Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. hires leader for urban planning and design


Mark Miller. Photo by Johnny Quirin

A local architect is leaving the private sector to become managing director of planning and design for Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.

Mark Miller — a senior architect, planner and urban designer for Grand Rapids-based Nederveld — has “accepted the role” at Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., or DGRI, according to an external email obtained by the Business Journal by Rick Pulaski, a project manager at Nederveld, announcing the move on June 5.

Miller’s last day with the firm will be Tuesday, the email says.

DGRI, formed in 2013, is responsible for “city building and place management in the urban core” of Grand Rapids, according to its website.

DGRI serves as the “singular management entity” for the combined operations of the Downtown Development Authority, Downtown Improvement District and Monroe North Tax Increment Finance Authority.

“Mark will be transitioning into a new position where his passion can move beyond design and into real implementation," Pulaski says.

“We are excited for this new chapter for Mark, and we wish him the best in this endeavor.”

At press time, neither DGRI, the city of Grand Rapids nor the Downtown Development Authority responded to multiple inquiries about Miller’s hiring and his responsibilities.

Miller’s background

A licensed architect and certified planner, Miller has served at Nederveld’s Grand Rapids office since 2002, according to LinkedIn.

His past work has involved projects at the street, building, corridor, neighborhood, city, district and other levels.

Miller has served on DGRI’s Alliance for Investment and the city of Grand Rapids Vital Streets Oversight Commission. 

Miller is a past-chairman of the city of Grand Rapids Historic Preservation Commission, past-president of the Grand Rapids chapter of the American Institute of Architects and previously served on the Kent County Land Bank Advisory Council and Fulton Street Farmers Market Board of Directors.

He has also been a columnist for Grand Rapids Magazine for over a decade.

He holds a master of architecture from the University of Michigan.

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