Norton Shores Eyes 41M Project

December 17, 2004
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NORTON SHORES — State tax incentives provided a boost to plans for a $41.3 million redevelopment of a former landfill in Norton Shores into a new urban village with condominiums, apartments, retail stores and professional offices.

Excavation work on the planned Eastowne of Norton Shores will begin late this month or in early January on the 17.5-acre site of a foundry landfill that most recently was home to the former Irwin Home Furnishings store and the since-demolished Frank’s Nursery at Seaway Drive and Seminole Road.

The project will consist of 100,000 square feet of medical and professional office space, an equal amount of retail space, and up to 96 residential dwellings consisting of condos, upper-floor lofts and apartments overlooking nearby Mona Lake.

Developer Bob Dykstra of Eastowne Development has been planning the project for more than two years and began seeking the state tax credits within the last six months. The Michigan Economic Growth Alliance approved the tax incentives last week.

The $4.1 million in credits on the state’s Single Business Tax, plus tax-increment financing to pay for infrastructure, will allow Dykstra to price the commercial and residential space more competitively for the Muskegon-area market.

“We can obviously market this project at a price Muskegon can afford,” Dykstra said. “We can redevelop at a more attractive price.”

Retail and office space in the development will go for $10 to $12 per square foot and residential units will sell for $150,000 to $300,000, Dykstra said.

About 10 percent of the available space is pre-leased or pre-sold and Dykstra expects potential tenants and buyers to commit to the project now that the state tax incentives have been secured.

“We can now finalize all of our agreements with everybody. Until now it’s been wait and see,” he said.

Among the prospective tenants for Eastowne are a full-service restaurant, a sports medicine clinic and a home design center. Muskegon Commerce Bank, now at the corner of Seaway and Seminole, has committed to building a new headquarters within the development.

Eastowne will follow a “new urbanism” design scheme that combines residential and commercial uses and has proven popular, he said.

“People want convenience, there’s no question about that,” Dykstra said. “People want to live and work close to where they do both.”

City leaders hailed the project as the kind of redevelopment they want to see in Norton Shores.

Mayor Nancy Crandall said Eastowne will create a gateway to the city along the Seaway Drive corridor and she hopes additional investment along the corridor will follow in the future. The urban village scheme is a “perfect fit” for the site and the community.

“It’s kind of what we’ve envisioned as far as the kind of things we’d like to see happen here,” Crandall said.

Eastowne was among 10 projects across Michigan to which the state awarded SBT and brownfield tax credits last week. Michigan Economic Development Corp. CEO Don Jakeway called Eastowne “an inspiring example of how communities can use brownfield incentives and clean up problem properties and convert them into productive uses.” 

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