Many downtown Midland Stadium District tenants secured
September 12, 2014 at 4:58 PM
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Midland Daily News
May 9, 2012
A plan to build a 224,255-square-foot building with offices and restaurants across from Dow Diamond is moving forward and most of the tenants for the upper floors are secured.
Kevin McGraw, president of Midland Downtown Partners, told the Midland Planning Commission Tuesday that the “Stadium District” project was spurred by local “corporate citizens” and that much of the office space has been claimed, but tenants for the restaurant on the first floor have not yet been finalized.
Plans submitted to the city indicate the four-floor building would include a wellness center, medical offices, other unidentified offices and restaurants. McGraw said the specific tenants are being kept confidential until each is ready to announce their involvement.
The project would be an L-shaped building with frontage on Main and State streets. It combines four parcels — 215 State St., 608 E. Ellsworth St., 614 Larkin St. and 709 Larkin St. — on almost six acres of land. The developer received Michigan Business Tax brownfield credits to clean up contamination on a portion of the site.
There would be on-street parking in the front, with a street-like service drive and park in the back.
“By context, it’s a pretty large building for the downtown area,” Midland Planning and Community Development Director Brad Kaye said, but he added it is in keeping with the scale of Dow Diamond and would feel appropriate for the size of the site.
McGraw said Southfield-based Neumann/Smith Architecture designed the building to look like a traditional downtown block.
“We’re trying to make this look like it’s not just a building that sprung up overnight,” he said.
He acknowledged that some aspects of the design, such as the signs and lighting that would glow on the main floor, did not comply with the city’s current ordinances, but he said they are necessary to create the type of character that the city hopes to attract to its downtown. He hopes the ordinances can be revised, but the developers would comply if they cannot be changed.
The developers expect to seek the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED silver certification for the project.
Scott Bonney, design director with Neumann/Smith, said the project includes an open-air pedestrian pass through on the first floor of the building that would allow people to park behind it and walk to Dow Diamond.
“We want to make this feel as urban as possible,” Bonney said. “We didn’t want it to look like an office building in the middle of a parking lot.”
He said the main entrance to the building would be at the corner of the building facing the new Dow Founder’s Garden next to Dow Diamond. That would be the tallest part of the building, with the varying facades and heights continuing along Main and State Streets.
“The idea was to mix it up and create purposely something that looks like it was built over time,” he said.
There is currently a giant baseball bat art feature at the entrance to the building that they hope will be a part of the final project.
The commission will consider offering a recommendation on the project at its May 22 meeting.