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Mixed-use project will repurpose vacant downtown Muskegon bank building

A historic bank building in downtown Muskegon will be redeveloped into a mixed-use space after being vacant for four years.  Core Development Group plans to repurpose the six-story tower at 221 W. Webster Ave. into offices, commercial space and apartments.

“It’s preserving an old building. If it sat here forever, who knows what it would have turned into,” said Troy Wasserman, a Core Development Group partner.

National Lumberman’s Bank of Muskegon, once the city’s oldest bank, constructed the $2 million building in 1962 and opened it with fanfare giving away a car, radio and television.  News reports at the time described the bank as occupying a “vital and symbolic corner” in downtown Muskegon.

The National Lumberman’s Bank tower was home to state’s first rooftop heliport, promising five-minute helicopter rides from Muskegon County airport to downtown Muskegon.  On June 22, 1965, Michigan Lt. Gov. William Milliken arrived to Muskegon by helicopter to dedicate the new landing pad.

For five decades, banks and other tenants occupied the building before Core Development Group became the new owners this summer.  “It just popped up and it was something that sparked our interest,” Wasserman said.

Initial renovations have already started on the second floor where Core Realty Partners expects to move its residential and commercial real estate offices to this fall.  Other plans for the building include leasing the first floor, currently designed as a bank lobby with large windows facing West Webster Avenue, for restaurant or retail space.  Core Development Group also wants to renovate the remaining four floors into 16 to 22 market-rate apartments.

Wasserman said the development group is currently working with architects on the designs but expects construction on the apartments to start “sooner rather than later.”

There are also plans to turn the now defunct helipad into a roof deck with views of Muskegon Lake and downtown Muskegon for future residents.

“You can see Lake Michigan from up on the roof, so it’s pretty spectacular up there,” Wasserman said.

Some relics of the bank will be preserved, including old photographs of construction, newspaper clippings and a large basement vault filled with hundreds of locked safety deposit boxes.  A drive-thru bank building on the property could also find new life as a small bar or restaurant, Wasserman said.


Posted By: mlive on September 6, 2021.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

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