Muskegon development aims to ‘bring waterfront into community’

Muskegon County

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — It could take five to 10 years to complete a large development along Muskegon Lake, the people backing the project say.

Windward Pointe will sit on the 120-acre lot previously occupied by the Sappi Paper Mill. After sitting vacant for nearly 10 years, demolitions over the past few years destroyed the mill and its two smokestacks, clearing the way for the sweeping redevelopment along Muskegon Lake.

“We’re in a good spot to say it’s ready for takeoff from the city’s standpoint,” Muskegon City Manager Frank Peterson told 24 Hour News 8 Wednesday.

Windward Pointe will be a mixed-use development with retail and housing space.

“Commercial activity and single-family residences, multifamily residences, higher-income housing, more middle-class housing, more moderate income housing, more affordable housing,” Peterson listed.

The plan includes a canal system so that even buildings farther away from the lake will have a waterfront feel.

“It’s really about bringing waterfront into the community,” Peterson said. “I think people from the region should care because I think it shows Muskegon is stepping up and putting ourselves in a position to be a true livable lakefront community.”

Patrick MacKenzie, who has lived across the street from the paper mill site for 28 years, says he’ll be glad to finally see something take the place of the defunct mill.

“I was used to all them other buildings being there and there’s no sign of them, and it’s like living in a completely different place,” he said.

There’s still more to be done before buildings can start going up, though.

“Some more demolition activity, some more planning activities through the winter and hopefully we’ll be in a position to see some earth moving and some underground public types of infrastructure happening in 2019 and then some houses in the short time after that,” Peterson listed. “But from a phase standpoint, it wouldn’t be surprising to me to see something like this take five, six, seven or 10 years to be fully built out.”

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