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Study recommends Grand Rapids DeVos Place expansion, USL Soccer team

Downtown Grand Rapids
Rachel Kramer | CC BY 2.0

A new study commissioned by Grand Action suggests Grand Rapids’ DeVos Place Convention Center is prime for expansion. It’s one of a number of recommendations found in the “Grand Rapids Destination Asset Study.”

Grand Action is the business-based nonprofit behind the construction of Van Andel Arena, DeVos Place and the Downtown Market. Continuing its visionary planning it reached out to CSL of Minneapolis to take stock of the areas current assets, what attracts visitors and the competitiveness of the Grand Rapids market.

Calling it a “mid-term priority,” the study recommends expanding DeVos Place Convention Center by 50-percent by adding more than 115,000 square feet of event space. It would require broadening its footprint bridging to the current downtown post office or toward Calder Plaza. The cost of expansion is approximately $83 million.

The study also suggests attracting a USL Professional Soccer team. The USL is considered the Third Tier of professional soccer. Of the 29 teams currently competing in the league, Grand Rapids DMA population of 2 million would rank 20th in the league. The USL has its eye on Grand Rapids. The city’s current team is outdrawing the USL’s average game attendance by 1,300. The study proposes seeking sites best suited for the construction of a soccer-specific stadium with a seating capacity of 8,000.

CSL of Minneapolis also advocates amateur sports expansion, continue the development of Grand River opportunities, improve outdoor and adventure experiences, improve downtown transportation and enhance “Destination Awareness, Inclusion and Diversity.”

Patrick center, WGVU News.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.