Redevelopment of key property bridging Midtown and downtown sought by Muskegon officials
A building at a key location near Muskegon’s downtown could revert to its historic look through mixed-use redevelopment being sought by city officials.
The city-owned building on Third Street had housed offices of Catholic Charities West Michigan, which recently moved to new facilities in the city. The property includes vacant lots on which the city suggests housing could be built.
“It is the city’s expectation that the site be repurposed and developed into a destination commercial/residential location immediately adjacent to the main downtown corridor,” a request for redevelopment proposals states.
The property takes up the block of Third Street between Muskegon and Houston avenues, about half of which is occupied by the 30,000 square foot building at 1095 Third St. That building has a dated stucco interior that likely will be removed, exposing much larger windows than currently are there, Muskegon Development Services Director Jake Eckholm told MLive.
The site bridges downtown and the Midtown business district along Third Street, and is a key piece in the city’s attempts to build a “walkable” downtown by connecting various commercial areas, including those on Pine Street, Eckholm said.
The city is looking for a development that will “invite” people to check out what Midtown has to offer, he said. The request for proposals says “outdoor seating areas and shared greenspace are highly encouraged.”
The “ideal” proposal would mix housing with at least one commercial development fronting Third Street, according to the request for proposals that city commissioners are expected to approve Tuesday, Aug. 10. The city is seeking proposals for redevelopment and management of the property.
“One of the reasons I’m excited about it is because it’s the most open-minded request for proposals that we’ve put out,” Eckholm said.
The property is in the city’s “Main Street” zoning area, where preferred developments include retail or restaurant establishments set close to the sidewalk and residences or offices on the upper floors.
“Crucial” consideration will be given to proposals that include residences for sale and rent, and residential only proposals also will be considered, according to the request. Commercial lending has become more difficult to obtain since the COVID-19 pandemic, which also increased remote working and the availability of office space, Eckholm said.
Another critical feature the city is looking for is removal of the stucco façade. The request for proposals includes historic images from when the building housed Panyards, a home décor shop, that featured large first-floor shop windows and second-story glass brick.
A rendering also is included that shows a potential historic-leaning rehab of the building and a new building constructed on the current parking lot that fronts Muskegon Avenue.
“We’re going to look favorably on anybody who removes that stucco,” Eckholm said. “That’s something staff definitely will be looking for in any of the proposals.”
The request for proposals suggests reverting to the building’s historic look, and includes historic photos.
The city came into possession of the property when it traded a lot on Seventh Street with Catholic Charities. That’s where the nonprofit built its current administrative offices and a new substance abuse detox center, that opened late this spring.
The nearby Third Street area is home to several small businesses, including Third Coast Vinyl, The Griffin’s Rest, Hamburger Mikey, The Curry Kitchen and Naan Pizza, Valy Vietnamese Oriental Food, Only Cannoli, and Muskegon Family Foods. The Muskegon YMCA also operates out of a storefront on the southern corner of Third Street and Houston.
The building previously was known as the Midtown Building, where Catholic Charities – at the time Catholic Social Services – had been a tenant since 1984. Catholic Charities purchased the building in 2002.
Posted By: mlive on August 10, 2021. For more information, please click here to read the source article.
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