Renderings of a west side Grand Rapids site under consideration for a soccer stadium. Renderings of a west side Grand Rapids site under consideration for a soccer stadium. RENDERINGS BY PROGRESSIVE AE INC.

West side GR site examined for soccer stadium; DeVos acquires adjacent land

BY Andy Balaskovitz and Kate Carlson Thursday, September 01, 2022 11:35am

GRAND RAPIDS — The development team behind a planned Grand Rapids amphitheater is in the preliminary stages of determining a site for a soccer stadium, including properties containing a city-owned surface parking lot on the city’s west side, MiBiz has learned.

Grand Action 2.0 has been working with architects as well as city of Grand Rapids staff as part of a preliminary and informal review to determine if the site is viable.

An executive at Grand Action 2.0 confirmed that the teams are reviewing renderings (see below) of a potential soccer stadium project immediately north of Pearl Street NW and immediately west of U.S.-131. Plainfield Township-based Progressive AE Inc. prepared the renderings.

However, the planning team has neither confirmed a final site for the stadium, nor are they pursuing city approvals for the west side property at this time, Grand Action 2.0 Executive Director Kara Wood told MiBiz. Wood added that Grand Action 2.0 has “multiple” sites under consideration for a soccer stadium.

“We are in such early stages, it would be extremely premature to assume that would be the location at this point” for a soccer stadium, Wood said.

However, a key player in the development process recently acquired land adjacent to the potential west side Grand Rapids site, which is just north of the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids and south of the Bridge Street business corridor. YMCA President and CEO Scott Lewis did not respond to a request for comment.

On July 28, an entity affiliated with DP Fox Ventures LLC acquired 407 Pearl St. NW for $3.175 million, according to city property records. DP Fox serves as the family office of Dan and Pamella DeVos.

The 1-acre site currently has a Big Boy restaurant. Earlier this year, another developer proposed to replace the Big Boy with a Kum & Go convenience store before it was abruptly pulled from a May 12 city Planning Commission agenda, according to a report from media partner WOOD-TV8. A broker for the property owner, Nick Pass, at the time was unaware that the project had been withdrawn.

Reached by phone this week, Pass said he could not discuss the July 28 property sale, citing a confidentiality agreement.

DeVos family spokesperson Nick Wasmiller said in an emailed statement that “we see potential for a variety of uses at 407 Pearl NW, all of which could bring value to West Michigan residents, employees and more. With that in mind, DP Fox worked to secure the property for future development. No plans have been formalized at this time.”

Dan DeVos is involved with sports enterprises both locally and nationally. DeVos serves as chairman of the Orlando Magic NBA team and co-owner of the Grand Rapids Griffins. He was also the owner of the former Grand Rapids Rampage, an Arena Football League team.

Officials have long cited a minor league soccer stadium as a potential economic development project in the city of Grand Rapids. A destination asset study in 2016 included such a venue, while The Right Place Inc.’s list of 12 “transformational” projects released this year included a 7,000-person capacity stadium to help lure a USL Championship soccer league franchise.

“Given the size of the Grand Rapids market, and based on the feedback from league officials, the USLC classification represents the best fit to maximize Grand Rapids’ market potential,” according to a Right Place memo on the 12 projects. “Soccer generally appeals to a millennial audience in addition to the families typically drawn to the affordable entertainment offered by minor league teams.”

Grand Action 2.0 is chaired by Dick DeVos, Carol Van Andel and Fifth Third Bank Regional President Tom Welch. The group reformed in early 2020 after a multi-year hiatus from Grand Action, which led several major downtown Grand Rapids redevelopments, including Van Andel Arena.

Over the past two years, Grand Action 2.0 has led plans for a downtown, 12,000-capacity amphitheater as well as a broader development plan for the surrounding 31 acres along the Grand River. Conceptual plans include mixed-use development, new riverfront trails and mixed-income housing ranging from 1,200 to 1,700 units.

Stadia Bowl additional uses

Stadia Bowl West

Stadia Bowl NSRenderings by Progressive AE Inc.

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Read 11871 times Last modified on Thursday, 01 September 2022 12:31