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Downtown Zeeland Announces New Three-Story Building Development and Passageway

Downtown Zeeland Announces New Three-Story Building Development and Passageway

The City of Zeeland announces a new three-story, mixed-use development and pedestrian passageway in the center of downtown Zeeland, coming 2024. This new project, located at 135/137 E. Main, will be constructed to complement the existing adjacent buildings to the west (131/133 E. Main). The tenant lineup for these properties, collectively, includes the return of Public, the original piece of the 1983 Restaurants collection, and the expansion of long time Zeeland business, Moxy Dental and Airway. 

In February 2022, the City of Zeeland purchased the one-story buildings located at 135/137 E. Main and issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to attract an investor to redevelop this site as identified in the 2009 Downtown Zeeland Vision Plan. Last spring, the City accepted and approved a proposal from Wooden Nickel, LLC., led by Steve Sterken. The teams have been working together over this past year to prepare a Purchase and Development Agreement which was approved by Zeeland City Council on Monday, March 6, 2023. 

The development includes demolishing the existing one-story buildings to prepare for the new three-story building and pedestrian passageway (located on the east side of the development). The new building will contain a total of eight, two bedroom/one bathroom apartment units on the second and third floors. The development will be constructed to complement and connect the properties at 131/133 E. Main, also represented by Sterken. Connecting the properties provides the opportunity to meet the growth needs of current tenant, Dr. Meredith Smedley, of Moxy Dental and Airway. Dr. Smedley’s dental office has been located at 133 ½ E. Main for 12 years, occupying the north (rear) 60% of the building, per the City’s zoning ordinance. This project will provide a 2,400 sq. ft. expansion for the growing business, along the north (rear) 60% of the new building. The City is delighted that the expanded, successful dental practice will create such a grand presence along the north side of the downtown district. 

This dynamic project also includes the highly anticipated return of Public Restaurant, owned by Lucas Grill of 1983 Restaurants. Grill opened Public, his original restaurant, in 2012 at 131 E. Main and it was immediately cherished by the community. The restaurant closed in 2021 and it’s no secret that Zeelanders have been hopeful for its homecoming ever since. The City is excited to welcome Public back to its original location, to rejoin the downtown business community and Social District. Though Grill has some new tricks up his sleeve, Public will return with the same handcrafted comfort food that the community has known, loved, and most recently, missed. 

Building designed by Ed Zwyghuizen, Gen 1 Architectural Group 

This project, located precisely in the middle of downtown Zeeland, achieves multiple goals outlined in the City’s 2009 Downtown Vision Plan: establishing a mid-block pedestrian passageway to connect Main Avenue to the North Municipal Parking Lot, encouraging infill building development, increasing downtown residential units, and reserving ground floor units, with Main Street frontage, for strong restaurant and retail tenants. (The City of Zeeland further prioritized these goals in 2019 when they commissioned a study to focus specifically on a public passageway and the redevelopment of 135/137 E. Main.) The City of Zeeland is enthusiastic about this transformational project that will accomplish multiple long term downtown goals and is appreciative of the developers and business owners/tenants who have invested in and committed to the vision for Downtown Zeeland. 

With the Purchase and Development Agreement approved, the developer can now begin to prepare the site for demolition and construction, apply to the State of Michigan for financial incentives and seek site plan and design approvals from the City. The developer anticipates a summer/fall 2024 opening.

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