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Muskegon investors introduce plans for lakefront industrial site COURTESY PHOTO

Muskegon investors introduce plans for lakefront industrial site

BY MiBiz Staff Wednesday, August 03, 2016 04:00pm

A group of investors want to turn a vacant, former industrial site on Muskegon Lake into prime waterfront real estate with mixed-use development on site.

Pure Muskegon LLC, an entity headed by a number of prominent Muskegon business people, today announced in a statement its acquisition of the 120-acre site that formerly housed the Sappi Paper Mill site.

With over a mile of frontage on Muskegon Lake, the new development, dubbed Windward Pointe, is planned to have residential and commercial uses as well as public spaces and potentially new transportation options such as water taxis.

“Our goal is to position the property for a vibrant, placemaking redevelopment that enhances the nearby neighborhoods, the connectivity to Downtown and the entire Muskegon Lake basin and will serve as a destination point not just in West Michigan, but for the entire Midwest,” said Wes Eklund, a founding member of Pure Muskegon and the CEO of Fleet Engineers Inc. in a statement.

The partnership will soon begin exploring development partners for the site as well as further exploring uses and opportunities for the site.

The Pure Muskegon partnership — registered to Chris Witham, president of Fruitport-based Motion Dynamics Corp. — began exploring opportunities to acquire and redevelop the site in 2013, according to the statement.

The entity has entered into a legal Administrative Agreement (AA) with the Michigan Attorney General, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), Sappi Paper, the site’s former owner Melching Inc.

The sale of the property — for an undisclosed price — triggers a $1 million MDEQ Brownfield grant aimed at assisting in the removal of the remaining smokestacks on the property.

“This is a shining example of redevelopment and reuse of a massive industrial site, which in its hey-day employed hundreds in the community. Through the Administrative Agreement, Pure Muskegon was able to purchase the property and work toward creating their vision of a vibrant, place-based project.” said Robert Wagner, MDEQ program deputy director, in a statement. “We are pleased to lend our expertise and support to cleaning up this major industrial site and helping to revitalize the Muskegon lakeshore.”

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