Government and Real Estate

County to issue RFP for riverfront properties

Subcommittee will supervise bid process for downtown parcels.

April 19, 2013
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Kent County will solicit bids soon for prime riverfront properties it owns, but the city of Grand Rapids will not include one of its nearby parcels in the request for proposal.

“The RFP is set to go,” said County Assistant Administrator Mary Swanson at last Thursday’s Executive Committee meeting.

The county owns three adjacent parcels totaling 1.28 acres on the east bank of the Grand River in the 500 block of Monroe Avenue NW, just north of Michigan Street. The county bought the sites for $2.4 million from American Physical Capital of East Lansing in 2004. The county has never built on the parcels. The Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority landscaped the property several years ago.

The RFP also will include a county-owned parking lot across Monroe Avenue from the parcels. The lot has 90 spaces, and the county bought it before it purchased the property. It will be included as an option for a potential buyer but will not be sold separately.

However, the city-owned North Monroe parking lot will not be included in the RFP. The lot is at the corner of Monroe Avenue and Trowbridge Street, has 128 parking spaces, and is two parcels north of the county-owned land. A parking lot owned by Michigan State University is sandwiched between the city’s lot and the county’s property.

City officials considered including the lot in the county RFP but ultimately chose not to.

The county created a subcommittee last week that will oversee the RFP process and then review any bids that are received. Commissioners Harold Voorhees, Roger Morgan, Jim Talen and Shana Shroll will serve on the subcommittee.

County Administrator and Controller Daryl Delabbio, Facilities Director Al Jano, Equalization Bureau Director Matt Woolford and Swanson also were assigned to the subcommittee. Swanson said the subcommittee would meet this week to set a date for the RFP to be released.

The idea for an RFP surfaced last fall when an unidentified individual asked if the county was interested in selling the riverfront sites. Both Swanson and Delabbio have told the Business Journal the county is not fully committed to selling the property.

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