H&LA Development Update – Grand Rapids, Michigan

Our recent research for a project in Grand Rapids, Michigan revealed some exciting new hospitality-related developments happening in the area. These developments will have an impact on tourism, employment, and the general economy in Grand Rapids and the surrounding areas in 2024 and beyond.

  • Groundbreaking for a new 12,000-capacity amphitheater in downtown Grand Rapids is scheduled to take place in spring 2024. Representing an investment of at least $116 million, this new venue will host major concerts, festivals, and various community events. Anticipated to open in 2026, the amphitheater will spur future economic development along the riverfront in downtown Grand Rapids.
  • A $147 brownfield redevelopment project called Factory Yards is planned for a 15.5-acre site in southwest Grand Rapids. As envisioned, this mixed-used development would include 467 apartment units, a 22,000-square-foot food hall, ground-level commercial space, and an outdoor green space plaza. The Factory Yards project recently secured $103 million in tax incentives from the city, and it is expected to be finished within the next two to three years.
  • A new Main Event family entertainment center will open in 2024 at the Woodland Mall in Kentwood in 2024, southeast of Grand Rapids. This indoor attraction will feature bowling lanes, arcade games, laser tag, and billiards, along with a restaurant, bar, and party rooms. This new attraction will occupy a standalone 49,000-square-foot building near the Von Maur department store.
  • The West Michigan Sports Commission is moving forward with plans for an $11 million expansion of the Meijer Sports Complex near Rockford, Michigan, north of Grand Rapids. This project will create a new softball field with synthetic turf and spectator seating; three additional baseball/softball diamonds; 20 pickleball courts; a new playground area; 300 additional parking spots; and new concessions and restroom buildings. While this project is still in the fundraising stage, construction is slated to begin in 2024.
  • Gerald R. Ford International Airport has started construction on a $110 million expansion of its Concourse A that will more than double the current capacity and add eight new passenger gates. This expansion is part of Project Elevate, a $500 million infrastructure improvement initiative that will also include a new control tower, operations center, and federal inspection station.
  • A new large-scale aquarium has been proposed for a yet-to-be-determined site in the Grand Rapids area. As envisioned, this major attraction would be similar in scale to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, drawing visitors from neighboring states and throughout the nation. This massive project represents a projected investment of between $300 million and $400 million, and it would take three years to complete. As of our research date, this project was still in the early concept stage, and no official timeline had been determined.