Holland Ballpark On Deck

September 3, 2007
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HOLLAND TOWNSHIP — Third Coast Development LLC is seeking approval from the Holland Charter Township Planning Commission today to move forward on a $10 million professional or semiprofessional baseball stadium near downtown Holland. If the special use request is granted, construction on the first phase of the 45-acre Hart & Cooley property for the $50 million to $70 million Federal Square mixed-use development could begin in early 2008.

The Grand Rapids-based development firm has built a new corporate headquarters for Hart & Cooley in Cascade Township, and now owns the 85-year-old structure at 500 E. Eighth St. It is leasing the property to the manufacturer of HVAC products until it relocates at the end of the year.

Third Coast Development has plans to redevelop the property into a mixed-use development anchored by a 4,200-seat baseball park for SunCoast Baseball, a Holland firm that intends to launch an independent minor league baseball franchise, likely as a member of the Frontier League, which has franchises in Kalamazoo and Traverse City.

Third Coast Development Principal Brad Rosely said the firm did not expect much opposition to the PUD request, which will allow the baseball park and associated parking in an I-2 industrial zone.

“We’ve talked with neighbors and it’s been very positive,” he said. “We’re going to have a green parking lot, maybe with a berm so they really can’t see the parking lot that well. … For years and years, all they’ve heard from the site has been huge presses stamping all day long, and this will not be that.”

The Planning Commission could act on the request after today’s public hearing. The PUD only includes the stadium, team offices and parking, roughly a five-acre segment of the property.

Rosely said plans for the remaining 40 acres of the development will be completed within the next 30 to 60 days. These will be part of a larger PUD request that will absorb the more timely baseball park proposal. It will include a residential portion, likely with a number of large live-work units for high-income professionals.

Earlier this summer, Third Coast received approval from the township for Renaissance Zone status on the property. The application was forwarded to the state and introduced to the legislature by Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Holland. If approved, the 12-year Renaissance Zone will be the first of the nearly tax-free zones in Ottawa County. There are currently two agricultural Ren Zones in Ottawa County, but none of the traditional redevelopment zones.

“We’ve never had a developer request one before,” said Township Assistant Supervisor Don Komejan. “I think we’ve reached a stage from an economic standpoint where there are areas in the township that could be candidates for Renaissance Zones. But the developers have to work out a project that will qualify for it — these aren’t automatic dollars.”

Randy Thelen, president of Lakeshore Advantage, agreed.

“The market has never required it. When the Renaissance Zones popped up a dozen years ago, the market was as hot as it’s ever been here. … We, by and large, haven’t had sites like this that were particularly hard to redevelop.”

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