Zeeland requests proposals for new downtown development, passageway

A corridor between Zeeland’s downtown businesses and the parking lot to the north of Main Avenue has long been on the city’s wishlist, and the purchase of two properties along the city’s central business district will move the city closer to its goal, officials say.

“It’s another piece of the puzzle,” City Manager Tim Klunder says. “It always feels good when you take another step forward.”

The city of Zeeland has initiated a Request for Proposals process for an infill development for the properties it has purchased at 135 and 137 E. Main Ave. The existing buildings would be demolished and replaced with a new, mixed use, multi-story building. The project would include a new public pedestrian passageway to connect Main Avenue with the public parking lot to the north.

An infill district allows a city to set specific requirements for a development and helps develop under-utilized areas.

“We are excited to take a step toward achieving another goal within the city’s Downtown Vision Plan — improving connectivity with a downtown pedestrian passageway that connects the north public parking lot to the businesses on Main Street and creating more density downtown through infill development,” Zeeland’s Marketing Director Abby deRoo says.

Vision

The city’s Downtown Vision Plan has identified a mid-block passageway as a goal since 2008. However, the city’s recent purchase of the properties located at 135 and 137 E. Main Ave. has created the momentum needed.

The city of Zeeland’s request for proposal includes the pathway, first-floor restaurant or retail, and second — and possibly third — floor apartments or office space. The RFP suggests the new space would be a dynamic location for a full-service restaurant with a liquor license, proposing that the restaurant patio and public passageway could be a shared space. 

City staff will work closely with proposal finalists to ensure that the future building, and the passageway meet the functionality, aesthetic, and quality standards for downtown Zeeland. 

The city has created a webpage containing the RFP booklet and supporting documents. Proposals are due by March 31.
 

Read more articles by Andrea Goodell.