GRAND RAPIDS — The city of Grand Rapids has hired an architecture firm to study the feasibility of relocating city operations from prime riverfront property near downtown that has been eyed for redevelopment for years.
The city selected Rochester, N.Y.-based Bergmann — which has an office in Grand Rapids — to study the city’s possible relocation from 201 Market Ave. SW to Kent County Road Commission property at 1500 Scribner Ave. NW.
The potential relocation is tied to redevelopment plans along the riverfront and for public property at 201 Market, which houses the city’s Office of Special Events and street maintenance office.
The 15-acre site contains a number of infrastructure challenges that have slowed potential redevelopment, including a massive sewer line that would likely need to be moved as part of any project.
In December 2017, the city selected Indianapolis-based Flaherty & Collins Properties’ $268.5 million proposal for further negotiation and due diligence to redevelop the site, as MiBiz previously reported. The proposal included a 358-room hotel and nearly 700 housing units, retail, parking, public green space and access to the Grand River.
Grand Rapids-based Rockford Construction Company Inc. also submitted a $238.8 million proposal for redeveloping the site with a 10,000-seat open air soccer stadium and pedestrian bridge along the Grand River with 200 housing units, parking, office and retail components.
The Kent County Road Commission board approved a one-year option in January for the city of Grand Rapids to purchase its Central Complex location on Scribner Avenue. The city has 12 months to perform due diligence on the property and must close the deal on the 14.2-acre site for a negotiated price of $7.75 million no later than September 2022.
“Through our integrated planning and design experience, we know that relocating and renovating facilities of this size and scope is like solving a complex puzzle — one that our team is passionate about solving,” Bergmann Senior Project Manager Buddy Huyler said in a statement. “In addition to addressing the relocation and design options for the two sites, our goal is to show the full potential of the property and surrounding environment.”
The Road Commission property includes more than 130,000 square feet of building space and was identified as one of 15 “priority riverfront sites” according to GR Forward, a 10-year community master plan and investment strategy for downtown Grand Rapids and the Grand River corridor. The GR Forward plan accounts for a mixed-use site on the property with high loft and office space, while allowing for pedestrian access of the riverfront.
In partnership with Granger Construction Co. and WGI Parking Solutions, Bergmann will hold stakeholder conversations, inspect existing site and building conditions and perform land-use and zoning analyses. The feasibility report and design plan for the relocation from 201 Market to Scribner is expected to be presented to the city of Grand Rapids in the fall.
“We look forward to partnering with Bergmann on this important project,” Grand Rapids City Engineer said Tim Burkman in a statement. “The team at Bergmann is well-positioned to help us determine how this property could accommodate our current and future needs.”