Plans discussed for Muskegon convention center construction; arena and hotel renovations

MUSKEGON, Mich.-- More plans for development in Downtown Muskegon were unveiled on Tuesday; plans that include the construction of a new convention center.

Developers say this is the biggest investment to Downtown Muskegon in 30 years, adding that a new convention center, a renovated and rebranded hotel and improved ice arena will bring new life to downtown.

Plans were unveiled at the LC Walker Arena for renovations at the current Holiday Inn, which will be rebranded as a Delta by Marriott. Some renovations at the ice arena were already completed, which people could check out  on Tuesday, including new bars and wall murals along with some new food options.

The biggest project will be a brand new convention center that will be right between the hotel and arena on Fourth Street between Western Ave and Shoreline Drive. The total project will be a $26 million investment: the largest downtown in decades.

An impact study projects there will be more than $10 million put into the local economy every year because of this project. Those in charge of it say it’s really going to put Muskegon on the map, and not just in the summer months.

“One of the things that’s so exciting about the convention center as a contrast to all of these incredible things that’ve happened in the past is this will be one of the biggest things that brings all off-season traffic to Downtown Muskegon," said Jon Rooks with Parkland Properties. "We are doing something that’s going to have most of its impact between September and May instead of May to September, so it’s really exciting. Because our hotels have historically always had occupancy under 50 percent, we have the rooms in the off-season to provide all the necessary accommodations for a convention center where a lot of communities wouldn’t have the rooms to do that. We have the available rooms.”

Rooks says the hotel renovations will be finished by the end of May 2019. The convention center is still in its conceptual planning stage, but they’re hoping construction will be finished by the end of 2020 or early 2021.

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