Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


MJLO last won the day on September 21 2013

MJLO had the most liked content!

About MJLO

  • Birthday 07/25/1980

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Louisville Kentucky

Recent Profile Visitors

13,372 profile views

MJLO's Achievements


City (7/14)



  1. I dunno, I get the push back but it’s actually pretty common. Companies do this everywhere, it’s not somehow unique to Corewell. We can’t help that they picked the dumbest name possible for their new entity with Beaumont. They are talking about 2 blocks that terminate into their campus, I actually don’t think it’ll be that big of a deal. It’s not like they are trying to get Monroe renamed.
  2. Should we start a go fund me to move that janky ass old traffic control tower? It’s the last remaining feature that makes GRR look like it has goats grazing near the runway.
  3. Agreed that’s why I am on the fence. It could be a legit article, but it was a little short on substance, and a little heavy on puff. It does appropriately quote some of the local leadership involved in these things so it could be legit. It could also be really advanced clickbait targeting us haha.
  4. I literally just read this lol. I can’t tell if it’s legit, or an advertisement. Good piece on GR for sure.
  5. I think you hit the nail on the head. Rivertown was overbuilt. It opened at the very end of the 1990s when the GR area was coming out of one the biggest economic expansions in its history. It was built on the growing western side of metro, 25 minute drive from the folks in the lakeshore, and the greater GR area. Its opening was the death knell to Westshore Mall in Holland. It was built by GGP which at the time, was the largest mall developer in the country. GGP’s position as the largest mall owner gave it a significant leverage position with the retailers that wanted spaces in its key properties. It could negotiate with major upscale retailers to open up locations in its new properties, if they wanted key spaces in its high dollar properties. This means companies like Restoration Hardware, and other niche upscale brands agreed to open up locations in markets like W. Michigan that they otherwise wouldn’t have even considered. 5 years after Rivertown's opening, Michigan enters its economic dark age, and even though the Grand Rapids area faired better than the state as a whole, it would go into a period of being overlooked for nearly the next decade. During that time some of those niche brands that gave Rivertown its newer/upscale feel closed their locations (i posit that they would have regardless, as they were only opened at Rivertown to fill contractual obligations. By 2013 GR was rapidly emerging from Michigan’s dark age. Ottawa County was added back into GRs metro, and it again became a million+ person market on paper. This alone allowed it to get back on the radar of newer and expanding brands looking for new markets. By that time the newness of Rivertown was long gone. The analytics for these brands chose their locations based on economic demographics. The disposable incomes of the eastern GR burbs are unmatched in the region. It was a no brainer for these brands to look at the 28th St retail corridor. Woodland was built by Taubman Associates in the 1960s as an upscale super regional center. It was put in its location for a reason. It was bought by PREIT in the early 2000s largely because of its location. Yes Woodland struggled at first when Rivertown opened, but I strongly contend its key location made all the business sense in the world to keep investing in. There’s a reason other area legacy malls disappeared and it remains. Once the novelty of Rivertown wore off, it was left with an over leveraged property developer, in a part of town that is solidly middle class, but with a demographic that’s legendary for its puckered rear end, and tight wallets. GGP was desolved in the mid 2010s and the remainder of its portfolio was absorbed by Brookfield capital. Grand Rapids is the smallest market in Brookfields portfolio, and Rivertown is an overbuilt behemoth that needs creative repurposing, and retail downsizing to survive long term. From what I hear it’s still decently busy, but 25 years into its existence times have changed dramatically, shopping habits have changed dramatically. The characteristics that made it unique are no longer in play. TLDR: All of this to say that I don’t find it ironic at all that Woodland is the healthier of the 2 properties. Its location just makes too much sense for all of the new brands it has attracted over the last 10 years. Rivertown would do fine as a 3 anchor, regional shopping center long term. It will be curious to see if Brookfield invests in it, or if they just let it die as a cash cow. I think it still has value to at minimum turn into some kind of mixed use lifestyle center. Woodland was always positioned to be the upscale property.
  6. I actually think it’s more a case of woodland has always been better positioned. It is next to the demographics that have the highest disposable incomes on this side of Michigan. Rivertown was a novelty when it opened. Woodland always had the better location.
  7. The southern townships have always been more developed. The urban area naturally grew south of the river early on. The opening of M6 in 2004 set off a huge growth spurt in the second ring of townships. With that growth the south side of the metro is more transplant heavy. Transplants have less history, less emotional connection to the area. They are therefore less likely to be nostalgic, or care about preserving the character of a place (especially in outer ring townships that have little to no character to begin with). Alpine Township, and Walker specifically were more growth friendly 35 years ago. They were bitten by the rise of poorly planned Alpine Avenue, along with the monstrosity that is York Creek Apartments. When Land and Co. switched the York Creek business model to a mix of market rate and section 8, Alpine township specifically turned vehemently anti-growth. The spike in crime resulted in huge bills from Kent Co. Sherriff, and long time residents took a "never again" policy. I think that has a lot to do with why some of these nice larger scale developments keep getting rejected. I do think something needs to be done to contain it a bit. What's happening in Alpine is really not that dissimilar to the BANANAs mindset that controlled the west side until about 10 years ago.
  8. Ok I finally got around to getting my county estimates analysis done for the 2023 number. Northern Michigan and the UP continue to benefit from the work from home trend, as well as people getting away from cities in general. The I-75 corridor continues to lose people, with the northern/thumb region having the worst attrition. The Detroit area continues to stagnate/struggle. What's been different since about 2020 is that Washtenaw County (Ann Arbor) has been declining. Washtenaw has always been a bright spot for growth so this is a new trend. I am wondering if college students are being counted differently, or if there's been a shift to more online learning. Pretty much all counties that are dominated by a college took population hits in the 2020 census so something has changed. The Grand Rapids area continues to be the growth leader in the state. Growth numbers for GR have softened a bit from where they were at in the mid 10's. Periphery counties continue to grow faster than Kent County, with the lone exception being Ionia county. For some reason Ionia County ticks along slower than the rest of the W. Mich region. That could have something to do with the urbanized portions of GR being slanted south and west, and away from the Ionia border. Though that doesn't explain more rural Montcalm County surpassing it in both growth and population. Ottawa leads the state in growth, though growth in Kent County has bounced back from it's very stagnant post Covid estimates. This could just be an adjustment from previous estimates being too low, it's hard to say. Per the discussion about if the housing crunch is affecting growth in Kent County, below are side by side charts showing year by year growth estimate for Kent and Ottawa Counties. You can see growth in both take an immediate downshift in 2018. (Please note that I removed the outlier estimates from 2020 which show a huge bump in all area counties. This is most likely a correction.) The obvious intangible is covid, and the social unrest of 2020, which very likely did have an outsized impact on Kent. What hasn't changed is the job growth in region, specifically in more educated STEM roles. This combined with the growth and movements of the large corporations in the area signal that the urbanized portions of GR should be growing around 1% a year. I strongly believe there's an immediate impact in this growth due to home builders not being able to build large scale developments in many places. Specifically the city of Walker, and Alpine township make it very difficult to build anything, and they contain some of the most opportune spots to do so. This means any large scale projects are contained to the city, or the suburbs to the south and west which are largely built out. This makes growth friendly Ottawa the most cost effective area to build. While Ottawa has also taken a dip in growth numbers, it is to a lesser degree than Kent.
  9. As of this moment those airports are all still busier than GRR, not to mention they all tend to be hubs to larger or more populated regions. Yes I know both Omaha and Tulsa are smaller metros than GR, but they are both larger urbanized centers, and they are isolated enough not to compete with midsize population centers like Kzoo, or Lansing for traffic. They are also not within a couple hours drives of mega hubs like Chicago or Detroit. That said GRR has been been catching up to it's peers rapidly over the last decade. If GRR keeps reclaiming it's local market share, along with poaching from some of the smaller redundant airports like AZO and LAN, you very well could see new routes like that.
  10. SLC is about twice as far as Minne. From a business stand point I’d think it would make more sense to fly into the closer/busier hub.
  11. That is quite literally what I am saying haha. They’ve been going elsewhere since at least 2018. I’m not somewhere where I can pull the numbers right now, but I’ll put a chart together that shows the trend. Sometime around 2018 growth numbers in Kent county dropped by half. Growth also slowed in Ottawa county. I guess where we differ is that I don’t think this trend is organic. I do think there’s an under current of NIMBYism that’s having an outsized impact on suppressing much needed new housing, and exacerbating the housing crunch. Which in turn is inorganically slowing regional population growth.
  12. Thanks for posting that! Definitely backs up the point I was making.
  13. Disagree. That argument works well in places like Louisville where the core county is built out. Kent County IS largely suburban, and there are plenty of desirable suburban areas within it. This isn’t just a “typical” doughnut affect. As core counties go Kent is nowhere near close to being built out. Certainly not to the point that it’s forcing growth in peripheral counties. The Grand Rapids area has less new construction permits compared to its similarly sized peers that have stagnant or even declining populations. This makes no sense from a market based perspective. Rural, anti-growth townships, especially north of the city are suppressing new developments. This is adding fuel to the already tight housing situation. All other metrics point to regional growth that should be stronger, and not just in Kent county.
  14. A big part of the reason Ottawa is out gaining Kent is because it’s far less restrictive to new development. The housing shortage has been choking growth in Kent County for a good 5 years now.
  15. Airport numbers surged in February 22.5% to 340k passengers. Up 18.4% on the year. While I don’t think growth will stay at that rate, I do think it’s highly likely that the airport passes 4 million passengers this year. It will be interesting to see if it passes 400k during the summer months.
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.