Proposed Riverfront Amphitheater for Downtown Grand Rapids

ByShannon J. Cortes

Jul 18, 2022






GRAND RAPIDS, MI (CelebrityAccess) – A $116 million waterfront amphitheater project is on the way for downtown Grand Rapids. The proposal to build a new amphitheater is tied to a mixed-use development, reflecting the same business model that sports teams use to build arenas and stadiums across the country, via VenuesNow.

Rossetti, a sports architect with experience renovating the Pine Knob and Meadow Brook amphitheaters, is in the design phase, which is expected to be completed in early September for a 12,000-seat outdoor music venue, officials said. of the company. The proposed 12,000-seat amphitheater would be located at 201 Market Avenue, SW is one element of a larger vision for 31 acres of property along the Grand River between Fulton and Wealthy streets. In addition to the site, officials want to build up to 1,750 apartments on the site.

“This is our Hudson Yards,” said David Frey, co-chair of Grand Action 2.0, the nonprofit economic development group leading the project. The organization grew out of Grand Vision, which is responsible for many major developments in the city, starting with Van Andel Arena, a Rossetti project which opened in 1996.

The Van Andel Arena alone proved its worth to Grand Rapids. Over the past 26 years, the more than 12,000-seat arena, run by ASM Global and before that SMG, has sold 5.2 million tickets for 734 concerts and family shows, according to VenuesNow. The building historically ranks among the busiest indoor venues of its size in North America.

ASM Global manages the performing arts center and convention center as well as the arena. The current plan calls for an amendment to the company’s contract that extends to the operation of the amphitheater, said Rich MacKeigan, regional general manager of ASM Global. MacKeigan has run the Van Andel Arena for 24 years.

“The amphitheater is the sexy room, but it’s just the first domino in a major development for downtown,” MacKeigan said.

Live Nation could potentially invest in the amphitheater and play a role in running the Meijer Gardens Amphitheater, Frey said. The 1,900-seat venue is owned by a local non-profit organization. If all goes according to plan, the new amphitheater will open for the 2024 summer concert season, Rossetti said.

The amphitheater, facing south, will include 7,000 fixed seats and a 5,000-seat lawn. Plans call for 16 different high-end products between suites and opera boxes, which would connect to retail spaces and other entertainment-enabled spaces outside the facility. A parking garage would sit below the raised lawn section. The west side, which faces the Grand River, would offer views of the city’s downtown district.