GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The group that redesigned the plaza in front of Van Andel Arena in downtown Grand Rapids is getting ready for the project’s next phase.

Wednesday, the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority approved up to $230,000 for the team of contractors to focus on redesigning the alley running between the east side of Van Andel Arena and the bars and restaurants lining Ionia Avenue SW, from Fulton Street to Oakes Street, where Studio Park is located.

The group handling the project includes urban design firms MKSK and Groundswell Design Group, and local engineering group Fishbeck.

Their earlier vision for the space included adding café-type seating, pedestrian-friendly paths and green landscaping while maintaining a “drive aisle” for emergency vehicles and waste pickup services. The plan also includes minimizing visibility of restaurant waste bins and grease traps.

The next steps for the project include refine the alleyway redesign based on feedback from stakeholders before preparing construction documents and bidding services for the finalized project.

Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. expects the team to start in on phase 2 as soon as next month, which would be nearly a year after the Van Andel Arena plaza’s completion.

(An April 2021 photo shows the new sign to Van Andel Arena in the redesigned arena plaza in downtown Grand Rapids.)