Orville and Susan Crain took a bit of a gamble as the first residents to buy and build at Terrace Point Landing, a waterfront housing community on Muskegon Lake. But nearly three years in, they have since named their house Afterglow. The setting sun treats them to a cascade of color and a golden hour that transforms the sky into an ethereal canvas.
“We wanted to be closer to downtown and be a part of the movement of creating a downtown feel again,” said Susan, who used to sail on the lake before marrying Orville and buying a powerboat, which they slip at nearby Terrace Point Marina.
Terrace Point Landing is just one example of the transformation happening around the lake. Dotted with factories, a coal power plant, paper mills and aggregate piles for the last century, Muskegon Lake’s shoreline has a fresh slate thanks to concerted efforts by city officials, investors and hopeful residents.
Researchers and environmental activists worked to clean up the water over the last 30 years, helping to usher in a new era of recreational activities and waterfront living. The city’s Imagine Muskegon Lake plan provides a comprehensive, long-term vision for lakeside neighborhoods from the Lake Michigan channel to the former BC Cobb power plant.
Cruise ships regularly dock at Heritage Landing during the summer, while the Lake Express ferries passengers to and from Milwaukee. Dockside dining, recreational boating, waterfront festivals, World War II ships and museums, even community kayak outings provide fun for residents and visitors.
A variety of residential developments is in the works, adding hundreds of condos and homes with lakefront or marina access: Hartshorn Village (hartshornvillage.com) near the Hartshorn Municipal Marina; Windward Pointe (windward-pointe.com) on the former Sappi Fine Paper Mill site; The Docks in the Bluffton neighborhood; and a new boutique hotel in the former Harbor Towne Yacht Club building.
A group of local investors known as Pure Muskegon LLC purchased the former Sappi property near the lakeside neighborhood. Plans for Windward Pointe include a 120-acre mixed-used development with a variety of housing, commercial, community and recreational amenities on more than a mile of Muskegon Lake shoreline.
“It’s going to totally transform the area,” said Wes Eklund, a member of Pure Muskegon. “It’s just a matter of time. Between the project we have going and the Docks project, there’s going to be a lot of things happening.”
Terrace Point Landing, near the lakeshore bicycle trail, farmers market and restaurants, is a hybrid development of single-family homes and condos. Thirty-five of the 70 lots have sold, and developer Jon Rooks of Parkland Properties expects them all to sell by the end of this summer.