Parsons Street development in Kalamazoo could one day feature a ‘Rolling Stone’ experience

Posted at 9:01 PM, Sep 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-08 21:01:19-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich. --  The Kalamazoo community celebrates 100 years of guitar-building on Saturday at the historic 225 Parsons Street site. They'll take tours, and enjoy live music and carnival activities. And they also may soon be able to enjoy a "Rolling Stone experience" there, as well, according to a property-development and brokerage company.

PlazaCorp Realty Advisors Inc. President Jeff Nicholson says it is working with Rolling Stone on a future development there.

"We have a partnership agreement in place to develop a premium lifestyle offering at 225 Parsons," says Nicholson, a Canadian-born entrepreneur. "They share our passion for the location's history and significance, and we are currently in an exploration phase to find operators for these opportunities..."

Photo credit Mamie L. Austin, courtesy of Kalamazoo Public Library, 1936.

Developers have a vision to make 225 Parsons "the next national landmark music destination." PlazaCorp says that would include a live-entertainment venue, a music-instrument store, plus space for musicians to try instruments or rehearse. The plan also calls for a courtyard and a cafe/restaurant with a view of the site "where people can enjoy a meal and soak in the musical history of Kalamazoo."

As part of the development, PlazaCorp says Heritage Guitar will be relocating into its historic position in the basement of the original three-story location, which is part of the complex.

Nicholson says the project will require local, state and federal "incentives" to make it happen.

PlazaCorp's Director of Acquisition & Development, Andy Wenzel, notes the 225 Parsons property is rich history: "The community support around the 'Save the Stack' campaign - which is now at 25 percent of its target - is a strong demonstration of just how important this site is to the community."

Courtesy Heritage Guitar

The nearly century-old smokestack is more than 70 feet tall. The 135,000-square-foot building itself was home to Gibson Guitars from 1917 to 1984, and Heritage Guitars from 1984 to present.

Meanwhile, Heritage Guitar announced a global sales and marketing partnership with BandLab Technologies, a Singapore-based music-retail and distribution company.

Says Heritage Guitar owner Archie Leach: "To us, this is the next logical step in building a sustainable business that can hire more people and ensure the specialist knowledge of Heritage stays in Kalamazoo..."