University Detroit Mercy Architectural Students Reflect on Downtown Muskegon; Propose Mixed-Use Developments

Business News |Jan 2, 2018|3 min read

Dave Alexander
Downtown Muskegon Now

Staci Seyferth-Taylor
UDM Instructor



DECEMBER 22, 2017


University Detroit Mercy Architectural Students Reflect on Downtown Muskegon; Propose Mixed-Use Developments


MUSKEGON, MI – A dozen and a half University of Detroit Mercy School of Architectural students studied downtown Muskegon this past semester, concluding the historic central business district needs to blend the community’s amazing natural resources into a new emerging downtown.


The members of instructor Staci Seyferth-Taylor’s “studio” class – a capstone four-year architectural degree course – presented their final projects to a group of Downtown Muskegon champions Dec. 21 hosted by Downtown Muskegon Now. Many in the class, with no experience with Muskegon and not having visited here until September, concluded that Downtown Muskegon was in need of much greater “density.”


The students were given the task of helping create more downtown density by designing a mixed-use building on the site of the temporary chalets of the Western Market – property for sale on the south side of West Western Avenue between Second and First streets.


“What I and the students think is great about downtown Muskegon is that it is a city coming together with many putting their pieces into the puzzle,” Seyferth-Taylor said of the 10 construction projects currently underway in the downtown. “It is not all just planned.”


Most all of the students and student teams proposed new structures they felt brought Muskegon’s natural assets – lakes, beaches, rivers, dunes and woods – into the core of the community. The student designs called for retail on the main level – outdoor recreational retailers and food-related businesses – and residential units above.


UMD junior Logan Flowers, who happens to be a Muskegon County native and Whitehall High -School graduate, created Water Shell – a mixed-use 40,000-square-foot “live, play, shop” building featuring an outdoor recreation retailer on the lower level and three stories of residential units above. The living units in Flowers’ plan are from studio to three bedrooms.


Seyferth-Taylor selected Downtown Muskegon as her students’ experimental space because it is her hometown, having been raised and educated in North Muskegon where her parents Bill and Toni Seyferth still reside. She brought her UMD students to Muskegon for a weekend in September – with camping along Lake Michigan, touring St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church and touring downtown among the activities.


The students began their studio creating an “image book” of visuals that represented Muskegon to them along with inspirational quotes. The themes strongly linked the natural into the built environment.


“My students found Muskegon a place of resilience and changeability,” Seyferth-Taylor said of a community known for its economic booms and busts from fur trading to lumbering and heavy industry. “Muskegon has formed and reformed itself.”


The public can view the UDM student work through March in the city of Muskegon’s L.C. Walker Arena. The students’ work product will be on display in the arena concourse. They are on the construction boards of Rad Dads’ Taco and Tequila Bar now being built on the southeast corner of the arena at West Western Avenue and Fourth Street.


For more information contact:

UDM Instructor Staci Seyferth-Taylor, at 313-570-8152

DMN Executive Director Dave Alexander, at 231-215-8827