The Grand Rapids City Commission has approved the purchase of a property from the Kent County Road Commission that would clear the way for the riverfront amphitheater project.

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The property, located at 1500 Scribner NW, is a key in the development of the amphitheater. The 14.2 acre parcel, currently owned by Kent County, is home to the Kent County Road Commission.

The road commission is in the process of moving to a location on 4 Mile in Walker. That move made the property available for the City of Grand Rapids to purchase. The purchase price of that location will be just under $7.5 Million.

In a statement on Tuesday, Grand Rapids City Manager Mark Washington said that this approval is an important step in the process:

This is another important, incremental step in the potential redevelopment along this portion of the Grand River and Market Avenue Corridor.

The city is expected to eventually move its services at 201 Market Ave. to the newly purchased location on Scribner. Currently the location on Market is home to Parks and Recreation, the Public Works Department, and the Office of Special Events.

When those departments are moved, the city is expected to sell an 11.6 acre portion of the riverfront property to the Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention Arena/Authority for nearly $25 Million.

The Convention Arena/Authority (CAA), which currently manages Van Andel Arena, DeVos Place and DeVos Performance Hall, is expected to construct a 14,000 seat amphitheater for outdoor concerts and community events.

Back in February Deputy City Manager Eric DeLong told commissioners he believes this is the right move for the city:

This partnership, I think, embodies the best of public-private partnerships. It has worked really well for us in this community and delivered other major investments that have moved us forward, in this case it will help us with economic recovery and reinvestment as we move out of the pandemic.

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