GRAND RAPIDS — The city-owned 201 Market Ave. property in the southwest corner of downtown has drawn interest from five different development teams, city officials said today.
Only one response to the city’s request for qualifications came from a local developer.
Grand Rapids-based Rockford Construction Company Inc. and a variety of regional and national development groups replied to the RFQ, which only aims to assess development experience and financial capabilities, Economic Development Director Kara Wood told MiBiz.
Wood said specific development proposals for the approximately 15-acre site would be sought in the coming months.
“I think this was really exciting to get five (responses) with some local representation as well as regional and national representation,” Wood said in a phone interview Wednesday afternoon. “So we’re pretty thrilled about the response.”
Wood added that each response comes from a development team, meaning that any future project could have additional support from local developers.
In addition to Rockford Construction, the RFQ responders included Indianapolis-based Flaherty & Collins Properties, Southfield-based REDICO LLC, West Bloomfield Township-based The Velmeir Companies, and Wilmington, N.C.-based Zimmer Development Co.
Executives at Rockford Construction declined to comment on their ideas to redevelop the city-owned site.
Additionally, Wood said that any winning proposal would have to assist the city in relocating the functions currently housed on the site to other city-owned properties.
Over the coming months, the city and an Evaluation Committee consisting of representatives from the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., Grand Rapids Urban League and Hispanic Center of Western Michigan, will assess each of the RFQ responses.
The city hopes to issue Requests for Proposal (RFP) around late May, Wood said.
A variety of stakeholders have turned their focus to the 201 Market site in recent weeks. As MiBiz reported last month, a group of visiting land use experts from Washington, D.C.-based Rose Center for Public Leadership suggested that redevelopment of the site offers an opportunity to hone in on “equitable” development, particularly given the fairly lengthy timeline before the site would be open to public or private uses.
Specifically, Wood said the city hopes to be mindful of public access to the site that fronts the Grand River, as well as offer green space and certain density levels spelled out in the GR Forward master planning document.
“We’re certainly taking what we learned in the Rose Center presentation and attempting to implement it in the (201 Market) RFP,” Wood said. “If we can achieve those goals on city-owned property, then that’s a big win for us. We’ll be certainly including more detail in the Request for Proposal on those items specifically.”