Economic Development, Government, and Real Estate

Grand Rapids issues RFQ for riverfront property downtown

February 2, 2017
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201 Market Ave. SW Grand Rapids
The 15.8-acre property at 201 Market Ave. SW in Grand Rapids runs along the Grand River, just west of Founders Brewing Co. Photo via

Grand Rapids is searching for a developer for a nearly 16-acre riverfront property downtown.

The city, via the commerical real estate brokerage JLL, has issued a request for qualifications, or RFQ, to identify potential development suitors for the mixed-use redevelopment of the city-owned property at 201 Market Ave. SW.

The city hopes to transform the site into a “vibrant” project that puts an emphasis on connectivity to the riverfront.

“This is the most important city-owned redevelopment site on the Grand River,” Mayor Rosalynn Bliss said.  “The city looks forward to working with a qualified development team that allows us to achieve GR Forward goals and other important city priorities.”

201 Market was identified in the city’s GR Forward plan as a site to create a destination and large-scale open space along the riverfront. The city hopes for a project that will leverage the river as a key infrastructure asset, allowing for expanded access and using high-quality urban design principles, which will attract a variety of uses and create a “hub of activity” at the site.

The 15.8-acre site features about 1,500 feet of frontage along the Grand River and 1,300 feet along Market Avenue.

The RFQ is the first stage of a two-stage process. Following the RFQ timeline, selected respondents will be asked to respond to a request for proposals, or RFP, fitting the development profile outlined by the city.

Among the city’s requirements for the site are a minimum of 20 percent of the site be reserved for green space and a 50-foot setback along the river for public access. The chosen developer will be responsible for the demolition of existing structures on the site.

The city’s ideal developer will have demonstrated experience in large-scale, mixed-use projects with a clear understanding of Grand Rapids’ evolving demographics.

The parcel was previously the site of a $2.5-billion “mystery development” proposed by Atlanta-based developer Duane Faust in 2006. That project never materialized.

Responses to the RFQ are due by March 31, with the subsequent RFP process expected to be released in mid 2017. The RFQ document is available at online.

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