Residents of Kalamazoo have always taken pride in the multifaceted nature of their city. Whether for education, cuisine, or food and entertainment, Kalamazoo is an appealing destination for citizens from all walks of life. Keeping this in mind, it only makes sense that one of downtown Kalamazoo's latest additions will allow several aspects of the city to intersect.
The latest expansion in Kalamazoo comes in the form of a $70 million, seven-story building under development by Catalyst Development Co. LLC (Catalyst), designed by TowerPinkster, and under construction by CSM Group Inc. (CSM). Situated at the southwest corner of North Edwards and Water Street, the 290,000-square-foot project will fulfill several purposes. In addition to two floors of residential housing, the structure will also feature four floors of office space and a parking deck with more than 300 spaces.
Several tenants are slated to move into this space upon its completion, including Warner Norcross & Judd LLP, Southwest Michigan First, Community in Schools, The Kalamazoo Promise (The Promise), and The Kalamazoo Promise Institute (The Promise Institute).
What will be unique about the setup of this building is the shared space that all of these businesses will coexist within.
"Programming through Southwest Michigan First will have events like Breakfast with a Leader, apprenticeships, and various trainings within the space," said Jason Novotny, TowerPinkster's Director of Design. "This will happen all while sharing space with The Promise Institute and Community in Schools."
"There are spaces in the building that were created intentionally to cause people to cross paths. Students and parents can interact with the downtown environment and business people going to work and see firsthand everyday-career pathways," Novotny continued.
By including a variety of businesses under one roof, community collaboration is encouraged. This will, in turn, greatly benefit future generations of Kalamazoo’s citizens.
In addition to being organically exposed to downtown Kalamazoo, Promise scholars will benefit from this structure in other ways. The building will offer students a center where they can study and attend career fairs, as well as feature their accomplishments.
The new space will also allow for an expansion of The Promise's resources, which will positively impact alumni relations. Alumni will be able to better connect with recent grads and provide both career coaching and introductions with employers.
The development of this building will aid the overall revitalization of Kalamazoo. The residential housing that structures such as this provide, make downtown a much more viable area to live in.
Patti Owens, Catalyst's Vice President and Managing Director, agrees.
"Kalamazoo is a survivor. There have been many times that she's been knocked down and we reinvent," Owens stated proudly. "We're having a reinvention right now with this influx of density in the urban core."
In order to meet this influx, the new project will include affordable housing.
"The most successful cities have a broad range of residents, and so in our 45 apartments at 180 East Water Street, we're going to do half of those as a blend of workforce and affordable housing," Owens said.
Making downtown Kalamazoo more accessible and attractive destination for all walks of life is a key objective of this project.
In fact, construction of this building alone may open up downtown to a whole host of people who aren't familiar with the area.
Brian Beaver, CSM’s Project Director, specifically mentioned the exposure for those working to complete the building.
"The large number of contractors who will be coming downtown this summer to work on the site will be incredibly beneficial," Beaver said. "The increased manpower will have a positive effect on local businesses to really drive the economy in downtown Kalamazoo."
With projects like this pushing the city towards a more connected and collaborative future, it is certainly an exciting time to live in Kalamazoo.