GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority is greenlighting a $2.1 million face-lift to the Van Andel Arena plaza.
Wednesday morning, the DDA unanimously approved awarding Pioneer Construction approximately $1.6 million for the project, which includes elevating the plaza, adding planters with wraparound seating, pedestrian lighting, a new snowmelt system and brick pavers around the exterior of the venue. The Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority already approved funding the remaining $440,148 of the project cost.
In a Wednesday news release, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. Planning & Design Director Mark Miller said the aim is to make the plaza “a more welcoming front yard for the arena and Heartside neighborhood.” The revitalized space guides Van Andel Arena visitors down brick pathways set farther back from Fulton Street. Movable tree planters will also border the street for added safety.
>>PDF: Proposed redesign renderings
The layout also includes a café space near the restaurant inside the Van Andel Arena, a performance lawn and a new marquee sign.
A later phase of the project will include revamping the service alley on the west side of Van Andel Arena, including replacing the parking lot adjacent to HopCat with a green space.
City officials say existing donor bricks outside the Van Andel Arena will be preserved and reinstalled in the plaza, and the statue of Jay Van Andel will only move a short distance from its current site.
During the meeting, Mayor Rosalynn Bliss also encouraged developers to consider adding “creative crosswalks” with an alternative design to the typical crosswalk lines.
Work on the Van Andel Plaza is expected to start the day after the Elton John concert, on April 24. The targeted completion date is Sept. 15, ahead of ArtPrize and the Grand Rapids Griffins’ first home opener.