Plans for an outdoor amphitheater in downtown Grand Rapids. Plans for an outdoor amphitheater in downtown Grand Rapids. COURTESY PHOTO

Convention/Arena Authority approves amphitheater agreement with Grand Action 2.0

BY Friday, August 05, 2022 10:03am

GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority has unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding with Grand Action 2.0 for the construction of an amphitheater in downtown Grand Rapids. 

“This is a very important step in the amphitheater project,” Convention/Arena Authority Legal Counsel Richard Wendt said during the board of directors meeting. 

The MOU reinforces the ongoing public-private partnership for the 12,000-capacity amphitheater project between the Convention/Arena Authority and Grand Action 2.0. The deal is similar to agreements associated with Van Andel Arena, DeVos Place Convention Center and the Downtown Market.

“This just formalizes (Grand Action 2.0’s) relationship with the CAA and it’s pretty standard and custom in any of these projects and just outlines how we’re going to work with them,” Grand Action 2.0 Executive Director Kara Wood told MiBiz. “It just formalizes the agreement between the two entities.”

Grand Action’s role involves issuing a request for proposals and selecting a construction manager to build the amphitheater. A design and construction committee made up of members from both the Convention/Arena Authority and Grand Action intends to support the architect, engineers and construction firm for the $116 million project, Wood added.

Officials expect the amphitheater to draw interest from developers to build out a broader 31-acre riverfront concept that includes mixed-use development, new riverfront trails and mixed-income housing ranging from 1,200 to 1,700 units.

The amphitheater would be constructed on an 11.6-acre, city-owned property at 201 Market Ave. SW along the Grand River near downtown. The anticipated $24.3 million sale of the parcel was recently delayed six months as additional designs are being completed, as MiBiz previously reported

“The next step is really finalizing the land purchase,” Wood said. “Everything is on track in terms of timing, and this is the next logical step in the process.”

In other business, the Convention/Arena Authority Board on Friday also approved a term sheet and use agreement with SSJ Group LLC, which owns Grand Rapids Gold. The NBA G-League affiliate of the Denver Nuggets moving to Van Andel Arena is “a positive thing” for the arena and the team, said Rich MacKeigan, regional general manager for ASM Global. 

The basketball team will play its 24 home games at Van Andel Arena next year. The move was announced shortly after owners of the DeltaPlex Arena & Conference Center shared plans to close the venue this summer.

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