Zeeland seeks developer for city center site, hopes for restaurant

ZEELAND – The City of Zeeland has appealed to developers interested in constructing a mixed-use building and public pedestrian walkway in the heart of Main Avenue.

Long on the city’s list of development goals, the mid-block crossing would connect a large public parking lot behind downtown stores to the Main Avenue shopping district.

The city bought two mid-block properties135 and 137 E. Main Ave., late last year with a plan to eventually demolish them and find a builder to create one or more new mixed-use buildings on the site.

This month, Zeeland launched a request for proposals for developers to present their plans for the site.

The RFP outlines what the city wants to see in the plans, including that the ground floor should have restaurant or retail tenants while the upper floors could be residential or commercial space.

The city suggested that 135-137 E. Main would be “a vibrant location” for a full-service restaurant with a liquor license.

Zeeland City Council recently removed a ceiling on the number of liquor licenses in the city and relaxed some of its seating and installation requirements for restaurants wishing to sell alcohol in hopes of growing its small downtown restaurant scene.

Sketches of potential designs for redevelopment along or over a pedestrian walkway the city is planning at 135 and 137 E. Main Ave.

Developers should include the mid-block walkway as part of all plans.

Continued:City buys buildings in downtown Zeeland, paving way for ‘passageway’ project

Continued:The Zeeland Planning Commission will probably refuse the expansion of offices in the former public restaurant

The city said it would not consider proposals that did not include a walkway, proposals for a single-story building, or proposals where the ground floor is office space.

Zeeland City Council authorized city staff to tender for demolition in November, although the city has no immediate plans to demolish the buildings until the next steps are in place.

Developer proposals must be returned to the city by March 31.

“City staff will work closely with the proposal finalists to ensure that the future building, and most importantly, the passageway component, meets the functionality, aesthetics and quality standards of downtown Zeeland,” read a press release from the city. “City staff expect the vision and planning for the crossing itself to continue once a construction project is identified.”

— Contact journalist Carolyn Muyskens at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @cjmuyskens.