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Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Grand Rapids Mystery Development

Updated March 25, 2006

WOOD TV-8 Grand Rapids has extensive coverage (with lots of visuals) of the "Mystery Development" in Grand Rapids on 30 acres near the Grand River that is rumored to be a $2 billion project with the potential to add 10,000 jobs. Among the articles:

An Atlanta PR firm has been hired for the project ... the developers are also looking at a local public relations firm to represent them.

A look at the impact of 10,000 new jobs on the city of Grand Rapids ... According to Brian Walters of the Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information: "Obviously, it depends on the skills required, but "I just don't think the Grand Rapids area could fulfill the demand if the employer is looking to fill high-skilled jobs. The company would likely have to hire people outside the area."

Neither Jennifer Granholm nor Dick DeVos seem to have any idea what the jobs might be ... not an October Surprise then?

At least three properties have yet to sign on to sales agreements ... which is why the shadowy developers sought to keep the whole thing secret in the first place.

While property owners don't know exactly what the project is, they were told it involves entertainment, there is only one other like it, and that there is a better than 50-percent chance it will be built on the banks of the river.

WOOD also profiles the development team and the sellers. Of interest is the fact that Atlanta-based lawyer David Minkin, a leading real estate attorney, who represents developers of hotels, shopping centers, office and residential complexes is a member, perhaps giving credence to the rumor that a Mall of America is coming.

Although the Mall of America employs 11,000 year-round, 13,000 during summers and holidays, we're hoping for something cooler.

We found an article by Media Mouse talking about how the mystery development changed the plans of Mark London and his proposed Showgirl Galleria development in Grand Rapids. According to this article from WOOD-TV:
We know Mark London, the owner of a controversial proposed nude dance club on Market Avenue, has reached a deal with the developer. He has agreed to sell his property without opening his adult entertainment business there.

As of March 21 we are told that no deal has been reached on the adult club land. London made a deal with representatives of the developer on March 9. It’s a 15-day option to buy the property, and an additional $20,000 a day to cover the added cost of construction while London waits to find out if in fact the developer will exercise the option.

We also know the owner of the Intersection Nightclub, Joel Langlois, has a signed agreement as well. These two properties are the centerpieces of the deal.

Langlois says it's his understanding the developers have secured enough property to make this happen. He told 24 Hour News 8 the uniqueness of this project will put Grand Rapids on the international map. It will also help people view the city in a new way.

Langlois told us the city's identity could go from the "Furniture City" to something else. An update from WOOD TV furthers this with the story: IKEA not part of mystery development.

24 Hour News 8's Suzanne Geha talks with real estate agent Deborah Shurlow about the project. In the video/interview it is stated that the project is not a casino and having some type of waterfront was in the requirements of the developer.

WOOD TV March 21: The Grand Rapids City Commission approved the listing of the city-owned 15.8 acre parcel of riverfront property situated in the heart of downtown. The property, 201 Market Avenue, is listed for $35 million.

A very interesting read couresty of DetroitMan via the Grand Rapids Business Journal Express. Talk of high-rise buildings, public access to the river, with possibly a marina or kayak park with not much potential for commercial office space, unless a large company opted to relocate its corporate headquarters there. (Can you say... Googleplex? Check out this piece from the Ann Arbor Business Review on mLive.com)

Here's another article from wzzm13.com from June 2005 about Google's intention to put a Googleplex in Ann Arbor. According to the article:
"We do know a broker representing Google was in town looking for space about three weeks ago," said Chris Martin, vice president for First Martin Corp., an Ann Arbor-based real estate development firm.

"It will be very difficult to find research and technology space in large quantities near U of M, because that area has few vacancies, but there are options nearby."

A real estate survey called the Feldman Report notes Ann Arbor has an 88 percent occupancy rate, one of the highest in the region.

brah.blog has a nicely written piece that supports the 'Googling of Grand Rapids' titled Is Grand Rapids booming?

What can a developer build for 1-2 billion dollars watch this vid at woodtv.com to get an idea.

WOOD TV is reporting the project is related to the music and entertaintment industry and the developer will be making a statement on March 23rd. Could it be something like this place?

The Grand Rapids Press reports that strip club owner Mark London has not heard from the "mystery" buyer or agent, but will show up at a title office today ready to sell his property at 234 Market Ave. SW.

WOOD TV reports that a sale of property can occur without identifying the name of the developer. A straw man or a straw company – a third party - can be used.

WOOD TV reports that the buyer for 'Mystery Development' did not show at the closing for Mark London's strip club property and is asking for more time.

According to WZZM TV Mark London does not expect to sell downtown property.

The Grand Rapids Press is reporting that Mark London said today he will open a strip club in his building southwest of downtown May 1 because mystery developers failed to meet his March 23 deadline to close on a sale. The announcement casts doubt on the future of the "mystery" project.

WOOD TV reports the mystery developer behind a proposed multi-billion dollar project met with Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell today. (We are waiting patiently for some positive news.)

WZZM TV reports that the city is blaming Mark London for refusing to sign a confidentiality agreement. Mayor George Heartwell says the developer plans to continue negotiating for the property because they want to build in Grand Rapids.

Read the Mystery Development Confidentiality Agreement via WOOD TV

The Grand Rapids Press reports that fans of radio station WSNX-FM (104.5) and new morning host Justin "Puddin" Barclay thought they were getting a scoop Thursday morning when the host interviewed a guest regarding the downtown development "mystery project."

Announcement soon? WOOD TV has learned from a source close to the developer an announcement about the mystery development will be made in the next few weeks.

Via urbanplanet.org This link contains all of the final METROPOLITAN CENTER materials that were presented to Mayor George Heartwell on May 13, 2005 including the FINAL REPORT text, the Press Release text and the Concept Renderings
"Please note that as of the May 7, 2005 MBEI Board of Directors Meeting, the Metro Center Steering Committee was directed by the Board to defer contacting Mr. Donald Trump and other world-class developers until the Committee has been reconstituted as the Committee for the Planning of a World-Class Downtown. It is their concern that the connection to Trump and the others not be used until the new Committee completes its next development concept - one that will not be so far down the process timeline of the City like the current Fulton/Division project is."
From WOOD TV - View the April 2005 document that outlines preliminary plans for the Mystery Development.

What do YOU think it is?? Post below!

# posted by farlane @ 10:17 AM 3 comments links to this post

BRIAN DICKERSON: What Michigan needs now is a buy-in offer

Brian Dickerson writes:
If you've got some experience and you're willing to work hard for a living, Michigan employers want you ... to leave.

All across the Great Lakes State, companies that once lured workers from all over the world are paying them big bucks to go away.

And it isn't just the automakers. Retailers, municipalities, law firms, advertising agencies and even (gulp!) newspapers all are encouraging employees to collect their severance checks.
Mr. Dickerson suggests that in addition to buy-outs, we need some buy-in offers.

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# posted by farlane @ 8:51 AM 1 comments links to this post
Friday, March 24, 2006

Choose Your Own Adventure: GM Edition

In the style of the old 'Choose Your Own Adventure' books, Jalopnik explores the GM buyouts saga....

Click here for a hilarious read courtesy of Jalopnik

# posted by William Stevens @ 10:59 AM 0 comments links to this post
Thursday, March 23, 2006

Fishing video you won't believe by Find the River

Find The River writes: Came across a couple of interesting fish videos recently and will let those do the talking today.

Talk about your fishing stories....the flashlight fishing is a must see to believe!

Check out FTR Goes to the Movies!.
Also read FTR's post entitled As We Torment Those who Trespass Against Us.

# posted by Tami @ 4:57 PM 0 comments links to this post

Shaq gives Pistons zero credit by Northern Michigan Detroit Sports Blog

Leelanau Sports Guy writes: The Pistons struggled early, but in the end were able to wear down the Heat and earn a 82-73 victory to improve to 2-1 against the Heat this season. Same old story according to Shaq, the Pistons never get any of the credit when defeating the Heat.

Read Pistons get no credit from Shaq.

# posted by Tami @ 4:43 PM 0 comments links to this post

Porcupine Babies by yspi~dixit

Y. writes: LET'S PAUSE FOR A MOMENT in our ceaseless striving to simply contemplate these porcupine babies.

Awwwwww! See for yourself how cute (and tiny) these critters are!
Also read Y's post entitled Empty Bowls about an upcoming fundraiser.

# posted by Tami @ 4:33 PM 0 comments links to this post

Net dominates as news source by PC Mike's E-Journal

Mike Wendland writes: A study released by the Pew Internet & American Life Project has tracked a revolution in the way Americans consume news and information that is being fueled by the rapid proliferation of high-speed Internet access.

According to the study, some 74 million people - or 34% of all adult Americans - now access the Internet through broadband connections.

Read Net now dominates as news source for many by PC Mike's E-Journal
Also read Mike Wendland's Free Press Column Many turn to Net for news.

# posted by Tami @ 4:23 PM 0 comments links to this post

Detroit's Golden Age of Cars Revisited

DetroitWonk has a great video courtesy of Jalopnik that features some mighty fine Detroit built automobiles. Interesting note is that in the video, host Jeremy Clarkson states that in the 1950's-60's, 97% of all cars purchased in America were built in America and more specifically built in Motown. This lead to an massive economic boon for the area. As the video continues the bad news for Detroit unfolds. Here's hoping for another era of great times and great cars.

View the "Epic" Jeremy Clarkson Metro Detroit Video at Detroit Wonk

# posted by William Stevens @ 9:54 AM 0 comments links to this post

water day & the Great Lakes by Dave's Blog

Dave writes: Twenty liters of water is about what one person can carry. It is also the amount the World Water Council considers the minimum needed for daily human existence, including drinking, washing and cooking. So perhaps it's no coincidence that the largest containers allowed for use exporting water from Michigan are been fixed by law at 20 liters or 5.7 gallons, which is slightly bigger

Read water day & the Great Lakes with a link to the Free Press article.

# posted by Tami @ 9:43 AM 0 comments links to this post

Evening light photo by Michigan in Pictures

Michigan in Pictures writes: photo by curlyson. ...P.J. Hoffmaster Park in Muskegon.

Read about this goregous picture and link to the DNR site for P.J. Hoffmaster Park.

# posted by Tami @ 9:42 AM 0 comments links to this post

Identity Crisis by detroitblog

detroitblog writes: The latest target was the Vinton Building, on the corner of Woodward and Congress, about as downtown as you can get, just north of the Detroit River. It stands dirty and left behind, with boards in a handful of windows holding out against weather, and others wide open and surrendering to the elements, the whole edifice awaiting a new life.

Read more about the Vinton Building and see photos of the building, designed by Albert Kahn, in the Identity Crisis post.

# posted by Tami @ 9:42 AM 0 comments links to this post

Norton Customs by dETROITfUNK

dfUNK writes: Brent Norton at Norton Customs gave me tour of his facilities, and showed me his amazing bass finishes and products.

Read the entire post and see lots of photos of these amazing instruments being crafted.

# posted by Tami @ 9:41 AM 0 comments links to this post

Marching, a poem by Jim Harrison

The Poetry Factory Blog writes: Walt Whitman's poems took in the world through a wide-angle lens, including nearly everything, but most later poets have focused much more narrowly. Here the poet and novelist Jim Harrison nods to Whitman with a sweeping, inclusive poem about the course of life.

Read Marching by Jim Harrison.

# posted by Tami @ 9:40 AM 0 comments links to this post

Grand Rapids is a City on the Move - #6 with a Bullet

WOOD TV reports that a new report called the World Knowledge Competitiveness Index puts Grand Rapids sixth in the world when it comes to developing new jobs and ideas. The report compares 125 cities worldwide. Only San Jose, Boston, San Francisco, Hartford, and Seattle fare better. Key components are education levels, investment into education and the generation of patents.

Read Worldwide report could generate interest in Grand Rapids area on woodtv.com

# posted by William Stevens @ 8:41 AM 0 comments links to this post
Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Food Fit for a Piston - Dining at Chez Rip

Richard "Rip" Hamilton is the only Piston to use a personal chef. Since 2002 Rip has had chef Shawn Loving, owner of Farmington Hills Loving Spoonful cook up his meals when he is at home in Detroit. Reading about some of the meals chef Loving prepares for Rip I see why he rarely eats out. Maybe this explains his seemingly boundless energy on the court.

Read FLAVOR OF LOVE: Chef Loving's menus keep Pistons' Hamilton fueled in the Freep

# posted by William Stevens @ 3:54 PM 0 comments links to this post

Teacher Sick-out Shuts Down Detroit Schools

A massive, unsanctioned "sick-out" has closed more than 50 Detroit shools to protest their losing five days' pay this year at a time when principals and assistant principals may get pay increases.

ClickOnDetroit.com reports that Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick released the following statement regarding the alleged sickout:
"I am disappointed that some teachers have decided to not show up for class today, forcing the District to close schools. The actions of these teachers are hurting our children and our community. Teaching is a calling, not just a job."

Read 53 Detroit Schools Close In Alleged Teacher Sick-out at ClickOnDetroit.com

# posted by William Stevens @ 11:51 AM 0 comments links to this post

Experiment in Repetition by Michigan in Pictures

Michigan in Pictures writes: Experiment in Repetition, photo by The Steppenwolf.

The Steppenwolf says "Mosher Jordan Hall mailboxes, sepia toned... Unfortunately, these mailboxes will be removed summer 2006 when the hall gets "renovated" *cough* destroyed *cough*."

See this familiar scene and link to more photos by The Steppenwolf
Also read about the cool Time Capsule feature in WordPress

# posted by Tami @ 10:32 AM 0 comments links to this post

Health - Do We Care? Essay by Jack Lessenberry's Essays and Interviews

Jack Lessenberry writes: Here's a terribly profound observation. The best map in the world won't do you much good if you don't know where you want to go. And that's the problem with the debate over health care in this country. We have an enormous crisis.

Health care costs are spiraling out of control. Worse, the number of Americans without any health care at all at last count was 46 million, six million more than six years ago.

Read Essay: Health - Do We Care?
Listen to the companion Interview: Catherine McLaughlin

# posted by Tami @ 10:31 AM 0 comments links to this post

Microsoft's OS woes by PC Mike's E-Journal

PC Mike writes: Bill Gates must have been furious. But in the end, there was no choice: Vista, the next ugrade for the Windows operating system, is simply too little, too late and not ready for prime time. So, yesterday, the company announced it would be delayed yet again, until early 2007.

Read Microsoft's OS woes keep mounting (and grab some "facial tissue"...it's a real tear jerker!)

# posted by Tami @ 10:30 AM 0 comments links to this post

Growing Hope Fundraiser by Kitchen Chick

Kitchen Chick writes: While in Kerrytown today, I stopped in at everyday wines to say "hi" and learned that they are hosting a wine tasting at everyday cook in Kerrytown (upstairs). ...Proceeds go to support Growing Hope.

Read the entire post including event details.
Visit Growing Hope

# posted by Tami @ 10:29 AM 0 comments links to this post

The 2006 Wired Magazine Speaker Series Coming to Cranbrook Art Museum

Bruce Mau, Creative Director, Bruce Mau Design. Thursday, April 6, 7pm.

Craig Newmark, Founder, Craigslist.org. Thursday, April 27, 7pm.

Programs will take place in deSalle Auditorium on the lower level of Cranbrook Art Museum and are included with Museum admission and free for all ArtMembers@Cranbrook. For more information, please call 248-645-3314.

Visit the Cranbrook Art Museum website for event details and directions
Wired Magazine

# posted by William Stevens @ 9:22 AM 0 comments links to this post

Alternative Energy Company Coming to Greenville

News sources around the state are reporting that United Solar Ovonic, a company based in Auburn Hills, will expand and build a new high-tech manufacturing facility in Greenville's industrial park. Parent company Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. is one of the leading U.S. companies developing technologies to make the U.S. less dependent on foreign oil. Michigan has been in stiff competition with South Carolina to secure the deal and is said to have won out due to Greenville's highly skilled workforce.

Read New hope for Greenville: Hundreds of jobs on the way on wzzm13.com
Read Hundreds of jobs coming to Greenville on woodtv.com
Read Solar energy company to build plant in Greenville in the Detroit News
Read United Solar Ovonic Bringing High-Tech Manufacturing Facility, 200 New Jobs to Greenville on Michigan Newswire

# posted by William Stevens @ 9:05 AM 0 comments links to this post

Michigan Sets Five Year IT Plan for State Government

Michigan Newswire reports that the Michigan Department of Information Technology (MDIT) has released the 2006 Michigan IT Strategic Plan, detailing how Michigan will use technology to improve the quality of life for citizens and to attract business and good paying jobs.

Highlights of the plan include maintaining security to protect citizen data, providing more online services, bringing the internet to areas in need and developing a statewide emergency radio communications system.

Visit Michigan Newswire and read Strategic Plan Sets Course for Future of Michigan Government Technology

# posted by William Stevens @ 8:51 AM 1 comments links to this post
Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Ayyyyyy..........Rasheed Is Cool by Need4Sheed

Natalie writes: When Team Need4Sheed was waiting in line to get into the Stephen A. Smith show, someone walked up to Jeff, knowing the whole story and asked him why we like Rasheed Wallace so much.
Jeff turned, looked at him and said, "Because Sheed is cool, he's the Fonz of the NBA." I found that quite fitting, so I give you Fonzsheed!

Check out Fonzsheed!

# posted by Tami @ 9:39 AM 0 comments links to this post

Lucio Silla Tuesday 10AM-1PM EST by What's Opera Doc?

What's Opera Doc writes: It just doesn't stop!!

What's Opera, Doc continues its program of all the operas, in the order
they were written. Opera #7, Lucio Silla, K.135 (26.12.1772 Teatro
Regio Ducal, Milan)

Read more about Lucio Silla by What's Opera Doc?

# posted by Tami @ 9:37 AM 0 comments links to this post


Y. writes: LOCAL CIVIL WAR REENNACTOR John Delcamp is charmingly portrayed in an Eastern Echo profile:

"He opens the door, a grizzled foot soldier with bushy eyebrows, gray hair in need of a trim, and a Stonewall Jackson beard. The veteran of countless military campaigns, he's fought at Nashville, Antietam, Chatanooga, Vicksburg and other battlefields of the Civil War."


# posted by Tami @ 9:23 AM 0 comments links to this post


GLRC writes: Sidewalks don't go a lot of the places we'd like to walk. So people do what people have always done: cut through empty lots... or woods... or across railways. A lot of these pathways, worn down by use, never seem to make it onto maps. The GLRC's Jennifer Guerra reports one group thinks they ought to be mapped...and their stories told.


# posted by Tami @ 9:19 AM 0 comments links to this post

Rip the Lake Up and Start Again by Find The River

Find The River writes: From the Traverse City Record-Eagle:

Kneff Lake is by design a popular fishing spot in Crawford County.

It's a round, 13-acre lake on federal forest land, tucked into the hills southeast of Grayling and designated as a trout fishery. A campground and sandy beach draw visitors all summer, officials said....

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources plans to kill the lake's existing fish with a chemical treatment. The lake then will be restocked with rainbow trout.

Read Rip The Lake Up and Start Again

# posted by Tami @ 9:14 AM 0 comments links to this post

Skillman Library by dETROITfUNK

dfUNK writes [about these photos]: The former Downtown Library branch of the Detroit Public Library. Now known as the Skillman Library after reopening recently. Originally built in 1931.

He goes on to writes: On a lighter note, I was chatting with the maintenance worker at Skillman, and he pointed out this crazy little fella walking across the lawn. Neither of us had seen such a bird in Detroit - or anywhere for that matter.

Anybody have a clue what this kiwi looking bird is ? ? Look at that beak !

See the photos of the Skillman Library and "the bird"

# posted by Tami @ 9:10 AM 0 comments links to this post
Monday, March 20, 2006

Detroit Piston Pictures of the Week

Rasheed at the Line

Detroit Bad Boys has introduced their "Reader Pictures of the Week". They give me a shout-out for suggesting, I give one back, it's a wonder anyone can get any work done with all this shouting going on.

Head over to Detroit Bad Boys for this Week's Reader Pictures

# posted by farlane @ 12:29 PM 0 comments links to this post

Clean Michigan Initiative Running Low on Cash by Red Tape Blog

Red Tape writes: A program to clean up pollution and redevelop property in Michigan is running low on cash.

The Clean Michigan Initiative has helped renovate old industrial sites, protect water supplies and improve parks for nearly a decade. But state officials say there's not enough money to add new sites to the project list in the upcoming budget year and work may have to slow down on jobs that already have begun.

Read More (external link) »

# posted by Tami @ 9:19 AM 0 comments links to this post

Broken Ice by Michigan in Pictures

Michigan in Pictures writes: This photo is one of a set of photos taken InterVarsity's Cedar Campus in the Les Cheneaux area.

Read More (external link) »

# posted by Tami @ 9:18 AM 0 comments links to this post

Larionov Benefit Charity Signing by Northern Michigan Detroit Sports Blog

Leelanau Sports Guy writes: Want to meet a former Red Wing and help support a good cause? You can on Saturday, March 25th at the Best Buy in Auburn Hills or Sunday, March 26th at the Best Buy in Novi. Former Red Wing Larionov will be signing copies of his DVD "Farewell from Moscow - The Igor Larionov Farewell Game" from 2-4 pm each day. All proceeds from the DVD sales will go to The Igor Larionov Youth Hockey Charitable Foundation.

Read More (external link) »

# posted by Tami @ 9:18 AM 0 comments links to this post


GLRC writes: Some states and Native American tribes in the Upper Midwest say they're looking forward to taking over management of their gray wolf population. That's if a new federal plan to de-list the wolf as an endangered or threatened species becomes law.

Read More (external link) »

# posted by Tami @ 9:17 AM 0 comments links to this post

Razzle Dazzle Icecream and Space Art Show by Detroit Essentials

bEckY writes: Pure Detroit Design Lab has a show coming up on March 24th (running through April 7th) called the RAZZLE DAZZLE ICE CREAM & SPACE artshow
15 new paintings & a book by Davin Brainard

The opening reception is Friday, March 24, 7-11pm

What I really like about these paintings is the historical context from which they were inspired. Razzle Dazzle is a camouflage technique used on American ships during WORLD WAR I and a little bit during WORLD WAR 2.

Read More (external link) »

# posted by Tami @ 9:16 AM 0 comments links to this post

Harmonie Park by dETROITfUNK

dETROITfUNK writes: [about these photos] Lets check out Harmonie Park today - some gorgeous architectural details on some of these buildings. This is the old German section of Downtown.

Read More (external link) »

# posted by Tami @ 9:15 AM 0 comments links to this post
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