MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. - In early June, Pure Muskegon released initial design plans for the former Sappi paper mill property on Muskegon Lake.
Developers hope to build a unique walkable community with canals, homes, restaurants, marina and a hotel.
The $400 million project on 120 acres could take 10 to 15 years to build.
For inspiration, Pure Muskegon investors need look no further than Whitehall, where a former tannery site is now quickly becoming a lakefront community.
But the development didn't happen overnight. The last section of the Whitehall Leather Company was blasted to the ground in 2007. Since then Eastbrook Homes has been working to build Tannery Bay.
The community includes townhomes, beach homes on White Lake and ranch style condos.
"We have 25 that are sold," said Bob Sorensen, Vice President of Marketing and Sales for Eastbrook Homes.
Cleaning the brownfield site on White Lake came with significant challenges. And progress at the site stalled for several years.
Now Tannery Bay's first residents have moved in, and other homes are being built. The big commitment is paying off. "And that story is probably the story that's most amazing in this whole wonderful place," said Sorensen.
Future development at Tannery Bay may include a marina and waterfront restaurant.
With 30 acres, Tannery Bay is small compared to the property Pure Muskegon hopes to build on in Muskegon.
"Hopefully we are an inspiration," said Sorensen.
And as the Windward Pointe project is just beginning for Pure Muskegon, staff at Eastbrook Homes would offer this advice to fellow developers.
"Stay the course and be patient," said Sorensen. "It's well worth the effort."
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