West Michigan housing markets rank among top-10 healthiest in US

October 7, 2015

Three housing markets in West Michigan are considered to be among the top-10 healthiest in the country.

Columbus, Ohio-based Nationwide, an insurance and financial services company, released last month its latest “Health of Housing Markets” quarterly market barometer report.

Four Michigan metropolitan statistical areas, or MSAs, rank in the top 10, more than any other state.

“On a national level, housing affordability is fairly valued, with little sign of a housing price bubble,” said David Berson, SVP and chief economist, Nationwide. “However, certain areas are seeing price appreciation that is too rapid compared with income growth, potentially driving homebuyers out of the market. These markets are mainly concentrated in the Pacific Coast, Colorado, Texas and parts of the Eastern Seaboard.

“Alternatively, markets with strong ties to the energy sector, such as Wyoming and Louisiana, are seeing weakening housing markets. This is, in part, due to job losses caused by lower oil prices.”

Top-10 healthiest housing markets

1. Kankakee, Ill.
2. Harrisburg-Carlisle, Pa.
3. Dayton, Ohio
4. Yakima, Wash.
5. Lansing-East Lansing
6. Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y.
7. Lancaster, Pa.
8. Niles-Benton Harbor
9. Battle Creek
10. Muskegon

Michigan also ranks highly in the index for the top-10 metros that showed the most improvement in the past year.

Niles-Benton Harbor tops the chart, showing the most improvement in the past year.

Muskegon, Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills and Flint also rank for showing the most improvement.

No Michigan market ranks among the bottom 10 or markets that weakened the most in the last year.

Source: Grand Rapids Business Journal

Muskegon’s brownfield authority considers $2 million assistance for Terrace Point Landing

June 11, 2014

MUSKEGON, MI – With approval from the city of Muskegon for a 70-lot, $12 million residential development on Muskegon Lake in hand, developer Jon Rooks is beginning the details of putting the waterfront neighborhood together.

The 11-acre site on the end of the Terrace Point property that includes the Shoreline Inn and Conference Center was once home to the historic Continental Motors plant, which left an environmental contamination issue.

Rooks and his Terrace Point Landing LLC have asked to be included in the city’s Brownfield Redevelopment Authority plan. Inclusion would offer the residential developer up to $2 million in property-tx captured dollars to complete an environmental assessment, cleanup activities and installation of roads and utilities.

Terrace Point Landing plans have progressed to potentially having home construction under way in the spring of 2014, Rooks said.

“We’d like to get started this fall on the environmental and infrastructure and finish that in the spring,” Rooks told the authority board members, adding that much of the project’s timetable will depend upon the environmental assessment and permit process through the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

The Muskegon Brownfield Redevelopment Authority began the process Tuesday of assisting Terrace Point Landing in securing the locally-generated environmental assistance. The authority board, which also sits as the Muskegon Downtown Authority, unanimously approved a unique arrangement in creating a tax increment financing district for Terrace Point Landing.

The brownfield redevelopment plan now goes to the Muskegon City Commission, which is expected to set a public hearing on the plan for May 14. The city commission must provide a final approval for Terrace Point Landing to be included in the city’s brownfield redevelopment plan.

“The site is contaminated and there will need ot be remediation of that,” according to Terrace Point attorney Jared Belka of Warner Norcross and Judd.

Complicating the city’s attempt to assist Terrace Point Landing with its environmental issues is the fact that the property is also in the Muskegon Downtown Development Authority district, which already captures property tax increments to support downtown development and promotion.

Rooks and city officials have come to an agreement that is spelled out in a DDA plan amendment and Terrace Point’s inclusion into the city’s brownfield redevelopment plan. Tax increment districts like the DDA capture taxes on property value increases for specific uses.

“We are sensitive to the city’s needs and want to share the captured funds with the DDA,” Rooks told authority board memebers.

The DDA, in part, is still repaying the public bonds from the Muskegon Mall era and if bond payments are not covered by DDA tax-captured funds the city’s general fund has to make up the difference, city officials have said.

As the Terrace Point residential lots are developed, sold and new houses built, the new property taxes collected will eventually be used to pay for a variety of activities. The estimated $2 million in eligible activities will be paid off over from 20 to 35 years with an additional 5% paid the developer for his cost of financing, according to the plans approved by the authority board.

The expected eligible activities include:

Conducting a first and second phase of a baseline environmental assessment.
Completing “due care” activities of putting a one-foot cap of clean fill over the contaminated areas and hydroseeding the fill materials.
Removing and properly disposing of contaminated soils
Preparing the site for development for drainage, debris removal, and repair of the Muskegon Lake seawall
Finishing infrastructure improvements such as storm sewers, water, sanitary sewers, streets, curbs, sidewalks and landscaping.

Rooks said since receiving city site plan approval for Terrace Point Landing earlier this year, work as continued on site design and preparation for marketing and sale of the lots. Eventually, Rooks will work with a builder for the houses, which will be on narrow lots and cottage-like in style.

The lots are expected to sell for $125,000 on the waterfront and $50,000 for inland locations in the site condominium development, which includes a beach, swimming pool and “forested courtyard” in the development’s interior. Homes will sell from $125,000 to $275,000, Rooks said.

“We think we can sell this development,” rooks told authority board members. “The price point that we are offering is one of the lowest in West Michigan for access to the lake.”

rooks is also the owner of the Shoreline Inn, Lake House restaurant, Terrace Point Marina and is moving his development offices from Grand Rapids to the former city central fire station, which he has purchased. Rooks’ Parkland Development also has plans to convert the former Comerica Bank tower building in downtown Muskegon into market-rate apartments in creating Highpoint Flats.

Muskegon City Commision unanimously approves the $14 million, 70-lot Terrace Point Landing

By: Dave Alexander | [email protected]

Feb. 26, 2013

MUSKEGON, MI – Muskegon City Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to approve developer Jon Rooks’ $14 million, 70-lot single-family home development on Muskegon Lake.

Commissioners asked questions, praised the development and unanimously approved an amendment to a 1989 “planned unit development” for Terrace Point allowing for the waterfront subdivision. The original plans were changed from initially proposed condominiums to the new single-family housing development.

The new Terrace Point Landing is located on 10.75 acres that sits between the Grand Valley State University energy center and the former SPX Corp. headquarters building. It is part of the property Rooks purchased when he obtained the Shoreline Inn and the related restaurant and marina in 2009.

Terrace Point also includes the Shoreline Inn and Conference Center, the Lake House restaurant, the Terrace Point marina and a 300-foot public walkway along Muskegon Lake north and west of the marina. The former SPX building is now Terrace Point office building under separate ownership.

The Muskegon Planning Commission on Feb. 14 unanimously recommended approval of the new waterfront residential development.

Rooks said that he is getting strong interest in the waterfront development and will now work on creating the site condominium association documents for the residential development. working on putting in the public roadway and utilities could begin in the coming six months but it is unlikely that homes will be under construction on the site until 2014, he indicated.

Muskegon City Commission to Consider Terrace Point Landing plans at Tuesday Meeting

By: Dave Alexander | [email protected]
Feb. 25, 2013

MUSKEGON, MI – Muskegon City commissioners are being asked to approve an amendment to the Terrace Point planned unit development that would allow for a $14 million residential neighborhood on Muskegon Lake.

Parkland Development Corp. is proposing a 70-lot “new urbanism” style cluster of single-family homes on the point of land between the Shoreline Inn and Conference Center and the Grand Valley State University energy center. The waterfront development is being called Terrace Point Landing.

Commissioners Tuesday are being asked to approve changes to the original Terrace Point plans, which include the former SPX Corp. Headquarters office building, the Shoreline Inn, the Lake House restaurant, the Terrace Point Marina and a public walkway along the northwest portion of the property.

The Muskegon City Commission meets Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Muskegon City Hall, 933 Terrace St. Commissioners face a light agenda.

The Muskegon Planning Commision unanimously recommended city commission’s approval of the Terrace Point Landing plans at a Feb. 14 meeting. Mayor Steve Gawron, who also sits on the planning commision, called the plans from Parkland Development’s Jon Rooks “game-changing” for the city’s downtown Muskegon Lake waterfront.

The 70 housing sites are designed for a layout on 10.75 acres with narrow lots, allowing 28 of the sites to be directly on the shoreline. The other 42 lots are upland from the shoreline but all property owners would have access to a beach directly on the point and to a green space in the middle of the development that would be a common area.

Terrace Point Landing is being designed as a site condominium with a public street, Rooks said. Muskegon Department of Public Works officials have worked with Rooks to design streets wide enough to construct public utilities for the development, city officials have said.

The lots are designed for multi-level houses in the 1,500- to 4,000-square-foot range. Total cost of the lot and house would be from $150,000 to $300,000, Rooks said.

With city commission’s approval, Rooks said he would begin developing the site condominium documents that are needed for lot sales. The neighborhood vould be constructed yet this year and houses occupied by the end of 2014, Rooks said. Besides Terrace Point Landing, city commissioners are being asked to approve a state transportation resolution calling on the governor and Michigan Legislature to fund a $10 billion roads and bridges program now being discussed in Lansing. The resolution was developed by the Michigan Municipal League.

Commissioners also are being asked to ratify their 2013-2014 goals, established at a special session Feb. 8. The top priority ios a focus on law enforcement, with selection of a new city manager, improvements at Pere Marquette Park and further working relationships with other governments all being tied for the commission’s second goal.

Finally, the commision has demolition recommendations from the Housing Board of Appeals to remove structures, deemed unsafe by officials, at 1275 and 665 Allen Ave.

Besides Tuesday’s regular commision meeting, commissioners have called a special work session Thursday at 5:30pm to discuss the process of selecting a new city manager. City Manger Byron Mazade told commissioners last week that he will retire as of Oct. 1 after nearly 20 years as manager.

Both commission sessions this week are open to the public and are in the commision chambers of Muskegon City Hall, 933 Terrace. Citizens are able to comment on agenda items and at the end of the meetings discuss other issues of public interest.

Terrace Point Landing: Muskegon Lake $14 million residential development called ‘game changing’

June 2, 2014

By Dave Alexander | [email protected]
on February 14, 2013 at 8:24 PM

Muskegon planning commissioners gave the green light to what they think is a “game changing” residential development on Muskegon Lake.

Of the 70 lots, 28 of them are waterfront and 42 of them are interior to the site, which is adjacent to Terrace Point office building and the Grand Valley State University Michigan Alternative and Renwable Energy Center on Muskegon Lake.

The Muskegon Planning Commission Thursday voted unanimously to recommend that the city commission approve a “planned unit development” amendment to allow for a 70 lot single family home residential development called Terrace Point Landing. The plans of Parkland Development’s Jon Rooks show a “new urbanism” design of high density housing bringing together the 70 narrow building sites on 10.75 acres. Terrace Point Landing is a $14 million development that could be under construction later this year with the first residents occupying the new homes by the end of 2014, Rooks said.

“People should appreciate this development as a game changer that will help recreate our waterfront,” said Mayor Steve Gawron, who is also a planning commissioner. “You can’t underestimate the major effect this going to have. I have to give credit to a quality project from a quality individual.”

Terrace Point Landing is the most significant residential development in the city of Muskegon since the construction of the Harbour Towne condominium development in the 1990s. a 240 unit project on the old historic Pigeon Hill sand dune property between Lake Michigan and Muskegon Lake. Terrace Point Landing’s super narrow lots allow for 28 of them to be waterfront with the remaining 42 designed for the interior of the property, which will have a large 0.7 acre green space in the middle as a commons area for the development. Rooks told planning commissioners that he could sell some of the lots as a lot and a half or a double lot but he would not want more than 50 percent of the lots enlarged.

“We’d like to have as many people living on this property as possible to add to what is happening in downtown Muskegon,” said Rooks, who also owns the adjacent Shoreline Inn and Suites, Lake House restaurant and Terrace Point Marina. Rooks also is at mid-year moving his Parkland Properties headquarters into the city’s former fire station, which he now owns, and has plans to convert the old Comerica Bank tower building in downtown Muskegon into HighPoint Flats, a market-rate apartment building.

“I love that you see the value in property here in Muskegon where others have not,” said Vice Mayor Larry Spataro, who is also on the planning commission. “I hope you are very successful. If you are successful, the city and the community will be as well.” Several planning commissioners and city staff visited a new house on Spring Lake on a narrow lot as being planned for Terrace Point Landing. Planning Commissioner Blanche Smith said the 26-foot-wide home was impressive and had magnificent water views.

“I think there is a strong market for this product we will be offering,” Rooks told the planning commission. “We will be able to offer these homes at incredible prices and they will have spectacular views of Muskegon Lake.”

The lot prices will range from $125,000 for waterfront land to $50,000 for interior parcels. Home designs will have the final land and house pack ages in the $150,000 to $300,000. The lots will allow for houses from 1,500 square feet up to 4,000 square feet with up to four bedrooms, three and a half baths with full kitchens, dining rooms and living rooms, Rooks said. Rooks said the homes will feel “spacious, livable and luxurious.”

Parkland Properties has begun taking names of those interested in purchasing a lot, which will be sold as “site condominiums.” When formal condominium papers are filed in the coming months, Parkland will be able to take small, refundable deposits to secure a specific lot, Rooks said.

Besides the interior green space, the development also will have a beach on Muskegon Lake, a pool and lot purchasers will have the ability to purchase a boat slip in the nearby Terrace Point Marine, Rooks said. Waterfront property owners would have the ability to construct private docks on Muskegon Lake with federal and state permits, city officials said.

“I just want to say thank you,” Planning Commissioner Bill Larson told Rooks, adding that this is just one more development in Muskegon that seems to be building its “mojo” with a number of quality developments in the works.

Email: [email protected]
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