GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Action 2.0, a group that works on development projects in Grand Rapids, is mulling options to build a soccer stadium near downtown, MiBiz reports.
Renderings obtained by MiBiz show plans for a stadium north of Pearl Street west of US-131, just north of the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids and across the highway from the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum on the city’s West Side.
Part of that site is now city-owned parking lots. Another plot where a currently Big Boy sits was recently bought by DeVos-owned DP Fox Ventures LLC, MiBiz says. Dick DeVos chairs Grand Action 2.0. News 8 previously reported there were plans to build a convenience store on the plot, but the developer gave it up in May. A DeVos spokesman told MiBiz that DP Fox was looking at “future development” for the property but that nothing was set in stone.
Local soccer fans have heard rumors of a future stadium for months. Calin Skidmore, general manager of SpeakEZ Lounge on Monroe Avenue, said there is a lot of excitement and buzz in his bar as fans watch Premier League games weekly on Thursdays.
“There’s just something about this specific kind of camaraderie and energy that soccer provides that’s a really cool buzz for people,” he said.
SpeakEZ Lounge has served as Grand Rapids’ unofficial soccer bar for years. During the now-defunct Grand Rapids developmental team’s seven seasons, fans would gather at SpeakEZ before and after games to celebrate. The Grand Rapids Football Club announced in October 2021 it had disbanded, citing the pandemic and problems with securing a consistent stadium.
Skidmore said the potential stadium would be perfect reason for fans to resurrect traditional soccer marches.
“A common thing in Europe is to have fans meet at a pub and then kind of march, chanting and waiving the flags, from the pub to the stadium,” Skidmore said. “So something in walking distance from us would definitely excite our fan base for sure.”
The plan is still in its early stages, with MiBiz saying Grand Action 2.0 and the city are just starting an informal review to see if the site would work. No formal requests have been filed with the city and the executive director of Grand Action 2.0 confirmed to News 8 it is eyeing multiple sites for a stadium.
A soccer stadium was among a list of potential future projects released by the group in 2021.