GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — Two plans that would transform Grand Haven’s waterfront moved forward this week.
If ultimately passed, they would be one of the city’s largest redevelopment projects in more than a decade.
“I think we’re looking to get that next level of investment, that mentality, and the energy, that’s in particular going to appeal to a younger demographic that we want to attract to our town,” said Pat McGinnis, city manager. “There’s been sort of a lull, hasn’t been a lot of new buildings, and now we’ve got a lot of interest.”
On Monday, city council members approved the “Beyond the Pier” waterfront master plan and issued requests for proposals for its development.
The hope is an investor could turn Chinook Pier into a new, year-round space that includes shopping and dining options with a multi-use market along the river. Applications will be accepted through the end of the summer before further action is taken.
“It’ll include all the elements that you love,” said McGinnis. "Very low-cost family entertainment, farmers market, some retail, some restaurant flavor, but just something a little different that’ll pop and please people in a different way than what used to be there.”
Officials also proceeded with preparation of a buy-sell agreement after selecting a proposal that would refurbish the Diesel Plant into a restaurant and office space with an attached 300-person event center. Both parties will continue due diligence, with the hope it’s in the hands of CL/Lakewood, the investor, by November. Construction could wrap up in 2023.
“We think it’s really going to be something that is recognized across Michigan as a true landmark and a cool place to go,” said McGinnis.
According to McGinnis, more than two million people walk by both properties each year. He added both projects will require further conversations related to how they would impact parking, traffic, and density issues.