Public sounds off on Grand Landing plan

City Council has set the stage for the final approval for the second phase of the Grand Landing development.
Alex Doty
Mar 25, 2014

Council on Monday night unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance amendment that would allow Grand Landing to be developed with apartments, hotels and other retail.

"This is not our first rodeo," developer Chris Piwowarczyk of Red Star Shores LLC said. "We don't look at injecting $100 million into a project without the strong likelihood of success."

The development comes to City Council after months of tweaks by the city’s Planning Commission and council itself to find a solution for the site that all parties could agree.

The project would be broken into several phases and be market-driven, developers say.

Red Star’s development would include both residential and commercial elements, such as:
• A hotel and restaurants/retail on the site’s east end.
• A maximum of 10 12-unit and two 24-unit apartment buildings.
• Unifying elements to complement the existing development.
• A walkway near the river's edge.

"We build as quickly as we can with regards to leasing,” Piwowarczyk said. “As we build and lease up, we are staying one step ahead. We envision the hotel and restaurants breaking ground this summer as we are breaking ground on phase 1 (of the apartments)."

Mayor Geri McCaleb noted that the project is a far cry from what had been on the site many years ago.

"I remember coming across that bridge for years looking at that old dilapidated Road Commission building," she said. "This was a contaminated piece of property and it needed redevelopment."

McCaleb said the economic downturn in 2008 negatively affected the project that was planned by the original developers, and said that apartments are now the best available solution.

"It's not that easy to sell condos, unless you have a lot of money," she said. "People aren't going to build something you can't easily sell."

City officials also noted that the developer bought the property with the intent of building apartments.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

Comments

Say no to new taxes

Alex, where's the comments from the public that were made at this meeting?

EINSTEIN

I would not want to live in an apartment located next to a busy highway. What a horrible view you would have and you would lay in bed at night and listen to the sound of semi trucks...yipes!

LessThanAmused

I agree Einstein.

I would predict if this mess is allowed to go forth, public opinion be damned....that 10 years from now this area will be known as the Grand Haven ghetto, half the available units empty, with broken windows and other external damage, along with junk cars on blocks and yards full of trash. Basically a junkyard not unlike the one there previously.

You can go to any decent sized city in this country and see this phenomenon already at play. Anyone with any money at all would not chose to live in the middle of a retail district, packed together like sardines in a can, along side a highway with 24/7 noise and visual pollution. Do you think anyone from the planning commission will be living there? Putting a walkway along the polluted channel next to this debacle would be akin to putting lipstick on a pig.

I made some suggestions in a previous article on this topic that included turning the failed condo's into the hotel that would generate revenue and provide some service jobs, along with a pool / Rec center on the main floor of one building and a convention center on the other. While I certainly don't think my solution is a 100%, I've yet to see any other suggestion that is more appealing.

Bottom line is that those with the power will do what they want and the rest of us will have to live with their poor decision making. That has happened time and again also.

If I'm still around 10 years from now, which seems doubtful at this point, I will be back to say I told you so, though small satisfaction it'll be at that point.

Zegota

Remember people, MDOT owns more property along that wonderful highway and has future plans of widening that highway up to the bridge. If you think local government ignores the people, wait till you see what MDOT can do to a highway with green space...hope they enjoy those apartments.

ohwell

Shouldn't the city council see all the empty retail spaces and residential at the existing building first. How about we sell/lease out the space that is empty, before we build more stuff that will probably sit empty. Not sure who would ever want a condo in that location to begin with. No view, and get to listen to the traffic of 31 all hours of the day.

Hard to get tax revenue from empty buildings. A hotel and restaurant might be only viable thing for the spot.

Orvis

OK, Tribune....the title of this article is "Public sounds off..." but you give no indication of the public's perspective. Nice work.

Lifesabeach

There aren't many NICE hotel options in the Grand Haven area. A nice hotel would attract people who would normally stay in Grand Rapids. In addition, building a convention center would create jobs and attract business year round.

A Hotel & Convention Center is a good investment in the community.

Apartments are not.

Don't make this mistake.

happycamper

there you go, i have been throwing that idea around for many months, hotel and convention center, i thing everyone forgot about that option and being snowballed about some silly apartment building

Beach Gal

You are 100% correct. If only the GH City Council would listen...

KingNeptune

I agree the Hotel and Convention Center is a "grand" idea, and it would attract more people who may not normally stay in GH as well as make a nice gateway to the community. However, unlike most people who choose to comment I also see some upsides to the apartments. Assuming they could be filled within a few years, (Id need convincing evidence) there is no reason not to build apartments. They would attract more people to live in the area and bring more money to the local economy.

Willylowman

"two 24-unit apartment buildings?" what kind of clientele will this attract?

Highlander

1. The developer is going to take the $ and run. They don't care about GH's future.
2. The city should cut the cord on this development for now and push development downtown. Invest in a known commodity. GH is a destination, but it's a diamond in the rough They just need to think more clearly. Keep the $ downtown, invest in the center.
3. GH has ample apartments and condos. A convention center? Perhaps.

Zegota

Once in a while a government spends more then they bring in, which of course causes a tax increase on those who usually had no idea of the lack of fiscal responsibility.
You can only stretch the rubber band so darn far and it will either snap back, or break. You see it happening in the Village of Spring Lake, and now you see it happening in Grand Haven, because the City dream is larger then the reality. Yet Council cannot accept the true solution because the City is already too far in debt for this project. Check it out...good luck taxpayers.

Barb Herron

If you look at the condition of the already built Grand Landing Condos.. You will see that they need painting.. so much bare wood showing... some of the metal railings on the balconies are rusting... parking line spaces need painting... If the owners don't take care of the buildings already built... How do they think they will get the go ahead to build more.... Take a close look at the Condos.. They need attention now....

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