Developers respond to RFQ for riverfront property downtown


The 15.8-acre property at 201 Market Ave. SW in Grand Rapids runs along the Grand River, just west of Founders Brewing Co. Photo via

Five developers have responded to the city’s request for qualifications for a nearly 16-acre riverfront property downtown.

The City of Grand Rapids said yesterday it received responses to its RFQ for the redevelopment of the city-owned site at 201 Market Ave. SW.

“This is the most important city-owned redevelopment site on the Grand River,” said Mayor Rosalynn Bliss in January when discussing the site.“The city looks forward to working with a qualified development team that allows us to achieve GR Forward goals and other important city priorities.”

Respondents included Indianapolis-based Flaherty & Collins Properties, Southfield-based REDICO, Grand Rapids-based Rockford Construction, West Bloomfield-based The Velmeir Companies and Wilmington, North Carolina-based Zimmer Development Group.

The firms all responded by the March 31 deadline to demonstrate their technical and financial abilities to redevelop the 15.8-acre property into a mixed-use project.

The responses will be evaluated by a committee made up of representatives from the city, Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., Grand Rapids Urban League and the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan.

The real estate firm JLL will also evaluate the responses.

The property now contains multiple city public works buildings, as well as 1,500 feet of Grand River frontage and 1,300 feet of Market Avenue SW frontage.

A short list of firms will be decided upon following an interview process and invited to submit proposals for the site and a financial offer.

A panel of experts asked the city to implement equitable practices during the 201 Market redevelopment process, after a visit to the city as part of the Rose Center for Public Leadership 2017 Daniel Rose Fellowship program. Grand Rapids is one of four cities in the program this year.

The Business Journal wrote about the panel last month.

“Think about and come up with some tangible ideas of how you can embed some of these principles and practices when it comes to equity into this current solicitation,” said Calvin Gladney, a Washington, D.C.-based developer and consultant on the panel. “Let’s not wait until the next five RFPs that might come out next year, or the next deal, the next transaction. There’s one on the street now. We want you to think specifically about some ideas of how you can do equitable things.”

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