What's to know about Windward Pointe?


Pure Muskegon, LLC (Pure Muskegon) was formed by a group of local business and community leaders who share a common goal of bringing new life and vitality to the Muskegon community through the transformation and revitalization of the former Sappi Paper Mill (Sappi) property and adjacent lake frontage. Membership of Pure Muskegon includes Larry Hines, Mike Olthoff, Don Tjarksen, Trip Johnson, Steve Olsen, John Workman, Greg Olson, Heather Kettler, Wes Eklund, Dan Kuznar, Gregg Slager, Chris Witham, and the Paul C. Johnson Foundation.ng elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

The name was developed in association with Lambert, Edwards & Associates, a public relations firm hired by Pure Muskegon. “Windward” is a sailing term related to the direction upwind from a point of reference – so the name underscores our journey into the headwinds, but with the wind in our sails, we moving in a positive direction! The name also highlights the property’s lakeside location with “Pointe” referring to the northwesterly portion of the site.

Pure Muskegon has been motivated by the transformational potential of the property, as well as a strong desire to be able to provide an economic boost to the Muskegon area, to create jobs, and to have this development serve as a catalyst to enhance the overall quality of life in the Muskegon community.

Large-scale Brownfield redevelopment projects are always complex, presenting a myriad of challenges and often take a long time to complete. Various legal, environmental, and economic hurdles have to be overcome and take a long time to ensure the property can be used as we intend. A significant amount of work and effort by many parties is required.

The Muskegon Country Club and the Sappi property are owned by different entities. However, the investor group is almost identical.

An AOC refers to an “Administrative Order on Consent”. In this case, there is a multi-party AOC that provides for environmental response activities and includes agreements not to initiate litigation as to certain claims. The State of Michigan has agreed not to sue either Sappi or the prior owners of the former Sappi property for known or unknown environmental conditions. These agreements are uncommon and typically unnecessary, especially due to Michigan laws that allow innocent purchasers to acquire contaminated property without liability by conducting a Baseline Environmental Assessment (BEA) and complying with Due Care. However, the Sappi-imposed deed restrictions prohibited anyone from conducting a BEA or any other type of environmental investigation or response activities on the Property, thereby impeding its sale and redevelopment.

The parties involved the AOC are S.D Warren dba Sappi North American, Melching, Inc., Pure Muskegon LLC, the Michigan Department of Attorney General, and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

Sappi had recorded restrictive covenants that only permitted industrial use of the property, and as noted above prevented any buyer from conducting any environmental inquiries or response activities. In order to complete the purchase, Pure Muskegon required removal of those restrictive covenants so that appropriate actions could be taken which would lead to the former Sappi property being developed for non-industrial uses.

The City of Muskegon is a valued partner in helping transform the Sappi site. The City was awarded a $1 million DEQ Brownfield grant for removal of the asbestos-paint on two remaining smokestacks and their demolition. The Muskegon Brownfield Redevelopment Authority approved a Brownfield Plan for the property that includes tax increment financing (TIF) to pay for environmental, site preparation, and infrastructure activities. The City has also provided a substantial amount of funding to help pay for Phase II Environmental Assessment activities through its Federal EPA Brownfield Assessment Funds.

The Vision for the property is a completely new, community asset to be known as Windward Pointe. This transformational redevelopment will embrace a mixed-use concept, which may entail housing options including elder living, commercial and retail uses. These uses will optimize the opportunities for boating access, urban gardening, walkability, recreation, and more. The Property’s proximity to city and neighborhood assets will provide a transformational force in the connectivity and revitalization of the City of Muskegon and the entire Muskegon Lake basin.

The current zoning is industrial. Rezoning is planned, and the new zoning may be under a planned unit development (PUD) or a form-based code. Pure Muskegon will work closely with the City as concepts and final development plans take shape.

The overall environmental condition of the property is good. As with all properties along the southern Muskegon Lake shoreline, there is a prevalence of fill material such as foundry sand, wood waste and sawdust from logging, and other industrial fill. In fact, the City completed a Muskegon Lake Historical Fill investigation over 10 years ago, which provides a substantial amount of data with respect to the environmental conditions of the fill. As a result, managing redevelopment projects with these fill materials has been more streamlined and effective.

Development of the property may be by Pure Muskegon, LLC or a third-party developer or developers, or some combination thereof.

It is possible that future development may be linked to the Muskegon Country Club. There haven’t been any discussions linking the development to the Nugent Sand property, which appears that it will now become a county park.

The Lakeshore Trail currently runs adjacent to the Sappi property along Lakeshore Drive, and options for a trail relocation are being explored as part of the master plan. Preliminary concept plans include extensive linked public walkways and greenspaces.

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