Downtown-Style Cascade Marketplace Proposed

July 27, 2007
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DVK Construction and Riebel Development Corp. are teaming up for their first joint project to assemble a multi-use development on nearly 15 acres they hope will provide Cascade Township with a downtown-style destination.

Once used for a non-conforming light industrial assembly plant, the commercially zoned land in the 6300 block of 28th Street SE, west of Thornhills Drive, is slated to become a "lifestyle" development called Cascade Marketplace, said Tim Wright, CFO of Riebel Development. The site already is home to a Culver's restaurant, a Macatawa Bank branch, and a Pizza Hut restaurant slated to be rebuilt within two years, said Bob VanKalker, president of DVK Construction.

"It will have a downtown streetscape feel to it. We've been positioning this as sort of 'the village of Cascade,' sort of a downtown drawing feature," Wright added. "There will be some recreation, restaurant, office and retail. There will be some public spaces, as well, places where people can sit or walk the property and walk among the buildings."

Wright said the team is planning 120,000 square feet of new construction in two stories. Possible tenants include a fitness center, offices and more eateries. He said Riebel Development intends to move its office there. The project is being marketed by Doug Taatjes, partner and associate broker of commercial real estate firm NAI West Michigan.

"We're trying to encourage more upscale use, as far as the materials used in the buildings (and) our landscape materials," VanKalker said. "Certainly, the facility is going to be more of a destination than a strip mall."

He said the development partners changed plans, and securing Cascade Township's approval for the new plans delayed the start of construction to late summer or early fall.

"We've kind of changed some of our thoughts. That's what has taken us a little longer to kick off the project and construction. We're trying to create a center that is more conducive to what's attractive in the recent year or two, by putting much of our parking in back of the buildings and allow the buildings to be closer to 28th Street than we first intended."

Wright said the mixed-use aspect of Cascade Marketplace is attractive to retailers. "We're really intending to get away from the same old strip center," he said. "That was one of the comments that came back to us over the last several years:  Nobody wants to be located in the same old strip center. They want something that's going to draw people to them. That helps the small retailer succeed, because they are not necessarily a destination unto themselves."

Cascade Township Planning Director Steve Peterson said the Planning Commission agreed to add a planned unit development zoning to the commercial zoning already on the site. A PUD designation is intended to give developers more flexibility in exchange for more Planning Commission say in the proposal.

Peterson said that after an initial presentation on the proposed changes, planning commissioners are waiting for the development partners to provide more information along with the market study that they said justifies their new proposals, which include adding construction toward the back of the property.

"The concern we have is how much is going to be too much. Can it fit there?" Peterson said.

Wright said that while the final investment is still vague, he expects it could run as much as $10 million. Concept Design Group is the architect, and Fleis & VandenBrink Engineering Inc. is the civil engineer. Both are local firms. CQ

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