City approves land purchase for $116M amphitheater project

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Courtesy city of Grand Rapids

An estimated $116 million amphitheater is proposed for Grand Rapids.

The Grand Rapids City Commission gave initial approval at its Tuesday, March 29 meeting, authorizing the Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority (CAA) to purchase a portion of city-owned land at 201 Market Ave. SW.

CAA plans to purchase 11.6 acres of the property to construct the 12,000-seat entertainment venue.

The sources of the $116 million are expected to derive from an estimated $81 million in donor, state and private investment, $15 million in property resale by the CAA and other CAA investments, and $20 million in downtown development authority or brownfield authority tax increment revenue secured bonds issued by the city’s building authority, according to the Grand Rapids City Commission.

The funds are expected to cover the $24.3 million purchase price and $91.7 million construction of the amphitheater and grounds, creation of a capital/operating reserve, design and development costs and contingencies.

In addition to the amphitheater, there are 1,500-1,700 housing units, up to 10 acres of new riverfront recreations space and trails, and a mixed-use development proposed for the site.

The purchase agreement is expected to be finalized by March 31.

CAA is expected to purchase the property by June 30.

The city approved an option agreement for CAA to purchase the property in February 2021, the Business Journal previously reported.

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