GR’s 201 Market development again a no-go

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids’ on-again, off-again attempt to develop a city-owned 15-acre site along the Grand River is off again.

MiBiz first reported that the deal between the city and an Indianapolis-based developer to redevelop 201 Market Ave. is a bust. City officials confirmed to News 8 that the cost of cleanup and infrastructure improvements needed made it too expensive for the developer, Flaherty & Collins Properties, to move forward.

The riverfront property is currently now home to the streets and sanitation departments and a host of other city services. Flaherty & Collins submitted a plan in 2017 to transform it into a development featuring a hotel, residential, retail and public greenspace.

Three other proposals to redevelop the site, also submitted in 2017, are now back on the table.

Believing an empty 201 Market may be an easier sell, the city is also moving forward with an option to buy the current home of the Kent County Road Commission on Scribner Avenue NW.

City officials believe that site, also along the Grand River but on the other side and farther north, would not only be a suitable home for city services, but could also be part of the GR Forward riverfront development plans.

The end to Flaherty & Collins’ plans is just the latest setback in efforts to revitalize 201 Market, which began in 2006 with an offer dubbed the Mystery Project. It was so named mainly because no one at City Hall was discussing details like the viability of the plan and taxpayer risk if the property sale was approved. As time went on, Atlanta developer Duane Faust’s grandiose project that seemed too good to be true turned out to be just that. It fell apart.

Since that time, city officials have pledged more transparency in future ventures related to the site.