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SETTING THE STAGE | Here's where the Grand Rapids redevelopment plans stand

Last week the City Commission approved the sale of 11.6 acres of land to eventually become a 12,000 seat amphitheater. But that's just part of what's planned.
Credit: City of Grand Rapids
A rendering of what the amphitheater on the Grand River could look like when completed.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Leaders from the Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention and Arena Authority (CAA) hope that by June 30, they will have officially bought 11.6 acres of city-owned land to build an amphitheater along the Grand River.

Grand Rapids residents and visitors alike have shown a great deal of interest in the project. News of the sale moving forward on March 29 garnered more than 1,000 reactions and nearly 200 shares on the 13 ON YOUR SIDE Facebook page. Hundreds of comments, both positive and negative, offered feedback on the venue.

But the amphitheater is only one piece of the city's overall vision for redeveloping land along the river. There are around 20 acres of riverside real estate that did not come up in the March 29 vote as part of the sale of 201 Market to the CAA.

13 ON YOUR SIDE has learned more about the status of the rest of the land, which the city anticipates will become space for housing and parks.

"Of the remaining 20 to 21 acres, approximately eight are owned by private parties who support the project, including contributing to the cost to relocate the sewer. The rest is in City of Grand Rapids ownership," said deputy city manager Kate Berens.

"Some of that property may be retained by the City to support needed infrastructure, parks and open space, and some is anticipated to be sold to a partner or partners to facilitate the overall plan for development. Specific identification of the areas that may be retained and may be sold will be developed as the project continues to take shape."

The amphitheater is what Berens calls "a lynchpin piece," and she says the public and private commitment to the project is expected to "catalyze the remainder of the vision."

Right now, the city and its partners are raising the money needed to pursue the amphitheater project. They do not have specific schedules yet for when construction will begin. However, construction on the amphitheater will likely come before anything else. The whole project is likely to come in phases.

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