MUSKEGON — The Muskegon City Commission approved project amendments on Tuesday that will pave the way for construction to begin on the $250 million Adelaide Pointe development along Muskegon Lake.
The changes will allow developers to access the city-owned boat lift and launch ramp at Hartshorn Village for the Adelaide Pointe marina. The boat launch also will remain open to the public.
“By and large, this is almost entirely private property, and a significant portion will be made available to the public with significant enhancements to this area from what it was,” said Muskegon Mayor Ken Johnson.
The project will benefit future and existing residents by “contributing to the overall wealth and economic development” of the city, Johnson said.
The large-scale development plan proposed by Ryan and Emily Leestma also got a stamp of approval from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) this month, Ryan Leestma told MiBiz. He expects to hear on requests from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the coming weeks,
The approval from the city commission on Tuesday marked a major milestone for the project, which the Leestmas first unveiled in August 2021. The developers are now moving “full steam ahead” as they enter the construction phase, Leestma said.
The project also will now include the construction of a boat storage facility in Hartshorn Village in place of plans for eight single-family homes and a condo building. The facility will provide winter storage and short-term seasonal storage next to the boat launch. The plans also call for a bike path to loop in front of the proposed boat storage facility, but the developers also included an alternative path for use when boats are being launched.
The Adelaide Pointe project will include a marina, 55-unit condominium building, mixed-use retail and event space and public access with bike trails, greenspace and a public fishing pier. The partners have already sold 22 condos and leased 45 slips, Leestma said.
Before the end of 2023, Leestma expects the boat rack storage at Hartshorn Village to be completed, along with Adelaide Pointe marina and most of the roads and infrastructure work at the site. In 2024, the project timeline calls for completing the condominium project, multi-use restaurant and event space, and boater services building.
In March 2021, the Leestmas bought several parcels of land along West Western Avenue in Muskegon for about $5.5 million total, and announced plans to develop the 30 acres of lakefront in August 2021. Last year, they also purchased Hartshorn Village and Marina, which is adjacent to the Adelaide Pointe site.
The city commission was set to consider about $8 million in bonds to assist with road and infrastructure costs on the Adelaide Pointe site at an upcoming city meeting, but the Leestmas now have decided to fund that on their own.
“I want to avoid another public meeting so badly that I have decided to finance it myself,” Leestma said.
During the Feb. 14 city commission meeting, several city commissioners commended Leestma for his transparency and availability to community members throughout the approval process for Adelaide Pointe.
“The developer, beyond any instance I can recall, has made himself excessively available to the public to receive their input,” Johnson said.
Muskegon Commissioner Rebecca St. Clair also shared that she was “struck” by how many people reached out to her in support of the project.
“For every person I have had come to me with questions and concerns, I’ve had four people say ‘please support this,’ and that’s really striking to me,” St. Clair said. “I’ve had a few people come to me and say ‘absolutely no’ (about the project), but the majority of people who have voiced concerns were just worried about parts of it and not the entirety of the project.”
While Leestma acknowledged the public process has taken its toll on him, he could not be happier with the approvals and ability to now move forward with the project.
“There is a small group of detractors who are unhappy no matter what you say or do,” he said.
Milwaukee, Wis.-based Catalyst Construction is managing all of the build-out of Adelaide Pointe and the Hartshorn Village site. Edgewater Resources and Fishbeck Inc. are providing engineering and design of the project.