Economic Development, Government, and Real Estate

Grand Rapids picks proposal for riverfront property downtown

October 19, 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 201market.com

Grand Rapids is moving forward with a redevelopment proposal for a roughly 16-acre property downtown.

An evaluation committee has elected to begin an initial due diligence phase with a proposal from Indianapolis-based Flaherty & Collins Properties to redevelop the city-owned property at 201 Market Ave. SW.

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 committee will eventually deliver a complete recommendation to the city commission. 

Proposal selection process

The evaluation committee is comprised of representatives from the City of Grand Rapids, Downtown Development Authority, Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc., Hispanic Center of Western Michigan and the commercial real estate brokerage JLL.

The city, via JLL, issued a request for qualifications, or RFQ, to identify potential developers for a proposed mixed-use redevelopment of the property in January.

In April, the city received five responses, and three firms were later chosen to receive a request for proposal, or RFP, for the property: Flaherty & Collins Properties, Southfield-based REDICO and Grand Rapids-Based Rockford Construction. Respondents were asked to do the following in their proposals:

  • Outline their development proposal for the site and provide specific plans for mixed-income residential, public riverfront and green spaces, retail programming and other key project components
  • Detail the approach to working with community partners and advancing diversity, inclusion and equity considerations for the project
  • Outline the development budget and financial information
  • Review and incorporate elements of several critical planning documents in formulating the development vision for the site. Those plans include GR Forward, the Grand River Restoration Plan, Green Grand Rapids and the Grand Rapids Parks Master Plan.

Other options

Though the committee chose to move forward with the Flaherty & Collins Properties response, RFPs from Rockford Construction and REDICO will still be considered active through the due diligence phase.

The committee may choose to recommend due diligence with the Rockford Construction or REDICO proposals should the Flaherty & Collins Properties proposal be found unfeasible.

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