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City negotiates price for Kent Co. Road Commission property, making way for amphitheater project

BY Wednesday, June 16, 2021 11:13am

GRAND RAPIDS — City officials expect to purchase riverfront property currently home to the Kent County Road Commission by fall of 2023, setting in motion plans for an amphitheater to be constructed roughly two miles south.

The Grand Rapids City Commission on Tuesday unanimously approved an amended option agreement for the second time to purchase the Road Commission property at 1500 Scribner Ave. NW. The latest amendment reduces the purchase price by $30,000 to $7.45 million because of unanticipated costs for removing underground storage tanks on the property. 

The agreement sets a Sept. 30, 2023, closing deadline for the entire 14.2-acre property, where the city plans to move various public services operations.

The Kent County Road Commission is in the process of relocating its central complex from Scribner Avenue to 1900 4 Mile Road NW at the WalkerView Industrial Park. Walker officials approved the first phase of redeveloping the property, and building permits have been issued as construction takes place on the first phase of the 29-acre parcel, as MiBiz reported last week. The Walker Planning Commission is considering the second phase of the Road Commission’s site plan at its meeting tonight.

The Road Commission and city relocations make way for future development at the 201 Market Ave. SW property, which currently houses the city’s Office of Special Events and street maintenance operations, refuse and recycling, and a gas and diesel fueling station. 

“This is another important, incremental step in the potential redevelopment along this portion of the Grand River and Market Avenue Corridor,” Grand Rapids City Manager Mark Washington said in a statement today. 

The Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority (CAA) is then expected to exercise its option agreement with the city to purchase 201 Market to develop an amphitheater and various other amenities. The CAA’s deadline to purchase the property is Oct. 15, 2021.

The city has been trying to redevelop the 201 Market property for years, but developers have been unable to shoulder the large cost of building over or relocating the large trunk sewer that runs under the property. Relocation of the sewer is now underway and is expected to wrap up by spring of 2022 after a funding partnership was struck between the city, CAA, Amway Hotel Corp., and 63 Market Avenue Holdings LLC, which is registered to RDV Corp., the DeVos family office that owns property in the area. 

The Grand Rapids City Commission on Tuesday also approved a $7.35 million contract with Grand Rapids-based Kamminga & Roodvoets Inc. for the second phase of the sanitary sewer relocation project, with a total project cost not to exceed $9.7 million.

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