Grand Rapids-based AHC Hospitality is expanding its reach to Muskegon under a new deal to manage several hotels, restaurants and a convention space downtown.
Starting this month, the Owned by DeVos and Van Andel AHC Hospitality will manage Parkland Properties of Michigan’s developments in Muskegon that include the VanDyk Mortgage Convention Center, Delta Hotels by Marriott, Shoreline Inn & Conference Center, Terrace Point Marina, Lake House Waterfront Grille, Walker’s Restaurant and Lake Effect Bistro.
Parkland Properties executives say the deal will allow the Muskegon-based developer to focus on two major projects in its portfolio that involve reusing the 122-acre former Sappi paper mill and remodeling of the former Shaw Walker Furniture Co. building.. Both mixed-use projects would add hundreds of housing units along or near Muskegon Lake.
“Both of our projects are moving full steam ahead and we are trying to reallocate our resources and time so our team can focus on these projects,” said Rory Charron, director of real estate and operations for Parkland Properties. “This is simply to allow us to continue to grow and bring in someone who is a proven hospitality leader in West Michigan and continue to grow our operations.”
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AHC Hospitality operates several downtown Grand Rapids hotels and restaurants, including Amway Grand Plaza, JW Marriott Grand Rapids, Courtyard by Marriott, AC Hotel by Marriott, Hyatt Place, The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck, Rendezvous, MDRD and IDC.
“We are excited about the opportunity to add these core properties to our managed portfolio and grow our AHC Hospitality brand in the Muskegon market,” George Aquino, vice president and general manager of AHC Hospitality, said in a statement.
The agreement for AHC Hospitality to assume management of the Parkland Properties sites does not include any property sales.
In addition to the two projects proposed by Parkland Properties, the company also developed the 55,000-square-foot VanDyk Mortgage Convention Center, which opened in 2021, in collaboration with the city of Muskegon.
“There’s a huge opportunity with the convention center to make it an even bigger catalyst for the community, it’s a large building with a lot of meeting space and when you combine that with some of AHC’s other assets, it’s going to be a huge opportunity.” synergistic relationship,” Charron said.
Parkland Properties’ two Muskegon hotels attract more than 120,000 guests each year, but have an average occupancy rate of 50% to 55% that is consistent with the surrounding community, said Jon Rooks, president of Parkland Properties. Other communities in West Michigan average around 70% occupancy for hotel room stays, which is an area Parkland hopes AHC will help improve, Rooks added.
“We think they can do things with the convention center that will make our hotels more successful than they are now, as well as improve our food and beverage because they have really good restaurants,” Rooks said.
Bob Lukens, director of Visit Muskegon, shared this sentiment.
““AHC Hospitality’s commitment will bring a new level of expertise and sophistication to Muskegon’s expanding tourism and hospitality sector,” Lukens said in a statement. “Adding the Parkland lodging and dining properties and the VanDyk Mortgage Convention Center to AHC Hospitality’s portfolio of managed hotel assets will help Muskegon’s continued development as a premier lakefront destination.”
Parkland Properties is based in Muskegon, where the development company gained a foothold in 2009 when it acquired the 140-room Shoreline Inn and Conference Center through a loan default by the previous owners. Four years later, Rooks acquired the nearby Holiday Inn, built in 1986, from a Southfield-based investment group. Parkland Properties invested millions of dollars in both hotels to help increase occupancy rates and attract more visitors.
Rooks has also developed notable apartment and condominium projects in Grand Rapids, including Boardwalk Condominiums, Union Square Condominiums, Cityview Condominiums and Monroe Terrace Condominiums.
The growth of tourism in both Grand Rapids and Muskegon and connecting the two cities could be an important driver for economic development in West Michigan, Rooks and Charron said.
“Grand Rapids is a world-class city recognized nationwide as a city of great things,” Rooks said. “Muskegon is still a hidden gem, but it is a city on a lake with a downtown directly on the lake and it really is the easiest highway link to Grand Rapids.”
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