Galloway and Collens, PLLC

Delay in Michigan lakefront property developement

On Jan. 14, the owners of property on Muskegon Lake sought and received additional time to work on developing the property. However, that goal doesn't seem any more attainable than it did more than 10 years ago when it was first suggested. The current owner of 34 acres of lakeside property and the city agreed on an extension, although some city members expressed their frustration at the delay.

The property group will pay the city $25,000 up front and an additional $25,000 in 2015 to delay the payment of a $500,000 bill for utilities dating back to the initial development in 2001. The current property group, Muskegon Lakefront, took over ownership of the property in 2011, the second change in ownership in the last seven years. According to their agreement with the city, they have until Nov. 1, 2015, to start building on the site, pay a $500,000 fee or turn the property over to the city. City officials are impatiently waiting for the property owners to begin developing the land. One group has been working to develop an Indian casino through the Grand River Band of Ottawa Indians on the commercial property.

The city needs to make payments for $4.5 million in bonds and was planning to use the funds from the property development to make the payments. If the land isn't developed, the city will need to take money out of the general fund that's already tightly strapped. When it became clear that the development company would not be able to begin building in time, the former city manager requested the extension.

When commercial property owners face delays in meeting deadlines, they might wonder what options they have. A real estate attorney might be able to help clients work out solutions so they can meet expected deadlines.

Source: M live, "Harbor 31 owners buy time with city of Muskegon to develop a downtown casino", Dave Alexander, January 15, 2014

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