Wyoming Unveils Town Center

September 3, 2003
| By Katy Rent |
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WYOMING — A coalition of business owners and operators, working with city and chamber officials, have put a new tag on Wyoming’s three-and-one-half-mile entertainment, retail and civic corridor along 28th Street: Wyoming Town Center.

The newly named area extends from the Grand Rapids border at Division to Grandville, beyond Byron Center Avenue.

The Wyoming Downtown Development Authority (DDA) invited business owners and operators in the area to form the coalition in mid-June, according to Steve Schab, who is chair of the DDA board and represents Jack Loeks Theatres.

Rather than making decisions on its own and then trying to build a consensus for its decisions, the DDA felt it was essential to involve business owners and operators up front so that they would be part of defining and promoting the area, Schab added.

“The city of Wyoming and businesses in this area have made major investments in revitalizing the city’s segment of 28th Street,” Schab said. “In addition to all the businesses that have remodeled and expanded, several new businesses have moved into the area and some established businesses have built new buildings.”

The largest project in the area has been the expansion and renovation of Rogers Plaza Town Center mall. The $5.5 million expansion and improvement of the now 344,000-square-foot mall has attracted A.J. Wright, a new West Michigan retailer, and Harbor Freight Tools, which also is new to Michigan. More than 30 tenants lease space in the mall and Spartan Stores Inc. developed a new, nearly 50,000-square-foot Family Fare grocery store at the west end of the mall. Fifth Third Bank razed its old building at the east end and built a new building at the west end of Rogers Plaza.

Across the street from Rogers Plaza, the city’s new 40,000-square-foot, $6.6 million City Hall opened in December 2002.

But during the last few years, the city of Wyoming has been making major investments in its infrastructure and the services it provides, including a significant expansion and redesign of the Wyoming Public Library, state-of-the-art fire and police departments and facilities. The city’s investments are now being reflected in the businesses along 28th Street.

“The momentum in Wyoming Town Center is growing,” said Bruce Matza, chief operating officer of Rogers Department Store and co-chair of the coalition’s steering committee with Connie Ziebarth of Studio 28. “The Wyoming Town Center Business Coalition is just beginning its work to determine how businesses can work together to identify and prioritize specific revitalization projects and promote the new image of the area.”

City of Wyoming officials and the Wyoming-Kentwood Area Chamber of Commerce are both working with the coalition.

“The city is delighted to have so many businesses involved in this process,” said Gerald Mears, director of planning/community development for the city. “Both the public and private sectors have done great jobs in revitalizing the Town Center. This coalition indicates how much enthusiasm there is for what has already been accomplished and how willing everyone is to keep the progress moving forward.”           

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