Years after the ‘mystery development,’ what’s next for 201 Market Street?

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- After years of discussions, city property along the Grand River may be seeing new development.

201 Market Street had been the focus of a large-scale so-called "mystery development" in the 2000's. However, that project - which was headed up by developer Duane Faust - never came to fruition. It's something that was blamed in part on a less than thriving downtown in that part of the city at the time, as well as Faust's failure to come forward with money to submit his final proposal to the city, forcing them to reject it.

Duane Faust during development talks in 2006

Duane Faust during development talks in 2006

In 2010, Faust returned with plans for a smaller-scale project which included a hydrogen-powered subway. That plan also didn't pan out for the area.

"We've had more time to be thoughtful and proactive - before it was a much more reactive - fast-paced discussion because of the moment of time we were in," says Mayor Rosalynn Bliss.

Since then, that part of the city has grown, becoming more appealing for both residents and businesses alike.

"Founders has grown, The Rapid station went in, Amtrak's station moved, new residential units are going in right across the street from there. The entire area is different," says Mayor Bliss. "The feel and development has changed in that last ten years."

Aerial view of 201 Market Street

Aerial view of 201 Market Street

When it comes to that property, city officials want the development to stay in line with their goals for the future of Grand Rapids.

"Some of the things are non-negotiable: access to the riverfront, public space along the river, adding in green infrastructure - green space on the site -which is large enough to do," says Mayor Bliss. "We've talked about this site during the community planning process, during the Grand Rapids Forward Plan."

Grand Rapids is working with the consulting team JLL on the project. They're asking interested developers to visit

The city also hopes to hold community input sessions as they get more finalized proposals submitted to them.

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