Downtown Zeeland Announces new three-story building development and passageway

The City of Zeeland announces a new three-story, mixed-use development and pedestrian passageway in the center of downtown Zeeland, coming 2024. This new project, located at  135/137 E. Main, will be constructed to complement the existing adjacent buildings to the west  (131/133 E. Main). The tenant lineup for these properties, collectively, includes the return of Public, the  original piece of the 1983 Restaurants collection, and the expansion of long time Zeeland business,  Moxy Dental and Airway.  

In February 2022, the City of Zeeland purchased the one-story buildings located at 135/137 E. Main and  issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to attract an investor to redevelop this site as identified in the 2009  Downtown Zeeland Vision Plan. Last spring, the City accepted and approved a proposal from Wooden  Nickel, LLC., led by Steve Sterken. The teams have been working together over this past year to prepare  a Purchase and Development Agreement which was approved by Zeeland City Council on Monday,  March 6, 2023.  

The development includes demolishing the existing one-story buildings to prepare for the new three story building and pedestrian passageway (located on the east side of the development). The new  building will contain a total of eight, two bedroom/one bathroom apartment units on the second and  third floors. The development will be constructed to complement and connect the properties at  131/133 E. Main, also represented by Sterken. Connecting the properties provides the opportunity to  meet the growth needs of current tenant, Dr. Meredith Smedley, of Moxy Dental and Airway. Dr.  Smedley’s dental office has been located at 133 ½ E. Main for 12 years, occupying the north (rear) 60%  of the building, per the City’s zoning ordinance. This project will provide a 2,400 sq. ft. expansion for the  growing business, along the north (rear) 60% of the new building. The City is delighted that the  expanded, successful dental practice will create such a grand presence along the north side of the  downtown district. 

This dynamic project also includes the highly anticipated return of Public Restaurant, owned by Lucas  Grill of 1983 Restaurants. Grill opened Public, his original restaurant, in 2012 at 131 E. Main and it was  immediately cherished by the community. The restaurant closed in 2021 and it’s no secret that  Zeelanders have been hopeful for its homecoming ever since. The City is excited to welcome Public back  to its original location, to rejoin the downtown business community and Social District. Though Grill has  some new tricks up his sleeve, Public will return with the same handcrafted comfort food that the  community has known, loved, and most recently, missed.  

This project, located precisely in the middle of downtown Zeeland, achieves multiple goals outlined in  the City’s 2009 Downtown Vision Plan: establishing a mid-block pedestrian passageway to connect Main  Avenue to the North Municipal Parking Lot, encouraging infill building development, increasing  downtown residential units, and reserving ground floor units, with Main Street frontage, for strong  restaurant and retail tenants. (The City of Zeeland further prioritized these goals in 2019 when they  commissioned a study to focus specifically on a public passageway and the redevelopment of 135/137 E.  Main.) The City of Zeeland is enthusiastic about this transformational project that will accomplish  multiple long term downtown goals and is appreciative of the developers and business owners/tenants  who have invested in and committed to the vision for Downtown Zeeland.  

With the Purchase and Development Agreement approved, the developer can now begin to prepare the  site for demolition and construction, apply to the State of Michigan for financial incentives and seek site  plan and design approvals from the City. The developer anticipates a summer/fall 2024 opening.