GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority has approved plans for a public-private partnership that relocates sewer infrastructure allowing for a waterfront amphitheater downtown.
The Convention/Arena Authority (CAA) board on Friday morning approved a memorandum of understanding between it, the city of Grand Rapids and two private entities that lays out cost-sharing of the $18.6 million sewer relocation project. The Grand Rapids City Commission approved the agreement on Tuesday.
“This is a huge step in the right direction to redevelop these sites,” Grand Rapids Mayor and CAA Board Member Rosalynn Bliss said during today’s meeting.
Under the agreement, the CAA would contribute $5 million to the sewer relocation project. The city would contribute $6.25 million while the private entities — Amway Hotel Corp. and 63 Market Avenue Holdings LLC — would pay the remaining $7.35 million, as MiBiz first reported this week.
The large sanitary trunk sewer has been a barrier to redeveloping the city-owned, riverfront 201 Market Ave. property where the 14,000-seat amphitheater is planned.
The CAA’s $5 million share will be paid from a 2018 Michigan Economic Development Corp. grant the authority received in 2018. The grant was originally for two years, but officials negotiated a one-year extension to use the funds, said Rich MacKeigan, regional general manager of DeVos Place and Van Andel Arena.
“All parties still agreed that there is momentum, we’ve got the support from the city, let’s continue to move forward with an aggressive timeline,” MacKeigan said during Friday’s meeting.
The memorandum of understanding also opens discussions over the city’s sale of about two-thirds of the 15.8-acre 201 Market property to CAA for the amphitheater and parking. The option agreement over the property sale will be completed by Dec. 31.
The pre-pandemic construction cost estimate for the outdoor venue is $40 million. The project is expected to create $5.9 million in new spending annually as well as 410 full- and part-time jobs and $456,000 in new tax revenue.
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