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Nice, though I am disappointed that it's kind of what I expected, size-wise, and still no parking garage for this side of the river, which is badly, badly needed to better use space in the district.
At the press conference today Gillespie hinted that there would be some more announcements in the next 12 months, potentially from himself or other property owners in the area.
I know the train station already has a project in the pipeline, but could there be some other project that he is alluding to? Anything at the old Goodyear Tire location next to Sparrow?
I thought from the press conference they had mentioned that Liskeys would be moving, but I wonder why your bottom rendering includes their building and their separate parking lot?
EDIT: Oh, so it was a tweet:
And...Yep, it looks like Liskey's sold to a GG shell company on the 14th, so they must have finally worn them down. So then still a bit confused, unless maybe the "next 12 months" thing is maybe relating to that particular site within the site? Maybe the renderings were done before they Liskey's finally sold and that's why they are still showing the property in the renderings?
I'd prepared myself for about this massing. They had mentioned parking was going to be on the "back" of the site, with access off Barnard, which is why they needed all of the houses along that block on the north side of that little dead-end street. I also knew that Gillespie is allergic to building his own parking garages, so without the city partnering with him to bond out for a new garage, I wasn't really expecting a garage, but was hoping given how badly this side of the river needs to consolidate parking in the Stadium District.
That said, I kind of expected the ratio of structured covered lot-to-parking lot to be more 50/50. It looks like maybe only a third of the 4 acres, at most, is covered by structures. In my opinion, if they didn't want to do a multi-story lot, they could have at least put the parking for the hotel and the apartments in story underground in a basement like what Meijer will be doing at their Detroit development, and then the retail could use a much smaller lot in the back. To me, this is still way too much surface parking to be offering given the location; they should have sought a variance.
This kind of massing/site plan is obviously more of something the city's master plan and form-based code would put outside the city center, like something you'd see at a redone Frandor or Edgewood, not the "downtown edge" that this site is labeled in the plan.
I really hate I can't be more excited about this, but it just seems like it's like pulling teeth to get Gillespie to do anything truly urban. What we keep getting are things they pass off as urban (ooo, look at the colors! The mixed usage! etc.), but functionally it's a lie; functionally aside from some of the things being built to the corner, there is just still way too much inefficient land use given over too excessive parking.
If we're to have so much parking on this side of the river, the city HAS to start consolidating it; they HAVE to build a garage if the developers aren't. What's crazy is that this site was rezoned specifically because the G-1 district doesn't have any hard parking requirements...and yet Gillespie went and put in too much surface parking, anyway, so what was the point of the rezoning?
I can't quite bring myself to complain about this project but it's certainly lackluster. A squat, sprawling four floor building isn't really what I wanted to see here. That there's a massive surface lot, no parking garage and no new streets or way to break up the site is more disappointing.
IMHO, this project could be much improved, even while maintaining the basic massing and look of the building, by continuing Pere Market across Michigan, connecting to Barnard and/or curving around to Larch. It would also make it possible to develop the back side of the site later on.
All that being said having a decent sized grocery store that's operated by a reputable chain like Meijer is no small thing for Downtown. I recently bought a house in the Cherry Hill area and this grocery store will be a huge plus for me.
The uses are a godsend. We've been needing a second downtown hotel and a grocery store forever. And, honestly, I can even tolerate bad architecture at this point (looks like he's still working with Studio Intrigue). But I just can't forgive site plans like this, anymore. It's 2018; these kinds of site plans are being allowed a dime-a-dozen in every random suburb in the country these days. When you've got a site like this which is zoned both in the current code and the proposed form-based code as the highest density urban districts the city allows, you just can't waste land like this. You can't have a site where the zoning district encourages 100% lot coverage...and then put surface parking on 2/3 of its. That's an unforgivable waste of space on a site zoned the way it is and a location that's so prominent. Honestly, lots given this zoning district aren't as common downtown as people think; you've got to use them to their fullest extent. If I had my way, to make sure of this, I'd come up with some formula for the zoning code in which after a certain number or percentage of surface parking spaces on a downtown parcel like this, you'd either have to bury the rest underground or use existing parking facilities in the area.
So the uses are excellent choices and badly needed. But sadly, just as I expected, it's once again just a really lazy execution. This is site plan that would work well out at Red Cedar or Trowbridge; in fact, that's the kind of stuff being built and planned for those areas. But on a 4-acre parcel zoned to the highest density the city allows in downtown Lansing? Nah. You could (and should be able to) fit about three of four different buildings on a space that expansive and keep parking to a bare minimum.
I'm done ranting for awhile, though. I look forward to the approval process to see what changes are made to this.
It will be very nice to have a large grocery downtown, but why does this developer always go for the same look? Is his branding idea to make central Lansing look like a Euro/suburban public housing district? It really looks like what they built just outside their quaint old city centers20 years ago. Maybe if people complain he will make it better like down on E. Michigan.
I get the appeal of surface lots from a consumer perspective, I really do. I wonder if some sort of middle ground in terms of a parking "deck" (open air\high ceiling, 2 stories, with direct auto ramp to 2nd floor and direct access to building on both floors) would be a happy middle ground for developments like this. It'd cut the parking footprint in half without compromising the convenience and perceived safety of an open lot