The Mill at Vicksburg. The Mill at Vicksburg. COURTESY PHOTOS

9 Projects to watch in West Michigan

BY Sunday, December 06, 2020 05:00pm

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought ups and downs for West Michigan’s construction industry — activity and competition has increased in areas like school bond projects, while the hospitality and office sectors saw major slowdowns.

Across the region, though, several major developments remain on the horizon. They range from marquee developments that have been in works for years to some that were unveiled during — and are being guided by market forces resulting from — the public health crisis.

Here’s a look at major projects planned across West Michigan:

The Mill at Vicksburg

  • Architect: Hopkins Burns Design Studio PLLC
  • Construction manager: Frederick Construction Inc.
  • Cost: $80 million
  • Completion: 2025

A former Southwest Michigan industrial site in Vicksburg is undergoing a massive $80 million redevelopment. The project was the second in the state to receive transformational brownfield incentives to turn the historic Lee Paper Mill into what will include an 84-room hotel, brewery, distillery, beer garden and restaurant. 

The goal is to create a regional destination focused on beer, events and live music, said Jackie Koney, director of operations for Paper City Development LLC

The project was initially planned to open in phases starting in 2022, but developers are now holding off until all aspects of the development are completed for an anticipated 2025 grand opening, Koney said. Construction started in June 2019, of which portions were delayed by the pandemic this summer. 

Paper City Development was founded by Vicksburg native Chris Moore, who now lives in Seattle where he opened Old Stove Brewery five years ago and also owns software firm Concord Technologies. Moore will open a second location of Old Stove Brewery, as well as a brewery museum, as part of the development. 

“We want it to be a brewery destination,” Koney said. 

Despite some delays this year, construction is progressing. Six buildings that were not historic were removed from the property, exterior masonry has been completed, and work is now starting on interior renovations.

“Between removing the exterior buildings and cleaning up the brick, it looks stunning,” Koney said. “Instead of white and gray paint, you’re seeing new paint and steel. It’s to the point where people can’t see what it looked like before.”

Towers on River

201206river courtesyintegratedarch

  • Construction manager: Midwest Construction Group Inc.
  • Architect: Integrated Architecture LLC, Holland Engineering
  • Cost: $20 million
  • Completion: 2022

A five-story, mixed-use building with luxury condominiums is planned for 159 South River Ave. in Holland. Four medical suites will take up the second floor of the building, which will have parking on site for patients and tenants. The project is also expected to include retail space on the main floor of the facility.

Condo units will range from 1,000 to 2,500 square feet and will include one- to three-bedroom units at market rates. The facility will include a fitness center and a community terrace bordered by a green roof system. 

“It’s a very unique project, it’s luxury living in downtown Holland, which I think is a very attractive area,” said Mike Corby, executive vice president at Integrated Architecture LLC. “There aren’t many walkable downtowns that compare to Holland in the state of Michigan. It’s a nice example of a mixed-use project with condominiums, retail and medical.”

The building’s modern design includes nine individual but connected towers, which will allow for scenic views and natural light in all of the units, Corby said. 

The existing building on the site is expected to be demolished in the next several weeks, and site work is could begin in mid to late December. Construction is expected to be completed sometime in 2022. 

“We’re looking forward to bringing some stylish architecture into town. We see that there’s a need for high-end residential property in downtown Holland,” said project developer Dennis Jacobs. “The development that’s been done by GDK and others to extend Eighth Street and at the Civic Center creates a need for this project.”

Muskegon apartment tower

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  • Construction Manager: Ferguson Development LLC and Brianna Scott
  • Architect: Integrated Architecture LLC
  • Cost: $10 million
  • Completion: 2021-2022

A 10-story market rate residential development is planned for a former bank building at downtown property owned by the city of Muskegon. Upwards of $10 million will be invested in the redevelopment at the corner of First Street and Clay Avenue.

Plans include 50-60 apartment units in the first phase, which is expected to be completed in 2021. An additional 12-16 units are planned for phase two, which is expected to be finished in 2022. 

“This serves one of our biggest economic development initiatives, which is increasing residential development in downtown,” said Jake Eckholm, Muskegon’s economic development director.

Eckholm also noted the project’s African American-owned construction team led by Michigan State University Trustees Joel Ferguson and Brianna Scott.

“It’s a large-scale development, so it’s great we can bring some diversity to the project,” Eckholm said. 

Ferguson Development LLC spent nearly $300,000 investigating the site to determine if it could retain the existing frame of the structure, Eckholm said. The developers learned they could keep the steel frame, which will result in some efficiency on the project, he said. 

The original intent was to use the first floor as commercial space, which changed when the pandemic hit, Eckholm said. Instead, “robust tenant amenities” are planned for the first floor, which include a large packaging room, meeting spaces, a game room, and leasable offices to accommodate people working from home, Eckholm said. 

“With the advent of COVID-19 wreaking havoc on the commercial real estate market, it is harder for those ventures to get funded,” Eckholm said. “If the market recovers in the future, we can still convert some of that space for commercial use.”

Kalamazoo Creamery 

201206Kalamazoo Creamery

  • Architect: Byce & Associates Inc.
  • Construction manager: Hollander Development Corp.
  • Cost: $14.7 million
  • Completion: January 2021

The former site of Klover Gold Creamery is transforming into a mixed-use development in Kalamazoo’s Edison neighborhood. The three-story building will have 48 residential units, including 38 dedicated to tenants who make 30 percent or below Kalamazoo County’s area median income. 

The facility will include a YWCA daycare with a natural outdoor play area, a co-working space, Hollander Development Corp. offices, retail space, outdoor patios, a rooftop terrace, exercise room and group gathering room. The project is planned to be LEED Platinum-certified with solar panels on the roof.

Construction is wrapping up on the $14.7 million project, and the apartments should be completed by the end of January 2021, said Michael Flynn, vice president of Byce & Associates Inc. 

“This was really a group effort with the neighborhood association to come up with an organic design for the community,” Flynn said. 

Perrigo headquarters


  • Construction manager: Rockford Construction Co.
  • Architect: TBD
  • Cost: $44.8 million
  • Completion: TBD

Perrigo Co. plc is relocating its North American corporate headquarters to downtown Grand Rapids as part of the Michigan State University Grand Rapids Innovation Park under development at 430 Monroe Ave. NW.

The company plans to invest nearly $44.8 million in what will be a 63,550-square-foot facility, which is expected to create 170 new jobs on Medical Mile. The company received a $2 million grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund for the project on Oct. 27.

“It’s about as significant as it gets in my business,” The Right Place Inc. CEO Birgit Klohs previously told MiBiz of landing a downtown headquarters. “It is an unbelievable success. Having a global company downtown is huge. It can’t be overestimated how important it is.”

The new office will primarily house corporate and functional leadership as well as some administrative roles. The facility will include an adaptable, collaborative workspace.

McCamly Plaza Hotel

mccamly hotel2

  • Construction manager: TBD
  • Architect: TBD
  • Cost: $15 million to $20 million
  • Completion: 2022

The McCamly Plaza Hotel is getting a facelift and rebranding after being closed since November 2019. After acquiring the property from its previous owner on Nov. 3, Battle Creek Unlimited is planning a complete renovation of the 15-story, 239-room hotel in downtown Battle Creek, located at 50 Capital Ave. SW.

The economic development organization has retained Suburban Inns to assist with rebranding and renovations, and plans to reopen the hotel in 2022. The project is expected to help attract international business travel to the area. The hotel includes event space for conferences and conventions and is connected to Kellogg Arena.

Battle Creek Unlimited President and CEO Joe Sobieralski said he is “confident this property can be transformed into a showpiece that’s a regional draw for Battle Creek.” 

The project is still in the planning and design phase, with construction expected to begin in the spring of 2021, Sobieralski said. 

“I’m extremely excited about this project. It’s a pivotal piece in the revitalization of downtown, even though it’s a little bit outside our wheelhouse, but that makes it an even more exciting project.”

Lakeshore Convention Center

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  • Construction manager: Clark Construction Co. Inc.
  • Architect: Progressive AE Inc.
  • Cost: $19.5 million
  • Completion: 2021

After a temporary delay this spring because of the pandemic, construction is wrapping up on the Lakeshore Convention Center in downtown Muskegon, which will serve as a conference and event venue set to be completed early next year. 

The new 45,000-square-foot venue at 470 W. Western Ave. is attached to the Delta Hotels by Marriott Muskegon as well as Mercy Health Arena.

The new convention center is designed to accommodate groups of up to 1,000 people in its 20,000 square feet of meeting space.

Peerless Flats

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  • Construction manager: River Caddis Development LLC and AVB Inc.
  • Architect: Progressive AE Inc.
  • Cost: TBD
  • Completion: Summer 2022

A 133-unit condominium and apartment project will soon become downtown Grand Haven’s largest residential development. The project, at 125 Elliot Ave., is on the former Stanco property, a 4.66-acre site near Grand Haven’s waterfront.

The project developer is Kevin McGraw, president of East Lansing-based River Caddis Development LLC, and construction is planned in a single phase.

The project includes 124 market-rate apartments ranging in size from efficiency to two-bedroom units. Nine condominium units are also planned along Second Street. The Grand Haven City Council reportedly gave unanimous support for the project last month.

Haymarket Plaza

201206haymarket 700px

  • Construction manager: Treystar Inc.
  • Architect: TowerPinkster, Kingscott Associates Inc.
  • Completion: June 2021

The public alley between four downtown Kalamazoo buildings — 229-251 E. Michigan Ave. and the recently completed $100 million Catalyst building at 180 E. Water St. — is being redeveloped into a shared community space called Haymarket Plaza. The project will feature a snowmelt system, lighting, outdoor furniture, an open area for entertainment and food trucks, as well as a three-dimensional art display that will project local art from the community.

Project funding managed by the Monroe-Brown Foundation came from a variety of sources, including the city of Kalamazoo, the Michigan Economic Development Corp., and a Patronicity crowdfunding campaign that raised nearly $54,000. Millions of dollars were invested to install the snowmelt system, and the art display will cost about $220,000, said Fritz Brown, a partner at Treystar.

“There is nothing like it anywhere in any city our size,” Brown said. “This 3-D projection mapping is really cool and brings a big city feel to it, and is a huge picture that will be projected on the side of the Haymarket building.”

Projectors for the development will arrive later this month, but will not be used until June 2021 when the outdoor furniture is also installed, Brown said. 

Project developers originally planned to open the plaza this month, but the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed the project’s urgency.

“We’re excited about it and can’t wait to show everybody,” Brown said. 

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