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A rendering of a proposed amphitheater in downtown Grand Rapids. A rendering of a proposed amphitheater in downtown Grand Rapids. COURTESY PHOTO

GR amphitheater property sale delayed 6 months

BY Wednesday, July 06, 2022 05:27pm

The city of Grand Rapids’ sale of nearly 12 acres to the countywide entertainment authority to develop a riverfront amphitheater has been delayed at least six months as additional designs are completed, MiBiz has learned.

The $24.3 million property sale was scheduled to close by June 30 under the original option agreement approved earlier this year between the city, the Grand-Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority (CAA) and Kent County.

Representatives of the city and the CAA amended the agreement last month to extend the closing deadline by six months to Dec. 31, 2022.

CAA Chairperson Richard Winn said the extension was needed to obtain additional architectural designs and an updated scope of the property size at 201 Market Ave. SW.

“We’re waiting for some more detailed drawings so we can have a better idea of how (the amphitheater) fits on site, how many acres it’s going to take, how it will determine the final purchased site, and to get a better idea of costs so we can move forward,” Winn told MiBiz.

The 11.6-acre, city-owned property at 201 Market is eyed for the 12,000-capacity amphitheater, which Winn and others have previously said could serve as a catalyst to additional downtown riverfront development. Detroit-based sports and entertainment architecture firm Rossetti Inc. is partnering with Grand Rapids-based Progressive AE Inc. on the project design.

Last week, the project received a major boost as part of a state budget deal between Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and top GOP lawmakers that earmarks $30 million for the amphitheater, or nearly a quarter of the original $116 million plan.

Despite the property sale extension, Winn remains “optimistic” about the project moving forward, particularly in light of the state budget allocation. 

“It’s a big project, so there are a lot of details to be hammered out,” Winn said. “The big thing is modeling it on the site and getting some additional detailed drawings so we know exactly how to move forward.”

Winn added that the project organizers, which includes Grand Action 2.0, “certainly would entertain” the possibility of seeking additional public funding, such as federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding directed to the city or county.

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