When the mystery developer was revealed as Atlanta businessman Duane Faust, who is the founder of ESNA Corp., a mortgage and real estate firm with offices in Atlanta and Los Angeles, the landowners — who had never met Faust — were noticeably surprised. Some even withdrew their support. Eric Wynsma of Terra Firma Development put his mystery development properties on
The Convention and Arena Authority and Broadway Theatre Guild warmly supported the RiverGrand proposal for a 2,500-seat concert venue. Laurie Volk, the consultant who in 2004 wrote a regional housing market analysis for the Grand Valley Metro Council along with a separate study for the Downtown Development Authority, did not believe the RiverGrand proposal for 1,500 condominiums was grounded in reality.
Another mystery was the prominent decline in interest among the nation's 11 presidential museums, especially the
But have faith in the region: Local investment banking firm Hartwick Capital, legal counsel Warner Norcross & Judd and communications firm Lambert Edwards and Associates all played a role in a $300 million marriage between Wall Street and the Bible Belt, creating the $28 billion church finance industry's first loan syndication.
Filling a noticeable gap in the city's music scene, The Mackinaw Harvest Group opened a downtown music studio at
City officials welcomed a report from the 19-member citizen budget advisory panel, but dismissed some of its primary suggestions, including the elimination of the economic development team.
Farmington Hills-based KG Development proposed a 14-screen movie theater to be built on the site of the Area 4 parking lot downtown. The same developer is also attempting to acquire the Area 5 parking lot. Coupled with the
As the acquisition of Knape & Vogt Manufacturing Co. by
The former Lear manufacturing facility on Alpine Avenue in
In other news, toolmaker Synergis Technologies Group formed a strategic alliance with three of
Muskegon-area insurance firm Fremont Michigan InsuraCorp Inc. enjoyed a three-year run as a publicly traded company in which its stock tripled in price. It was one of only eight
While the perception of the state's economy remained sour, there was no shortage of exciting development news coming out of
The Steelcase plant appeared to have a buyer in Ashley Capital. The Lear plant had its first tenant. With the Tall House Enterprises condominium and retail project on the drawing board for
There was the possibility of a 1 million-square-foot Wal-Mart distribution center in Dorr.
In philanthropic news, the DeVos family donated $50 million toward the new $190 million Helen DeVos Children's Hospital. The Frey Foundation was funding a $500,000 conference center for Pine Rest Mental Health Services.
And at long last, a deal was reached between Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Republican leadership to allow the Interurban Transit Authority to apply for $14.4 million in federal funds for the second phase of its Great Transit, Grand Tomorrows transportation study. The move gave the transit authority the chance to compete for the New Starts federal grants that Congress authorized for The Rapid transit system — funds specifically designated for the preliminary engineering of a fixed gateway corridor project.
The U.S. Supreme Court threw out a lawsuit challenging the legality of tax incentive programs in
If all these spring flowers weren't enough, the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association announced the Resource Reclamation Project, a program that will put inmates at correctional facilities in
Piggybacking on the Public Works Island performance hall proposal, the Convention and Arena Authority began conversations with
When the smoke cleared in the first phase of the city's marketing of the
The Barnes-Stevens proposal called for an eight-mile "riverwalk" and a town-square-style pedestrian plaza. The Moch proposal featured the pairing of a performing and visual arts center with an urban market. As for RiverGrand, the proposal to the city wasn't nearly as explicit as the two-year-old version leaked months earlier, projecting only a combination of housing (25 percent), office space (25 percent), retail and entertainment (35 percent) and general development (15 percent).
After much debate, a formal request-for-proposals was finally released last month. In June, G.R. Development announced a list of respected local contractors and consultants it had enlisted as strategic partners in RiverGrand, but much of its land assemblage is no longer under option. After captivating
Also fading away was the Single Business Tax, as legislators this summer voted to bury the levy for good on
A study by the
MVP Sportsplex submitted plans in
The contract furniture industry celebrated its annual trade show, NeoCon, with most manufacturers trying to distance themselves from cubicle-type designs. The best example came from Herman Miller Inc., which won the Best of Competition Award for its My Studio Environments office system.
Local textile design shop Studio Z had a big month between NeoCon and Convergence, the textile industry trade show held this year at
The X-Rite-Amazys merger hit a snag with an unexpected disclosure from X-Rite CEO Michael Ferrara concerning the bankruptcy of a company he led for 11 years. The merger proceeded without incident, but