Swing Bridge Project Stalled; Macatawa Bank Took Back One Parcel
At least one parcel of the luxury condo development called The Boardwalk at Swing Bridge, located southwest of the Blue Star Highway over the Kalamazoo River, reverted to the ownership of Macatawa Bank at the end of 2103, say City of Douglas officials.
The approximately five-acre, 16-condo-unit development was discussed at Monday’s council meeting when Douglas City Council Member Greg Harvath asked city staff if under the performance bond - as part of a prior agreement with the developer - the city could do something about a development that has remained stagnant for a long time, far from being completed.
“You don’t see anything going on down there except weeds,” said Harvath, concerned about the conspicuously unfinished project.
“We were bonded for the infrastructure (Washington Street at the development site), not the buildings,” Douglas City Manager Bill LeFevere told council about the performance bond.
The infrastructure leading to the site is complete and so is the public, 700-foot-long, six-foot-wide boardwalk along the waterfront, stretching from the Veterans Walk Park at the Blue Star Highway bridge
to the west end of the Union Street boat launch.
LeFevere said that Macatawa Bank now owns a parcel of the property, the one that connected the majority of the property to Union Street, as a consequence of the developer not being able to pay real property taxes to Allegan County.
However, he added, “We have no knowledge regarding the status of the contractor or any bankruptcy.”
The boardwalk has public access at each end and comes as a stipulation set forth by a judge’s 2009 consent judgment ruling agreed to by the city and developer Tom Scott.
That agreement came after Scott sued Douglas over the city’s 2008 issuance of a stop-work order against him.
The 2009 ruling gave Scott the green light to construct his project, but required him to provide the city a “letter of credit,” ensuring the city the public facility aspect of the condo complex would actually be financially protected and be completed.
Besides the boardwalk and the public infrastructure, the Swing Bridge project has only a few buildings up and one concrete framework of a basement left exposed.
LeFevere told the council Monday the development constituted private property, maintaining, “If you want to start tearing things down you have to own it.”