GR City Commission to vote on 201 Market sale to allow waterfront amphitheater 

BY Monday, March 28, 2022 03:34pm

GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand Rapids City Commission is set to vote on selling downtown waterfront property to make way for an outdoor amphitheater.

Commissioners will consider a resolution to authorize the Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority (CAA) to purchase 11.6 acres of city-owned property at 201 Market Ave. SW. The Kent County Board of Commissioners at its March 24 meeting approved the sale to the CAA, and the CAA board is scheduled to vote on the purchase at its meeting on Wednesday.

Plans for a 12,000-person amphitheater at the 201 Market site have been years in the making. The project is estimated to cost $116 million, which includes the $24.3 million property acquisition. 

Project funding includes roughly $81 million in donor, state and private investment and $20 million from bonds issued by the city’s Building Authority, according to a city memo.

The CAA would initially pay the city $10 million after the property sale is completed, which is expected to close by June 30. The city would deposit the money into its Affordable Housing Fund as well as cover costs associated with relocating city public works operations from 201 Market to a Kent County Road Commission site that the city plans to purchase by September 2023. 

The city has been looking for ways to redevelop its 201 Market Ave property for years. A major hurdle has been relocating a large trunk sewer beneath Market Avenue, which has stalled past project proposals. The $18.6 sewer million relocation project started in April 2021 and is expected to wrap up this year. 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 — reached a cost-sharing agreement in 2020 to relocate the trunk sewer.

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