GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Grand Rapids is set to purchase 14.2 acres of waterfront property from the Kent County Road Commission, making way for a downtown amphitheater project.

On Tuesday morning, June 15, the Grand Rapids City Commissioners gave their initial unanimous approval to the signing of an option agreement to purchase the county property at 1500 Scribner Ave. NW for $ 7,450,000.

Commissioners are expected to give their final approval to the execution of the option agreement at their 7 p.m. meeting on Tuesday through a global vote on the agenda.

If given the final approval, city officials say they can’t and don’t want to give up on the purchase of the property.

The city plans to move most or all of its operations to 201 Market Ave. SW to the waterfront property, if she buys it. The 201 Market Ave. currently houses the city’s public works department, parks and recreation department, and special events office.

Under the terms of the agreement, the city is required to assume ownership of the entire property by September 30, 2023. The northern third of the property could be purchased no earlier than January 3, 2022, or later if the Kent County Roads Commission gives notice.

The overall purchase price was reduced by $ 300,000 due to unforeseen costs associated with addressing “environmental conditions” and removing underground storage tanks, according to a note to city administration commissioners.

The city’s 201 Market Avenue site is the primary and interim location for a proposed 14,000-seat downtown amphitheater along the Grand River.

Related: The proposed riverside amphitheater in Grand Rapids, earliest construction date could be 2023

The Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention Arena / Authority (CAA) and Grand Rapids entered into an option agreement in February that allows the authority to purchase a large portion of the property to build the outdoor amphitheater.

Under the option agreement, the authority is able to purchase 11.6 acres of the property at the north end for an estimated $ 24.5 million. This option agreement must be signed before June 30, but the deadline can be extended.

Rick Winn, president of Amway Hotel Corporation and chairman of CAA, previously told MLive / The Grand Rapids Press that a number of unknowns remain on the proposed amphitheater project, including cost and timing.

Grand Action 2.0, a private economic development group, is currently studying the viability of the amphitheater and its primary interim location at 201 Market. Winn said the study will shed light on some of the unknowns.

If 201 Market Avenue is chosen for the amphitheater site, the earliest construction start date could be spring 2023.

This is the date when the Kent County Road Commission will likely be able to move from its Scribner property to its new $ 50 million central complex in Walker. By extension, this is also when Grand Rapids could move into the Road Commission Scribner location.

Work is already underway to make the amphitheater feasible on the Market Avenue site.

A construction project of nearly $ 20 million, funded by a public-private partnership, is currently underway to relocate a main sewer line which, for the moment, is preventing development of the Market Avenue corridor.

The bill is assumed and shared between Grand Rapids, CAA, Amway Hotel Corporation and a family business DeVos.

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