Students from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture studied Muskegon this past semester and proposed their ideas for a downtown building to some city leaders.

The third- and fourth-year students were part of a studio capstone class in which they were charged with designing a mixed-use building on the temporary chalet site of the Western Market property for sale on the south side of W. Western Avenue between Second and First streets.

Many of the students — some from Poland, Canada and Detroit — had never been to Muskegon before the class visited in September.

They designed the buildings to envision an improvement of their agreed upon lack of density in Muskegon's downtown. Many of the students believed Muskegon's biggest asset is the lakeshore, and they made an effort to showcase that in the building designs.

Nathan Khalsa, a third-year student from metro Detroit, said he had never been to Muskegon before the class. He said he remembers being surprised at the downtown, thinking there was a lot of “blank, empty space,” but he thought the lakeshore “totally contrasted” with the urban area.

“That was really beautiful,” he said. “That alone kind of speaks for itself — the nature of Muskegon. That alone would be a reason to go to Muskegon.”

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