Revitalizing downtown Grand Rapids led by Richard DeVos

Posted at 11:18 PM, Sep 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-06 23:18:30-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Richard DeVos was a titan in the business world who used his wealth to help shape West Michigan into what it is today. The initiatives he helped spur leading to more growth and a thriving downtown in Grand Rapids with a very bright future.

People who are in the process of continuing to revitalize downtown say - without Devos - Grand Rapids would not be the city it is today.

“We’re obviously sad to see his passing, but we’ll carry on his legacy and what he wanted to see for Grand Rapids. He’s certainly a pioneer for what’s going on in downtown Grand Rapids today. When we think about where downtown has come from, we usually start with the Amway Grand Plaza," says the president and CEO of downtown Grand Rapids Incorporated, Tim Kelly.

DeVos's philanthropist spirit inspiring for others.

“He really helped lead this city and this region to the success that we see today; and as a result, we’re really leading the State of Michigan in an economic resurgence. I think the leadership demonstrated by Richard DeVos to choose to invest in downtown Grand Rapids in a time when a lot of other places weren't," says the planning director for the City of Grand Rapids, Suzanne Schulz.

A large portion of the DeVos's charitable donations stayed in West Michigan. Some of that money going to support schools, most notably Grand Valley State University.

“One of the things that makes Grand Rapids is that Devos and other entrepreneurs like him, led the way in business owners to maintain both the residency and commitment to the innovation and the growth that’s happening in this city. I think that’s inspiring to a whole new generation of entrepreneurs here," says Emily Loeks, public affairs for Studio C.

The improvements to the outside of the Amway Grand Hotel, including new glass that will once again revitalize the look of downtown, will begin in January and should be complete in the fall of 2019.