? Certainly the richer ones are. Southern Oakland County as a whole is losing population as family sizes are shrinking faster than new units are added to the market. I don't understand your logic either. RO and Ferndale are much older than those other communities. In fact when my grandparents first came to Detroit back in the 1930's they first settled in RO, Warren's average housing stock has to be 25 years newer than RO's.

In terms of cheapness it is relative to the time (15-20 years ago), homes were cheaper in RO and Ferndale than the other communities you mentioned because they were considered dead cities. I'm thrilled that they are no longer dead, I don't like the retail mix, but then again I don't like drunks or smokers either.
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Erikd
Member
Username: Erikd

Post Number: 612
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 69.242.214.106
Posted on Saturday, May 06, 2006 - 4:30 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Detroitplanner,

It seems that you think downtown RO and the urban areas along 9 mile and Woodward are NOT the key features drawing people into RO and Ferndale. You attribute the influx of younger and more affluent people to everything EXCEPT the proximity of these urban areas.

Do you really believe this, or am I just mis-reading your posts?
-----------------

Swingline,

Good post. That sums up what I have been trying to say throughout this thread.
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Jams
Member
Username: Jams

Post Number: 3248
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 68.79.112.185
Posted on Saturday, May 06, 2006 - 5:04 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Erikd,
This whole argument is quite silly about a plot of land sitting next to 2/3rds of the block's Jefferson frontage that already consists of a strip mall, one retail outbuilding, and a gas station. Across the street, is a new bank office building while not an urban design fits well on the that street, next door is an Ihop restaurant which I prefer not to speak of.

Take a look at the reality of that stretch of East Jefferson.
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Detroitplanner
Member
Username: Detroitplanner

Post Number: 83
Registered: 04-2006
Posted From: 64.12.116.204
Posted on Sunday, May 07, 2006 - 1:56 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I don't understand what you wrote. You seem to contradict yourself by first saying:

"The only difference between a house near 9 and Woodward, and a house near 9 and John R is the proximity of an urban style area. The only difference between a house near 11 and Main, and a house near 11 and Van Dyke is the proximity of an urban style area."

Then following it with:
"It seems that you think downtown RO and the urban areas along 9 mile and Woodward are NOT the key features drawing people into RO and Ferndale. You attribute the influx of younger and more affluent people to everything EXCEPT the proximity of these urban areas."

Erik, Its all urban. I think you are confusing urban with era of development. Even your newest subdivisions in places like Canton are part of the Detroit urbanized area, as defined by the US Census. Now the style of the development changes, but a McDonald's drive thru in Sterling Heights is as urban as Downtown Hudson's was or the drunken yuppie food courts of older streetcar suburbs currently are.

My arguements about Royal Oak and Ferndale based upon socio-economic change over time, (much like ghettoman's, but mine are not forecasts, as much as they are histories) not upon which areas are more downtown looking. The areas are fundementally the same in terms of building stock as they were 20 years ago (with modest changes of infil). Still the changes in population have affected these areas dramatically, much more so than you find in Southfield or Warren (non-streetcar, first-ring suburbs).

I agree with Jams, this store will not destroy the area, it can only help it. A store like this is needed to help small businsesses grow and flurish on the East Side. Pedestrians will still be able to walk up to the store. The bus will still run next to it. Fuddruckers will still be serving hamburgers next door in a strip mall designed to complimnet Dr's Hospital.

I would have loved to see Dr's Hospital stay and be re-used for lofts or offices, but ya know what? I didn't own it. I did not tear it down. Now we have an empty piece of land, a population that needs office supplies, and a developer willing to move forward.

This store will not be out of place. Heck 3/4th of the buildings behind it are already gone. Most of the buildings built along Jefferson are of a similar auto orientated style. This does not mean that transit riders or people who live in the neighborhood can't walk there. You see development like this happening all over the City of Detroit, and even in more denser parts of the City of Chicago. You get a lot more people listening to you if you praise the good in Developments such as Stroh's and stop being so critical of those who actually want to do business on what is now an empty lot.

That being said, if you are passionate about this project and its look, have you contacted the planning commission, the developer, and provided them with evidence of why your plan is better? You know most developers are pretty smart people who want to make a buck. If you can show them how they can follow your design and make more money, they will. If you can't well then you're living in the past and are going to be left in the dust.

Planning is all about change. Have you ever thought about how a store like this would support the live/work envirionments that would make this area more denser and put people walking on the streets? I think we are all looking for the same ting here, its just we're approaching it from wildly different perspectives.

BTW, if you can't tell I love playing devil's advocate and you should not take this as my being mean spirited or that I am a man who has his head up his ass.
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Erikd
Member
Username: Erikd

Post Number: 613
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 69.242.214.106
Posted on Sunday, May 07, 2006 - 5:39 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)


quote:

Erik, Its all urban. I think you are confusing urban with era of development. Even your newest subdivisions in places like Canton are part of the Detroit urbanized area, as defined by the US Census.




Detroitplanner,

Are you kidding me? After weeks of debating the pros and cons of urban vs. suburban style development, you break out the dictionary definition of "urban", and claim that "it's all urban".

We have spent the last few weeks debating the value of urban vs. suburban style development, so please don't pretend that you don't understand what I'm talking about.

Just to clear things up for you:

I have been using the terms "urban" and "urban-style" to describe areas with a pedestrian-friendly design, featuring ajoining buildings built out to the sidewalk, parking in the rear or in garages, etc.

Downtown RO, Greektown, downtown Birmingham, west 9 mile in Ferndale, Main Street in Rochester, downtown Mt Clemens, and the Village in GP are good examples of what I have been calling "urban" or "urban-style".

I have been using the terms "suburban" and "suburban-style" to describe areas dominated by auto-centric development, such as stripmalls, drive-thrus, and parking lots in front of most commercial buildings.

If my terminology is confusing to you, please suggest alternatives that will add clarity to our discussion.


quote:

BTW, if you can't tell I love playing devil's advocate and you should not take this as my being mean spirited or that I am a man who has his head up his ass.




It's funny that you added this disclaimer to your latest post. I was just telling a fellow forumer how much I have enjoyed this debate. The lack of personal insults and name-calling really helps foster a healthy discussion of issues and opinions.
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Detroitplanner
Member
Username: Detroitplanner

Post Number: 85
Registered: 04-2006
Posted From: 205.188.116.137
Posted on Sunday, May 07, 2006 - 7:38 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I mean no malice. I am just trying to keep this from becoming rather snippy, as it gets very close to be. I do think we all want the same thing, the problem is, as always, in communicating ideas, thoughts, descriptions, about 3 dimensional space on a black screen with yellow letters.

I elieve I've made my point, one persons suburbs is another persons urban area. I've had folks from different cities come to my house in Warrendale, three lots from Warren Avenue; and remark how suburban the area is (meaning dominated by single and two family homes)! Now that floors me, as I have a 35 foot wide lot and its one of the wider ones on my block.

In terms of what I said about age of population and era of when homes were built. I know you thought I was full of bullshit so I did some research. Here is a link showing Oakland County's elderly populations. Map 2 and 8 show how the populations changed from 1990 to 2000. This fits in well with my arguement regarding neighborhood change promoted changes in the downtowns of the streetcar suburbs.

http://www.cus.wayne.edu/content/maps/OaklandCounty-elderlypop.pdf

(Message edited by Detroitplanner on May 07, 2006)

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