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Another announced land grab by GVSU means more surface parking lots

February 14, 2017

Yesterday, in an article on MLive, it was announced that Grand Valley State University would be leasing (but ultimately purchasing) 3.5 acres of land currently owned by the Louis Padnos Iron and Metal Company for $3.38 million. 

The MLive article stated that GVSU would have a new surface parking lot ready for us by the 2017 Fall semester. In this arial view, it is the land/property outlined in red that will be used for parking. This decision was made by the GVSU Board of Trustees, which makes complete sense since the trustees represent monied interests throughout the state.

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This is just the latest development in GVSU’s history, when it comes to their expansion through land grabs.screen-shot-2017-02-14-at-1-38-49-pm

Ever since GVSU has had a presence on the westside, they have continued to gobble up land. This first began when the Eberhard Center was opened in 1988 in downtown Grand Rapids, along the Grand River and has continued through this most recent acquisition of land south of the downtown campus.

Other examples have been the purchase of land on Michigan Avenue for the Cook/DeVos building on the corner of Michigan and Lafayette. This process of land acquisition began when Butterworth Hospital (now Spectrum) began buying land that impacted the Belknap Neighborhood back in the 1990s. 

After the mid-1990s, when over 70 homes were bull-dozed on the westside between Lake Dr. and Bridge St, it paved the way for GVSU to eventually build the larger Pew Campus and all the accompanying parking lots/structures that came with it.

More recently there is the example of the GVSU purchase of land north of 196 in the Belknap Neighborhood. This project displaced dozens of families and resulted in the demolition of numerous homes. You can see in this map, the amount of land GVSU purchased in that particular land grab.

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We also took pictures last fall of the demolition, which is posted here.laker-effect

So you can see that GVSU has a long history of land grabs and that the announced new surface parking lot is just the most recent. No doubt it will not be the last.

In addition, it is also important to recognize that all of the new construction that GVSU is engaging in in the downtown area and surrounding neighborhoods also makes it attractive for other investors to want to cash in on new developments in the area, including upscale apartments, more breweries and restaurants. This process creates a snow ball effect that adds to gentrification and the displacement of working class individuals and families that can no longer afford to live in the spaces that GVSU controls.

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