Meijer Gardens breaks ground on $115M expansion


A partial rendering of the Padnos Families Rooftop Sculpture Garden. Courtesy Meijer Gardens

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park has kicked off a $115-million expansion project.

Meijer Gardens said today it broke ground on the project that includes three new buildings, upgraded facilities and gardens, and re-configured and additional parking capacity.

The 22-year-old Grand Rapids destination has experienced significant growth in guest attendance, membership, art collections, dedicated gardens and educational programs in the past few years, leading to the need for expansion.

Meijer Gardens also said today its $115-million fundraising goal for the project has been reached. The organization raised $102 million in private funds, then opened a public capital campaign in March.

Construction will conclude in 2021.

“Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park continues to benefit from the enormous generosity of the people of West Michigan,” President and CEO David Hooker said. “On behalf of our board, volunteers, staff, membership and guests, we express our deep and sincere appreciation for the warm embrace we have once again received from the community to further our mission.”

Firms on the project

New York-based Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners is collaborating with Grand Rapids-based Progressive AE as the architect and designer for the project.

Owen-Ames-Kimball is the project’s contractor.

Project elements

A new 60,000-square-foot Welcome Center

A new 20,000-square-foot Covenant Learning Center

A new Peter C. and Emajean Cook Transportation Center for outdoor tram tours

Expanded and upgraded Frederik Meijer Gardens Amphitheater

A new Sculpture Garden entry plaza

A re-imagined and expanded BISSELL, Inc. Scenic Corridor

A new outdoor picnic pavilion

Expanded and re-designed Tassell-Wisner-Bottrall English Perennial Garden

A new Padnos Families Rooftop Sculpture Garden

Expanded and accessible parking and urban gardens

Meijer Gardens

Founded in 1995, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park serves more than 750,000 visitors annually.

The 158-acre main campus features Michigan’s largest tropical conservatory, one of the largest interactive children’s gardens in the country, arid and Victorian gardens with bronze sculptures by Rodin and Degas, a carnivorous plant house, outdoor gardens and a 1,900-seat outdoor amphitheater, featuring an eclectic mix of musicians every summer.

The internationally acclaimed sculpture park features a permanent collection, including works by Oldenburg, Moore, Hepworth, Serra, Bourgeois, Ai Weiwei and Plensa, among others.

Indoor galleries host changing sculpture exhibitions, with exhibitions by Ai Weiwei, Picasso, Degas, di Suvero, Borofsky, Calder and Dine. 

In June 2015, the eight-acre Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden opened. Created by designer Hoichi Kurisu, the garden features sculptures by Anish Kapoor, Jenny Holzer and Guiseppe Penone, among others.

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