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deja vu

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Whistle-Stop (3/14)



  1. Battle Creek - It's good to see restoration work finally progressing at 99 & 103 W. Michigan Ave. 103 was the former home to Arcadia Brewing, before they closed in 2017 to focus on their Kalamazoo location, which also subsequently closed. 99 has been vacant for more than a decade. Both properties required substantial rehab. work, including new roofs, which they are now getting. You can see the roofs totally removed through the upper windows in this recent photo - Source: LinkedIn | BCU Kalamazoo - Yet another cannabis retailer is opening its doors in town. This one is called "Cookies" and it is located at 2712 Portage Street. The brand was started by California-based rapper and entrepreneur "Berner", and it is the second location to open in Michigan, following one in Detroit. Gage Cannabis is the exclusive partner with the licensing rights in Michigan (they have six other cannabis-related businesses throughout the state as well). The ribbon cutting was held 2/26 and was attended by the mayor. It officially opened its doors 2/27, initially for medical marijuana sales only (but recreational will be coming). Can't say I'm a huge fan of the all-blue stucco-with-covered-windows aesthetic, but the building has been vacant for loner than I can remember, so it's an improvement - Source: WKFR Kalamazoo - The apartment portion of The Creamery is finished (the 24/7 daycare is scheduled to be complete & open this fall). The apartments look a lot like the units in The Exchange (not a criticism, just an observation). I think the sliding bedroom barn doors are the exact same product. The developer is different for each project but the Architect is the same (Byce) - Source: Facebook | The Creamery - Kalamazoo Source: Facebook | The Creamery - Kalamazoo Source: Facebook | The Creamery - Kalamazoo Source: Facebook | The Creamery - Kalamazoo Big news - Source: WWMT | Contributed The repurposed, original factory is in the right foreground, and you can see what's clearly a large, 4-5 story hotel addition in the background, in a similar factory industrial style. I love seeing the old stack featured so prominently. There was a big push in the community to save that. The concept looks great. But the location relative to downtown seems odd. Their flagship for this new hotel brand is right in the heart of downtown Atlanta. This Kalamazoo rendition is beyond the outskirts of downtown. Reverb by Hard Rock | Modern Hotels for Music Fans
  2. (2) new site plan review applications have been submitted for the March 17 meeting agenda. Both are related to the marijuana industry - 1203 Fourth St. - repurposing of an existing building in a semi-industrial area. I think this is going to be turned into a new processing facility (for "Friends of the Garden, LLC"), but I can't quite tell if its for a different use related to cannabis. 104 / 110 N Drake Rd. - a new dispensary on some (surprisingly) undeveloped parcels for RAIR, a MI-based company with locations in Bay City and Muskegon, and with several more on the way. Their main selling point is that they are "dirtless" meaning that all of their source plants are grown using aeroponic processes. The elevations are "mildly" interesting - Source: City of Kalamazoo / RAIR Separately, for whatever it's worth, Kalamazoo was just named the coolest city with the lowest cost of living in the entire U.S. by PureWow. I can attest that the cost of living here is great. I'm not so sure about "coolest". Other cities on the top 10? 2. Knoxville, TN 3. Fayetteville, AR 4. Oklahoma City, OK 5. Savannah, GA 6. Des Moines, IA 7. Green Bay, WI 8. Huntsville, AL 9. Indianapolis, IN 10. Greenville, SC
  3. The s*** is really starting to hit the fan for Southwest Michigan First. More stories of prominent community organizations pulling their funding / memberships, plus a prominent board member resignation - all over the economic development organization's recent hiring of Lee Chatfield for its new CEO - Battle Creek - Clark Construction Company recently posted an update video of the new interior concourse & Nibi Restaurant at Firekeepers Casino. All of that metal framing.... madness! I took some screen grabs too - the video resolution was low - Source: LinkedIn | Clark Construction Company Kellogg Company just announced its opening of a new, 40,000 SF Design Studio at its Institute for Food & Nutrition Research (aka WKKI). This follows the 2019 opening of the new Kellogg Center for Culinary Innovation, housed in the same building. Both areas are a part of the company's "Innovation Suite", and this design studio represents the final piece. According to the article, This is the only image that was provided - Source: FSR Magazine | Courtesy Kellogg Company
  4. A few more recent pics of the new Portage Senior Center - Source: LinkedIn | Byce & Associates, Inc.
  5. A historic & proud day unfolding in Portage & Kalamazoo - It's exciting to read that the massive planned manufacturing expansion is back on-track too! UPDATE: Some photos from the day - Source: MLive | Joel Bissell Source: MLive | Joel Bissell Source: MLive | Joel Bissell Source: MLive | Joel Bissell Source: MLive | Joel Bissell Source: MLive | Joel Bissell Source: WWMT | Lexie Petrovic Source: WWMT | Lexie Petrovic Source: WWMT | Lexie Petrovic Source: WWMT | Lexie Petrovic Source: MLive | Joel Bissell Source: MLive | Joel Bissell
  6. Some random Kalamazoo updates - Home2 Suites opens this May. Here's a sneak peak of their typical room - nothing too special, but looks nice and fills a gap in the market in downtown - Source: Instagram | @home2kzoo Structural steel is going in for the atrium stair at WMU's new Student Center & Dining Facility. I bet those steel shop drawings were fun to produce & review! Source: Instagram | @wmubuild
  7. EDIT to #4, above: On Monday, Kalamazoo City Commissioners voted unanimously to sever ties and terminate their membership with Southwest Michian First, based on their hiring of Lee Chatfield - Southwest MI First's response on Instagram effectively saying nothing, except that it sounds like they plan to stick by their decision, at least for now. Several have also noticed that they updated their nondiscrimination policy, after he was hired and the backlash started. And it looks like the county might not be far behind the city's decision - this is getting interesting - they allocate $75K to the organization each year -
  8. 1. Eastside Zoning Changes A public hearing is scheduled for tonight at the regular City Commission meeting for the proposed zoning changes in the Eastside Neighborhood. If you'll recall, the changes are centered mostly around the goals of increasing housing options, supporting a greater variety of businesses, and promoting walkable development, through the implementation of new Live-Work zones - Source: City of Kalamazoo 2. Inventory Kalamazoo 2022 The city's Historic Preservation Commission plans to re-launch its city-wide resources survey this spring, after COVID-19 stymied efforts to begin last spring. The goal is to conduct a reconnaissance level historic resource survey of every single property and parament structure within the city limits, estimated at around 24,000 resources. This will be no small feat, and they are relying on the help of numerous volunteers. It has been two decades since the last survey, and that one only evaluated about half of the buildings. Inventory Kalamazoo 2022 3. Farmer's Market Improvements The city is seeking public comments for its planned improvements to the existing farmers market on Bank St. The aging structures have become quite popular with vendors, and they need more space. The Parks & Recreation Department, which oversees the farmers market, plans to apply for multiple grants soon, and there will be an Advisory Committee Board meting on Tuesday, March 2, at 5:30pm that the public is invited to attend. Improvements under consideration include a new restroom / storage / office building, new / updated covered vendor booths, new parking, and a fruit and vegetable-themed playscape. 4. Southwest Michigan First New CEO Named Lee Chatfield, former Republican Speaker of the House for Michigan, has just been named as the successor to Ron Kitchens for Southwest Michigan First. I have mixed feelings about this. Lots of people have strong feelings about Lee from his time in politics (which, like most things in politics right now, felt quite polarizing). I think he might meet with a lot of resistance in Kalamazoo, which is quite liberal, compared to where Lee is from (Northern Michigan - Levering - Emmett County) and compared to much f the rest of southwest Michigan too. Lee admits himself that he has little professional experience in economic development. He's already stated that one of his first priorities will be carrying on the push for the new event center in downtown Kalamazoo.
  9. Despite a groundbreaking ceremony late last year, not much happened for a while. Now, foundations at Portage's new Senior Center are well underway - Source: LinkedIn | Byce & Associates, Inc.
  10. Sounds like a logical move. They can tap into that brand loyalty and take advantage of the associated perks and improvements that come with the switch, including the installation of new locks that can be controlled by smart phone apps for remote check-ins. I wouldn't be surprised if the GR location followed suit. (PS - sorry again about the massive Muskegon photo dump. Hopefully that wasn't too annoying)
  11. Catalyst 12 drive-by, from yesterday. She's a beaut!
  12. Richland (Gull Lake) - This restaurant - South Kitchen - just opened in November 2020 in the small, unincorporated community of South Gull Lake (Ross Township). You can see it under construction on Google Maps, here. Gull Lake is historically (and currently still) home to some of the wealthier families and pricier real estate in Michigan. It is home to the W.K. Kellogg Manor House (now owned by MSU). It is north of, and partway between Kalamazoo and Battle Creek. November 2020 was probably about the worst timing ever for a new restaurant opening, but the menu looks amazing - from their website: It's projects like this that usually slip under the radar but contribute a whole lot to a locale's sense of identity and place. The owners also operate the nearby Chicken House and Kitchen House restaurants in Richland. They re-opened at 25% capacity for in-person dining on February 02. This is some of my favorite genre of food, and I am looking forward to getting take out from here soon. November 24, 2020 - "Opening Day" - Source: Facebook | South Kitchen Interior - Bar Area - Source: Facebook | South Kitchen Interior - Source: Facebook | South Kitchen
  13. Battle Creek - Progress on Industrial Partners USA's new $11 million industrial facility - wall panels are going up - Source: LinkedIn | BCU
  14. (Part 5 of 5) Mercy Health Arena / Rad Dad's Taco's / VanDyke Mortgage Convention Center - Vintage Redefined & Dr. Rolf's BBQ - The Babbitt Building - Amazon Apartments - VanDyke Mortgage Convention Center - End with a sunset over Lake Michigan - P.J. Hoffmaster State Park - Thanks for obliging me / allowing me to clog the thread for a bit!
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