Visions for Arcadia Commons West to be unveiled July 16

Development proposals will be put before the community July 16 for the Arcadia Commons West-- the roughly six acres bordered by Park Street, Westnedge Avenue, Kalamazoo Avenue, and Water Street in downtown Kalamazoo.

Four companies will present their "broad visions" for the property developed in response to a request for ideas put forward by the Arcadia Commons West Task Force. Firms with experience in urban and mixed uses developments were sought for the project.

They were asked to include key parameters such as mixed-income housing, neighborhood connections, mixed-use development, and the accommodation of multiple types of transportation when crafting their visions for the site.

The three teams being interviewed July 16 are: local development partners AVB Inc. and The Hinman Co;  the development firm Fairmont Properties out of Cleveland; and the development partners Lord Aeck Sergeant of Ann Arbor working with Ambling University Development Group based out of Valdosta, Georgia.

Their proposals will be rated by the Arcadia Commons West Task Force, which is made up of representatives from Kalamazoo's Downtown Development Authority; the City of Kalamazoo; the Kalamazoo Community Foundation; Downtown Tomorrow Inc.; and Kalamazoo County. Interviews will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum’s Mary Jane Stryker Theater.
Interview schedule

From 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum’s Mary Jane Stryker Theater.

Lord Aeck Sargent/Ambling University at 9:30 a.m.

AVB/Hinman will present at 11 a.m.

Fairmount Properties will present at 1 p.m.

The public will be asked not to comment or ask questions during interviews, but will have the opportunity to fill out comment cards for development teams following each interview. A public open house will take place at the museum from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. where the community can meet developers, ask questions, and get more information about the project site.

The Task Force hopes to enter into a pre-development agreement with the selected development firm by September 2015. From there, the Task Force will work with developers and the community to create a project for the site.

Previously, the site has been used for a variety of small businesses and a car dealership and is now mostly vacant land. The parcels are owned by Downtown Tomorrow Inc., the Downtown Development Authority, and Western Michigan University.

The development is considered the second phase of the Arcadia Commons Redevelopment Project. Arcadia Commons East was completed in 1995. It became a major transformative project for the northern district of downtown Kalamazoo.  The project consisted of a collaboration of nine private and public property owners investing more than $100 million in new  and renovated construction of commercial, office, institutional, community college, public museum and public open space.

"This site is key to the future growth and success of downtown Kalamazoo," says Downtown Kalamazoo Inc. President Steve Deisler. "It’s imperative that we find a partner who will engage the community and help craft a project to address our current and future needs."

Source: Downtown Kalamazoo Inc.