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Exclusive look 300 feet above Kalamazoo from inside the new Exchange building

Newschannel 3 gets an exclusive sneak peek of the Exchange building being built in downtown Kalamazoo. (WWMT)

Kalamazoo's skyline is changing with a new 15-story building towering above the Kalamazoo Mall.

Crews are working on the Exchange building across West Michigan Avenue from the Kalamazoo Radisson Plaza Hotel.

Developers from Phoenix Properties and PlazaCorp believe the transformational project, which has been in the works for more than eight years, will be just the beginning for new developments downtown.

"There are a lot of other projects developers are working on, so I think we are just maybe seeing the beginning of a lot of activity down here," said Greg Taylor, owner of Phoenix Properties.

Taylor took Newschannel 3's Kirk Mason on a tour of the building, which is still under construction.

Crews broke ground on the Exchange building in 2017, and so far, development is on time and on budget, according to Taylor.

Taylor expects people to be living and working in the building sometime between May and July 2019. Apartments aren't close to being ready, but developers are already taking deposits.

"It is a mixture of young people that want to have a place like this," said Taylor. "It's within walking distance to work and where they go for entertainment, but there are also empty-nesters who have never had this experience."

The first floor of 15 in the Exchange building will include Chemical Bank, and Rx Optical and an unnamed restaurant and retailer. Floors two through six will be parking, and the seventh floor will be office space. Floors eight through 14 are filled with 133 apartments, including studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments. The 15th floor is office space and two large terraces for residents and workers.

Newschannel 3 was able to ride up the elevator 11 floors on the day of the tour, walk up three flights of stairs and finally climb a ladder to get to the top.

The bird's-eye view offers the sights of Western Michigan University's campus, Ascension Borgess Hospital and even Newschannel 3.

Something else was noticeable from atop the building. Two more big construction projects have started in Kalamazoo, including apartments to allow more people to live downtown.

"We really believe that there will be kind of a multiplier effect," said Taylor. "If we add a couple hundred residents here, our colleagues add a few more hundred in other parts of downtown, the water will rise for all those boats."


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