Sweeping redevelopment in store for Sappi Paper Mill site

Muskegon County
Windward Pointe Muskegon lakeshore aerial courtesy 080316_234342

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — A large industrial property in Muskegon that has been vacant for years is about to undergo an extensive facelift.

Community leaders on Wednesday announced the redevelopment of the 120-acre site of the former Sappi Fine Paper Mill. The new commercial development along the southern shore of Muskegon Lake will be called Windward Pointe.

Exactly what will be built at Windward Pointe has yet to be decided, but the investment group behind the project, Pure Muskegon, said its uses could be wide-ranging. There could be housing like a senior living complex or condos, a hotel, mixed-use developments, restaurants, retail space, offices, marines and more.

The site previously served as a paper mill for more than 100 years. In 1900, it opened as Central Paper Co. Eventually, it became the Sappi Fine Paper Mill.

The Sappi mill closed in 2009 and was sold in 2011 to Melching, Inc. for demolition and recycling. The empty factory was imploded in 2013.

Pure Muskegon recently bought the property from Melching to make the development possible. The group said the purchase was slowed because it had to get around legal restrictions imposed when Sappi sold the property.

Eventually, Pure Muskegon reached a purchase deal, which included a plan for environmental cleanup at the site. The agreement also included a $1 million grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to help remove the smokestacks that still stand on the property — that’s expected to happen over the course of the next year.

A file aerial shot of the old Sappi Paper Mill site that will become the new Windward Pointe. (Undated photo courtesy Pure Muskegon)

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