Proposed Amphitheatre in Grand Rapids Continues on Track

On Tuesday, city commissioners in Grand Rapids reiterated their approval of a $116 million amphitheatre project proposed for the city’s south side.

The purpose of the organisation that will eventually own the arena, the Kent County-Grand Rapids Convention and Arena Authority, was approved by the commissioners in a resolution. It’s an outline of the long-term plan for the area south of downtown along the river.

Vision and Purpose

Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalyn Bliss characterised it as a strategy to ensure that the Convention and Arena Authority’s vision and purpose reflect the city’s long-term goals and objectives.

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Redevelopment plans for the riverside along Market Street SW at the S-curve have been discussed since 2007.

After developer Duane Faust failed to deliver on a proposition that many considered unrealistic, the concept lay dormant for a while. F

or the 18-acre riverside property, which is currently home to public works and other municipal agencies, the concept was revived in 2017 with additional safeguards to keep unrealistic ideas out of the mix.

In about the same area where mounds of salt are kept at the public works yard, a 12,000-seat amphitheatre costing $116 million would be built.

Sewage Pipe Through the Land

Bliss said, “So it will be right up next to the freeway, in the initial portion of 201 Market.”
A major sewage pipe through the land has been one of the most inconvenient obstacles to the project’s progress.

We expect to have the sewage pipe relocated before the year’s end. Now that it’s been removed, the amphitheatre plan may go ahead.

The sale of over 11 city-owned acres to the Kent County-Grand Rapids Convention and Arena Authority is scheduled to close early in the new year. After that time, municipal functions such as public works will relocate.

Plans are in the works to relocate the public works yard to the Scribner Avenue and Turner Avenue NW location formerly occupied by the county road commission.

Once the CAA has taken ownership, the design will be completed. Bliss, a member of the Convention/Arena Authority, has stated that once the design has been approved, development and contractor bids will be issued.”

Departure From Each Section

As the city begins to relocate away from the site, we will have the opportunity to carefully plan our departure from each individual section.”

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However, I anticipate substantial progress by the end of 2023 or the beginning of 2024.
Seven more acres beyond that will also be built on.

Bliss said that the company will collaborate with others to bring a “mixed-use, housing development” to the area.

The restoration of the Grand River rapids and the construction of a soccer stadium in the region bordered by US-131 and Pearl Street NW are also part of the plan for revitalization, which includes the amphitheatre as one component.

The project for a soccer stadium has been spearheaded by Grand Action.

According to Bliss, “a lot of due diligence is still being done” on the site’s location, size, and franchise.

Bliss, who was a 2nd Ward city commissioner in 2007 when the idea was first brought up, sees a glimmer of hope in the latest plans to rebuild 201 Market.

Bliss said, “We need to move out of the building so that private development can take place and our city can grow.”

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