The apartment component of the Vista 45 project planned in Walker. The apartment component of the Vista 45 project planned in Walker. COURTESY OF GHAFARI ASSOCIATES

217 apartments, commercial space planned in Standale area of Walker

BY Tuesday, July 19, 2022 10:49am

WALKER — Developers are eyeing nearly 60 acres of vacant land along Lake Michigan Drive in Walker’s Standale neighborhood for a large-scale, 217-unit mixed-use development. 

The Walker Planning Commission will consider a rezoning request and preliminary area site plan for the Vista 45 project at its July 20 meeting. The project site is located immediately west of a Meijer Inc. store and Blain’s Farm & Fleet. The parcels at 4684, 4664, 4620 and 4568 Lake Michigan Drive NW once included homes that were demolished in 2015, according to a city planning memo.

Grand Haven-based development and property management firm The Cherette Group proposes nine apartment buildings with a mix of one- and two-bedroom units. Preliminary plans include 110 one-bedroom units and 107 two-bedroom apartments. The residential plans also feature a range of amenities such as a dog park, pickleball courts, swimming pool, club house, dog wash station and a parking lot with 506 spaces.

JAG Development Inc. — affiliated with The Atonne Group LLC — is working with The Cherette Group to develop and co-own the multifamily portion of the Vista 45 project.

Planning documents filed with the city indicate commercial outlots at three locations could offer an array of uses including office space, a gas station, a drive-thru bank, a fast-food restaurant, a fast-casual restaurant and a coffee shop. 

A Hubbell, Roth & Clark Inc. study concluded that potential traffic from the development would not trigger a need for improvements to local roads.

City planning staff support rezoning the parcels from agricultural, local commercial and outdoor commercial to commercial planned unit development (CPUD) and high density residential planned unit development (RPUD-2). However, planning staff also recommend that the planning commission table The Cherette Group’s preliminary area site plan, citing an inadequate explanation around “future development” on 6 acres and a lack of adequate access to public streets. 

The Cherette Group noted in planning documents that the 6 acres at the southern end of the site could include future uses such as single-family, multifamily or senior housing, or other residential uses. A company official declined to comment on the project until after the planning commission’s July 20 meeting.

The development would need planning commission and city commission approval for rezoning the properties and the preliminary area site plan. Pending city approvals, developers hope to break ground on the project in late 2022. 

Progressive AE Inc. and Ghafari Associates LLC, both based in Grand Rapids, are consulting on the project.

JAG Development, doing business as Westown Commercial LLC, purchased all four properties on Lake Michigan Drive NW on Dec. 31, 2021 for $3.9 million from several different holding companies that are all registered to Antonne Group Inc., according to property records. Based in Wyoming, the Antonne Group is an umbrella company for 13 Goodale family businesses in the manufacturing, energy, construction, financial and real estate industries.

The Cherette Group recently completed Westown at Wilson Apartment Homes in Walker and is currently pursuing housing projects in Fruitport Township and downtown Grand Haven.

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