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Priming sites for the spotlight! That’s the goal of Michigan Municipal League’s Developing Great Places program.

We know that, despite great investment in placemaking, community engagement, and ambitious visions for the future, many Michigan communities haven’t seen the real estate investment they desired in recent years. They need the help of private developers to move their public sector efforts forward.

Enter Developing Great Places. This program tackles individual sites, priming them for the spotlight and connecting them to the developers whose investments will benefit from, and contribute to, great quality of place.

Developing Great Places builds on our experience with placemaking and the statewide rollout of the Redevelopment Ready Communities program to take our members to the next step: getting development in the ground that implements their vision.

Where placemaking and redevelopment readiness come together is at the site level. Combining a solid public vision and the right developer on an individual property will lead to investment that both benefits from great quality of place and contributes to it.

The League’s Civic Innovation Labs team is supporting our members in the work of identifying priority sites, setting goals for development, understanding the critical path to identifying a developer, and connecting to expertise and resources that help them down that path.

Resources for Local Implementation

As part of this work, the League has developed a set of resources for the Redevelopment Ready Communities program that local communities can use to undertake site-specific work independently. These include:

Place Development Projects

Click on a link below to jump to a description of the project.



The City of Allegan owns a lot at the corner of Second Street and Brady Street, which offers a prime opportunity for new infill development in their downtown historic district. Read more.


Alpena’s vision extends the energy of the popular Second Avenue commercial district to the Thunder Bay River with highly-sought-after apartment living overlooking the riverfront. Read more.


Battle Creek
The city of Battle Creek’s fresh vision for the McCamly and Van Buren Lot includes introducing the first newly-constructed apartment development downtown in decades, along with a mixed-use component that would anchor the corner of McCamly Street and Van Buren Street. Read more.


Boyne City
The League supported Boyne City in evaluating development opportunities that would fill gaps in their highly successful Main Street district. Read more.


On the shores of Lake Michigan, a city-owned parcel and former County Jail lot are now under study for site redevelopment and new multi-unit housing. Read more.


The City of Ferndale is seeking to develop a business-to-business food production and storage facility on a city-owned parcel and adjacent privately-owned sites. Read more.

Flint summer 2018 Back to Bricks (8)-200x100

The Genesee County Land Bank Authority has partnered with a national developer and neighborhood organization to create affordable missing middle housing options in the North Flint neighborhood. Read more.


Hillsdale demolished a dangerous building on their central square, leaving a vacant site. The city anticipates a mix of apartments and retail storefronts to address downtown demand. Read more.

Hudsonville-Farmers Market-small-200x100

This project tackles site prep and marketing materials for priority sites in the city’s Village Green, based on the vision in the community’s Imagine Hudsonville 2030 master plan. Read more.


A vacant public safety building will be redeveloped to activate the southern edge of downtown Kalamazoo while adding affordable housing in upper stories. Read more


Lansing and the Ingham County Land Bank are coordinating to position an old RC Cola bottling plant for mixed-use infill overlooking the Grand River. Read more

Manistee downtown by Matt June 2018 (5)-200x100

The former American Cleaners site, at a gateway intersection, is targeted for redevelopment as a mixed-use facility. Read more.

Downtown Marshall streetscape Marshall
A 7.5-acre property in the middle of the community’s core residential neighborhoods, located only a short five minute walk from the historic downtown area, offers a unique opportunity for new housing options.
Read more.

A municipally-owned lot in the heart of the Village of Middleville will be studied for use as a site for a two- or three-story residential building. Read more.

Muskegon Downtown August 2018 (4)-200x100

New townhomes will replace a vacant parking lot adjacent to the city’s public marina and Lakeshore Trail, continuing the revitalization of the western end of downtown Muskegon. Read more.


A lot in the center of the Village of Pinckney is the potential site for a new two-story mixed-use building, offering new storefronts and homes in a historic small town context. Read more.

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This project will focus on a vacant lot near Gratiot and Utica Road for possible development as a dining destination with a public space component. Read more.


The League assisted two major redevelopment projects in Southfield – “the center of it all” – supporting the city’s goals of creating walkable destinations within the city. Read more.


The city has identified a development partner for a long-vacant parcel in the city’s historic district, which will offer new-build missing middle housing compatible with the 19th century neighborhood. Read more.

Financial and technical support for this work has come from MSHDA, MEDC, and the MML Foundation.