- people on the move
Fenske Property Now Millennium Commerce Park
WALKER — The former Fenske property along the bend of the Grand River off Wilson Avenue has been named Millennium Commerce Park and is for sale, mostly zoned for a mix of light industrial and heavy industrial use.
New Era Land LLC of Wyoming has been trying for several years to develop the 195-acre property, located about a mile west of Millennium Park, but has had to change its original plans and seek changes to the zoning.
Dan Hibma, one of the three partners of New Era Land LLC, said there are 13 parcels in Millennium Commerce Park; two are already spoken for. The remaining 11 parcels range from 2.3 to 46 acres, averaging about 15 acres. The Wilson Avenue entrance to the property is less than a quarter of a mile from the M-11/Grandville exit on I-196.
Hibma said the new commerce park is "unique" because "there's not a lot of (land zoned heavy industrial) available in the metropolitan area, in large parcels, by an expressway."
Jack L. Rogers of Field & Stream Realty, which is handling sales of the property, said the average asking price is about $50,000 per acre.
A short southbound lane will be added to Wilson Avenue on the approach to the entrance to the property, and New Era Land LLC will start construction this spring of a road through the middle of the commerce park. Access to each parcel will be off the planned road. The road will dead end in the property, but Rogers said Walker officials have indicated they would like to see the road extended in the future, if the land north of the commerce park is developed. The road would be looped back to Wilson Avenue.
One parcel of 46 acres runs along the Grand River for a distance of 3,555 feet, according to a site plan. Because much of that parcel is state-designated wetland, much of it is unbuildable.
In 2002, about a year after New Era Land acquired the property, the company asked the city of Walker to rezone the land for some residential use and unveiled plans for an 848-unit apartment complex, but it is in a very rural area and local residents and city officials opposed that idea.
Some of the former Fenske property on the West Side was still zoned agricultural, but a few years ago, Walker revised its master plan for land use, which allowed for a mix of heavy and light industrial use. Rezoning was completed last summer.
Walker City Planner Frank Wash said noted that the lack of city water and sewers on the property will probably discourage development as an industrial park or office park. Businesses that "most likely would want to go there would be outdoor heavy industrial, things like concrete crushers, a concrete plant, recycling facilities …"
A number of landfills were operated over the years on the Fenske property, and the site "definitely has a history of environmental contamination problems," said Wash. In 2002 Walker city officials approved the former landfill area as a brownfield redevelopment site, which means some of the property taxes on it may, with city permission, be used to cover the cost of cleaning up the land so it can be used again.
Wash, who is a member of the Wyoming Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, said no application has been received yet for tax-increment financing on development of land in Millennium Commerce Park.