City may join county in land sale


More riverfront property than originally expected may be on the market soon.

The city of Grand Rapids is considering joining Kent County in offering some key parcels for sale that have potential for commercial development opportunities in the Monroe North Business District. In addition, the county may offer another property as an optional purchase.

All the sites are on the same 500 block of Monroe Avenue NW.

Last fall, the county announced it would consider selling three parcels that total 1.28 acres on the east bank of the Grand River on Monroe Avenue between Michigan and Trowbridge streets, just past the I-196 overpass. The county is putting the final touches on a request-for-proposals for those sites.

Then, Kent County Assistant Administrator Mary Swanson told the county’s Executive Committee last week that Deputy City Manager Eric DeLong said Grand Rapids may want to join the county in its RFP and offer its Monroe North surface parking lot, also on the river’s east bank, for bid.

The lot at the intersection of Monroe and Trowbridge has 128 parking spaces and is just a parcel north of the county property. A parcel owned by Michigan State University is situated between the county’s land and the city’s lot. MSU also owns the parcel north of the city’s lot.

“The RFP is drafted, but it will be a couple of weeks until we know (what action the city will take), and then it’ll be ready to go,” said Swanson.

The county also owns a parking lot across Monroe Avenue from its riverfront property; that site likely will be included in the RFP as an optional purchase. The lot is immediately north of Quality Auto.

Swanson made it clear that bids will be able to be made on the three county parcels without having to bid on the city lot, if the city becomes part of the RFP, or the county’s lot across the street. She hopes to have the RFP issued by the end of March.

The county bought the three riverfront parcels for $2.4 million in 2004 but hasn’t fully committed itself to selling the riverfront property.

“We’re looking to see what is out there,” said Swanson.

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