The Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) program aims to widen the net for attracting new developers and identify properties ripe for redevelopment.
The city has been working toward this designation for more than two years, City Manager Pat McGinnis said. The city demonstrated to the state agency that its Master Plan and Zoning Ordinance were up to date, and city staff is ready to respond to new developers, he said.
“It affirms that the city has practices and regulations and policies and routines in place that make it relatively easy to make private investment in the city of Grand Haven,” McGinnis said.
Several properties have been identified for redevelopment opportunities, such as the former FirstMerit Bank site at the corner of Columbus Avenue and Beacon Boulevard, the former Grand Haven Jewelry store downtown, the Stanco site, and the former Wendy’s restaurant.
The Redevelopment Ready program will help boost the profile of these properties to in-state and out-of-state developers, Mayor Geri McCaleb said.
“This opens doors for us to land projects that we otherwise wouldn’t land,” she said.
The city could benefit from high-density developments, McGinnis said, and is exploring options for affordable housing. New hotels are also welcome, he said.
Grand Haven will be eligible for state assistance to help improve programs and provide new incentives for developers. The city will also continue to explore changes to its regulatory structure and Zoning Ordinance, McGinnis added.
Grand Haven joins 24 certified communities in Michigan. The program will be “hand-in-glove” with the city’s goals of improving its downtown through the MEDC Michigan Main Street Program, McGinnis said.