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Edison Landing Project Almost Ready
MUSKEGON — Parmenter O'Toole is bringing Edison Landing, a state-designated SmartZone, one step closer to completion after its May groundbreaking.
Though the groundbreaking, originally scheduled for September 2004, was delayed by design changes, partner Chris Kelly said the law firm is happy with the new plans designed by Oppenhuizen Architects of Grand Haven and eager to move ahead with construction.
"We've been looking to build down here for years," he said of the downtown development site.
The firm was formed in 1992 when two Muskegon area firms, Parmenter, Forsythe, Rude, Van Epps, Briggs & Fauri and O'Toole, Johnson, Potter, Rolf & Eklund, merged. Both firms had been in Muskegon since the 1940s.
Kelly said it is partially because of that long-standing history with the downtown area that the firm chose the site, about a mile from the current offices.
"We have a great relationship with the city of Muskegon," he said. "We've been here 50-some years and we don't feel like moving."
Kelly said he thinks Edison Landing, which is being developed by some members of Parmenter O'Toole as Lakefront Development LLC, is helping to bring activity back to downtown. As a SmartZone, the project is bringing the private and education sectors together in downtown Muskegon. The Grand Valley State University Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center was the first Edison Landing project to be completed in 2003.
"I think getting people located downtown is important," Kelly said.
Muskegon Area Chamber of Commerce President Cindy Larsen said the Parmenter O'Toole building is helping to bring more employees to the Edison Landing project. The firm employs 25 attorneys and about 20 support staff members.
It also is helping to encourage an image of prestige, she said.
"The beauty of the Parmenter O'Toole project is that it's literally on the waterfront," she said. "That is the ultimate in prestige for any professional office image."
Kelly said six of the 16 units are under contract but was not willing to disclose the names of the buyers.
"It's kind of a complicated site," he said.
"When we first bought this site, the retail center of the county was downtown Muskegon. All the shopping activity was downtown."
Since the Muskegon Mall has been demolished and the center of shopping shifted, Kelly said, selling the parcels has been more of a challenge.
"It's not really specific to our project; it's just that downtown Muskegon is in a reorganization phase," he said.
Kelly said the new building is part of that reorganization.
"Muskegon's downtown has had some changes lately, and I think companies like National City and our firm recognize it's important to the community and we want to support that," he said, referring to the new main location of National City that is planned to open in the fall.
"I think it's an important time for the city," he said. "In the past five years there's been a lot of changes downtown."
Kelly said he hopes by the end of summer there will be more construction taking place at Edison Landing.
"We just want to close on our contracts and get some more buildings going," he said.