Mar 3, 2019 | In the News

March 3, 2019 – Lakeshore communities look to reshape their formerly industrial waterfronts

Two lakeshore communities are rethinking how former industrial sites will play a role in future development along their waterfronts.

That’s true in both Holland and Muskegon, two cities in which decommissioned coal-fired power plants could help free up sites for new uses and redevelopment.

As well, both communities follow a string of examples of municipalities paying more attention to how they approach their waterfronts.

“That’s a big trend we’re seeing in a lot of communities, centering around that water asset,” said Luke Forrest, director of civic innovations at the Michigan Municipal League. “It’s a primary asset a lot of these downtowns have.”

After the retirement of the James DeYoung power plant in 2017, officials in Holland started to consider how the city-owned property could be catalytic in waterfront development.

“What happens on the DeYoung property, whatever it may be, would kind of set the direction for future development on the waterfront,” said Mark Vanderploeg, community and neighborhood services director for the city of Holland. “We think it’s really important.”

Last year, Holland officials started a public engagement process to assess needs on the waterfront, sparked by the redevelopment possibilities posed by the James DeYoung property, which sits just outside of downtown off Pine Avenue.

The engagement includes the “Waterfront Holland” initiative, which has gathered public input via a series of brainstorming events to discuss what could become of the property, as well as assess ideas about what the waterfront should look like from South Shore Village to Holland Energy Park, the city’s new natural gas-fired power plant.

The city has never taken an overall look at its entire waterfront, Vanderploeg said. This process provides an opportunity to complete that visioning, then “zero in” on designs for the James DeYoung site.

Establishing an overall vision has yielded thousands of ideas, perhaps because the Lake Macatawa waterfront serves a variety of uses, including industrial. For examples, the James DeYoung property is bordered by industrial uses like Padnos Recycling & Scrap Management.

“Industry has always been a critical part of the city of Holland and remains so,” Vanderploeg said. “Certainly, we don’t want to do anything that could hinder the continued ability for businesses to provide jobs and provide the meaningful things that they do for our local economy.”

The Lake Macatawa waterfront also encourages recreation at sites like Kollen Park and features several activated areas, including near the Boatwerks Waterfront Restaurant.

After engaging with the public and various stakeholder groups, the city will review a handful of design scenarios in a market feasibility study. After that, the city could go through an RFP process and partner with the private sector to develop the James DeYoung property. Vanderploeg said the city’s charter mandates waterfront land cannot be sold without a vote from the electorate.

Consolidating industrial
When Consumers Energy closed its B.C. Cobb power plant in 2016 and crews a year later started to demolish a massive paper manufacturing plant on the shores of Muskegon Lake, officials there started to weigh how to push industrial uses to the eastern part of the waterfront to free up space for new uses.

Unlike in Holland, Muskegon’s former coal plant is being redeveloped by a private company, North Carolina-based Forsite Development Inc., which is working to consolidate industrial uses to the former B.C. Cobb site.

Consumers Energy sold the site to Forsite after a months-long evaluation process of firms looking to redevelop the site.

Forsite is currently decommissioning and demolishing the plant, a process it expects to finish at the beginning of 2020, according to Tom McKittrick, principal at the company. Forsite has signed a lease with Verplank Dock Co., which already has an operation on Muskegon Lake, to free up other lakefront property and help move industrial uses to the east end of the lake.

“What is hopefully the outcome is it allows for some of the industrial uses to be consolidated at this end of the lake, which is something the city has wanted for a long time,” McKittrick said. “Currently, there are multiple aggregate piles on the waterfront. This paves the way to get a lot of those properties back into a productive use.”

The property includes 10 usable acres of developable land with dock frontage. McKittrick said several companies have looked at the site, but he’s yet to sign a deal, noting the property would be best suited for an industrial use.

“A lot of land area is effectively sediment,” he said. “There’s pilings down to the bedrock. To build a new structure would be cost prohibitive. Because of the dock, it’s very well-suited for industrial or marine-type uses that can take advantage of the dockage.”

As industrial users shift to the east, developers are embarking on a housing boom between downtown Muskegon and the harbor.

Muskegon Planning Director Mike Franzak said developers have multiple projects underway on the city’s waterfront. Among the projects, Parkland Properties LLC is building Terrace Point Landing, which will feature 70 single-family homes or duplexes. Many of the units have already sold.

During its Feb. 26 meeting, the Muskegon City Commission approved plans for another residential development called Hartshorn Village that includes 55 condos with access to Hartshorn Marina.

At the former site of the Sappi Paper Mill, developers continue to chip away at plans for Windward Pointe, a $250 million to $400 million neighborhood that includes several hundred units as part of an expansive mixed-use development, Franzak said.

As well, Muskegon-based developer Damfino Development LLC has proposed The Docks project, which includes 250 residential units between Lake Michigan and Muskegon Lake.

The city’s vision for the Muskegon Lake waterfront calls for mixed-use development, Franzak said, noting high demand for housing in the area.

Attracting people and developers to the waterfront might not have happened if it weren’t for significant cleanup efforts by the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission and other groups, which helped to clear contaminated sediment along tributaries and industrial sites.

“(Muskegon Lake) wasn’t necessarily the nice, beautiful asset,” the MML’s Forrest said. “The cleanup part is key. Muskegon has done a ton of work in this area.”

As projects move forward to reshape how cities interact with their waterfront, it could come with significant benefit to the local economies, sources said.

“I think it’ll be great for the economy,” Franzak said. “It can really help with our downtown development, and I think it’ll also bring mixed-use development to the waterfront as well.”

Originally published in MiBiz.

Forsite Marketing

Forsite Marketing

Michael Geary

Power Station Manager

Michael (Mick) Geary joined Forsite in January 2022 and is currently the Power Station Manager, responsible for our electrical generation facility, Clean Energy, located in Charlotte, NC. He has over twenty years of experience in equipment maintenance, which led him to a variety of management roles within organizations throughout Australia, Canada, and the United States. Mick has a Bachelor of Business in Management and Human Resources from James Cook University in Cairns, Australia.

Gary Greene

Project Manager

Gary, joined the Forsite team in 2021 as Project Manager after 35 years of industrial construction and manufacturing experience. During his manufacturing career, Gary had a multitude of roles–starting in production and quality control, moving onto plant site utilities and finishing in maintenance.
As the plant maintenance manager, Gary coordinated maintenance and electrical teams to ensure that all plant operations and goals were achieved. Gary is responsible for Site and Project Management at one of Forsite’s largest industrial properties.

Bill Abraczinskas

Director of Environmental

Prior to joining Forsite, Bill spent 30 years in global environmental engineering firms prior to creating his own business to provide environmental consulting and engineering services to the industrial and commercial markets.
His background is in large-scale civil remediation projects involving design/build, earthwork, in-situ remediation, pump and treatment systems, demolition, thermal incineration, facility rehabilitation, and wetlands restoration. Bill’s strengths include guiding clients through compliance with regulatory agencies. Bill is currently shepparding one of Forsite’s largest Risk Transfer projects through demolition and remediation in order to be repurposed to Forsite’s needs.

Gerald Stroner

Facilities Manager

Gerry joined the Forsite team in 2017 as Facilities Manager at ReVenture Park in Charlotte, NC. Gerry supervises repair and upkeep of all buildings, equipment and vehicles, grounds maintenance and heavy equipment operations.
He also provides facilities management at our Edge Water Treating waste water treatment facility in Salisbury, NC.

Gerry is currently pursuing waste water operator credentials, and is developing drone photography services for Forsite.

A native of Big Bear Lake, California, Gerry is an army veteran with 11 years construction experience in earthquake country. He now lives in Huntersville NC.

Greg Coleman


Greg represents the perfect blend of mechanical practical ability and theoretical engineering acumen. A native of Northern Australia, Greg was compelled to hone his mechanical skills keeping farm equipment operational in harsh conditions.
Additionally, this mechanical ingenuity led Greg to study Engineering and pursue a career in the consulting business with companies such as URS and Geosyntec. Greg is the Technical Director for all of Forsite’s endeavors including power, wastewater, construction, decommissioning, demolition and environmental liability projects.

Bobby Glidewell

Staff Landman

Bobby Glidewell is a senior member of our land team responsible for the land acquisition of our projects. Bobby has over 30 years of experience in land management.
Prior to Forsite, Bobby worked for a Fortune 200 energy company as a Lead Land Services Representative. Bobby has also held senior land roles with numerous energy companies where he was able to manage the land efforts of natural gas projects. Bobby holds a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management from John Brown University. Bobby resides in Northwest Arkansas.

Drew Connors

Development Manager

Drew Connors is a member of our development team responsible for the research of new sites along with assisting with solar and battery storage development and engineering. Drew comes from a commercial construction background, where he was managing new build and renovation projects for clients in the financial services industry.
Drew studied at The University of Alabama in the pursuit of a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He then stayed at Alabama to pursue further studies in business and energy systems and received a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering as well.

Marijon Owens

Project Developer

MariJon (“MJ”) recently moved over to Forsite Renewables from Forsite’s risk transfer division. MJ is supporting the development of later-stage projects as they progress toward the start of construction. She brings a keen attention to detail and project management expertise to these projects, overseeing some critical path processes to ensure the projects are completed on time and under budget.
Prior roles at Forsite include Risk Transfer Project Manager responsible for supervising the demolition and remediation of a chemical facility site and operations manager of Forsite’s Clean Energy renewable natural gas facility at ReVenture Park. Additionally, MJ has served as project manager, logistics coordinator, risk manager, safety officer and quality proponent at various Forsite locations. MJ was raised on a farm in eastern North Carolina and studied in NC, TX and the UK, graduating with a BA in 1991.

Ann Haney

Director of Real Estate

Ann oversees the title and survey process and manages all land contracts. Prior to joining Forsite, she worked as a Real Estate Manager for solar development projects and a title analyst for wind development.
Prior to her energy career, she has 20 years of experience as a practicing attorney. Ann has a JD from Boston College.

Mark Albert

Senior Director of Development

Mark Albert is a senior member of our development team responsible for battery storage, engineering, and business development. Mark has more than 25 years of renewable energy sales and development experience.
Prior to Forsite, Mark was Vice President of Business Development for an international battery company where he was responsible for all sales and marketing, technical assessments, system modelling, and preliminary project designs for the company’s utility scale battery storage business. Prior to that, Mark served as Vice President of Development for a geothermal energy development firm where he was instrumental in the company’s growth over his 17 years there, negotiating and executing PPAs totalling $2 billion in revenues. Mark earned a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Washington University.

Scott Donaubauer

Director of Solar + Storage Development

Scott has over 15 years of experience in the power and industrial sectors and is responsible for solar and battery storage as well as business development.
Prior to Forsite, Scott was a mechanical design & field engineer, and project manager. Most recently he founded an energy services company specializing in field services and startup & commissioning. Scott has a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Iowa.

Kenny Gunter

Director of Land Acquisition

With his prior experience as a Solar Project Developer, Kenny is mainly involved in early site assessment, and develops land acquisition strategies. He oversees all land acquisitions, and manages our landmen.
Prior to joining Forsite, he not only worked as a Solar Project Developer, but also managed landmen in both solar, and oil & gas spaces, and worked as a landman in the oil and gas development field.
Kenny has a BS in Finance from Penn State University, is a Registered Professional Landman, has a GIS Certificate from North Texas and is a Texas Notary.

Maegan Bean

Senior Director of Project Finance

Maegan Bean is a senior member of our finance team. Prior to Forsite, Maegan worked for a Fortune 200 energy company as a Director of Finance leading the team responsible for the financing of new ventures and as a Manager of Project Valuation leading a team responsible for the pricing and valuation of utility-scale wind, solar, and battery energy storage projects.
Maegan has also held roles with a focus on financial and statistical analysis in the aerospace/defense and actuarial consulting industries. Maegan holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Financial Economics from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a Master of Engineering in Project Management from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Keith Kurtz

Vice President of Development

Keith Kurtz is a senior member of our development team responsible for solar and battery storage development. Keith has over 15 years of renewable energy development experience.
Prior to Forsite, Keith held senior-level development positions with numerous renewable energy development and manufacturing companies, where he was able to lead the development of multiple gigawatts worth of utility-scale renewable energy projects. Keith holds a Bachelor of Science in environmental science from Oklahoma State University and a Master of Science in Applied Science from the University of Nebraska.

Kevin Day

President - Solar Development

Kevin has twenty years of experience developing and financing power generation facilities, including natural gas, wind and solar projects. Prior to Forsite, Kevin worked for First Solar as Director of Project and Business Development for the Eastern U.S.

Prior to First Solar, Kevin developed and financed wind projects at BP Wind Energy. Prior to BP Wind Energy, Kevin also developed wind projects for SilverPoint Energy, a company he founded, and was a Director of Project Finance for Panda Energy, a developer of combined cycle natural gas projects.

Kevin holds his BBA in finance, MBA and JD from the University of Oklahoma.

Michelle Skinner

Executive Administrative Assistant

Michelle Skinner is the Executive Administrative Assistant for the Forsite team. She serves as administrative support for the CEO, along with support for the COO and Director of Business Operations. Michelle is also responsible for Accounts Payable & Accounts Receivable.

Prior to joining Forsite, Michelle spent 24 years with the Kraft Heinz Company in Massillon, Ohio, where she was responsible for payroll and administrative support to the Production Manager.  She also worked in the Administration and Human Resources departments.

Andrew Archer


Andrew Archer is the Financial Controller for Forsite. In this role, Andrew has oversight of the Accounting department, with responsibilities for the entire end-to-end accounting cycle of Forsite. This includes month-end close, financial reporting, budgeting/forecasting, cash flow projection, and developing internal control policies and procedures.

Prior to joining Forsite, Andrew spent 16 years in Real Estate Accounting with two Charlotte-based CRE firms, both as Director of Accounting. Andrew earned his B.A. in Economics and History before earning his MBA from FIU and an MBA+ Certificate with emphasis in Advanced Financial Reporting/Accounting from UNC Charlotte.

Andrew and his wife are originally from Jamaica. They moved to the US in 2003 and live in Gastonia, NC with their two sons and daughter.

Jenny Wesley


Jenny Wesley is a paralegal for Forsite’s legal department. She supports General Counsel and the Land Team with real estate transactions, titles, surveys, and more.

Prior to joining Forsite, Jenny worked for a law firm in Canton, Ohio for over 23 years where she provided real estate paralegal support. Jenny earned an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science for Legal Assisting from Stark State College. Jenny resides in North Carolina with her husband, daughter, and son. She enjoys spending time with her family, going to the beach, and hiking through the woods.

Joshua Smith

General Counsel

As General Counsel, Josh manages Forsite’s legal department. Prior to joining Forsite, Josh was the chief legal officer for a utility-scale solar developer.

Before that, he worked as a corporate attorney for Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, a leading U.S. law firm, and served as an attorney in the Enforcement Division of the Federal Election Commission. Josh holds an LL.M from American University Washington College of Law, a J.D. from Nova Southeastern University and a B.S. from Florida State University.

Shannon Doster

Director of Business Operations

Forsite Development day-to-day operations are managed by Shannon Doster. Her responsibilities include financial reporting, executive support, human resources, marketing, and property management administration.


Offering over 20 years of experience in business management, accounting, sales and marketing along with her previous job for an international corporation, has gained Shannon experience in many business sectors. This coupled with her versatility has contributed much to Forsite ’s ongoing success.

Shannon studied Business Management at York Technical College. She has special training in Six Sigma quality and has earned a Green Belt Certification. Shannon is also a licensed Real Estate Broker and is a Notary Public for North and South Carolina.

Ryan Ford

Chief Operating Officer

Ryan is responsible for the operations, strategy and project management of Forsite’s risk transfer, renewables and clean energy business lines. Prior to joining Forsite in 2018, Ryan’s background was in Engineering and Project Management; specifically, large-scale engineering, procurement, fabrication and construction (EPFC) projects.

Ryan has spent significant time on major construction sites, supervising installation of the design of new construction including coal, combined cycle and nuclear power plants.

Additionally, Ryan has worked in various engineering management roles within the power industry focusing on all fuel types for major base load plants, including the newer Allam Cycle technology.

Tom McKittrick

Chief Executive Officer / Founder

Tom is the Chief Executive Officer / Founder of Forsite Development, Inc. and manages all aspects of the company’s operations. Tom started Forsite in December 2004 with the idea that there was a significant supply of vacant corporate surplus industrial facilities throughout the Southeast that could be acquired aggressively and then repositioned. Since starting Forsite, Tom has purchased over 7 million SF of space throughout the Carolinas.

Forsite’s most ambitious project to date is “ReVenture Park”, a 667 acre re-development of a shuttered chemical plant, currently listed as a Federal Superfund site into a “Renewable Energy Industrial Park”. The property, located along the shores of the Catawba River in Charlotte, NC has over 1.4 miles of river frontage and is the largest piece of underutilized heavy industrial property in the region. Once complete, this project is projected to create over 1,100 “green collar” jobs and over $900 million in new investment.

Prior to starting Forsite, Tom was a ten year veteran and Senior Vice President of Development for Indianapolis based Lauth Property Group. In July of 2001, Tom moved to Charlotte to open Lauth’s second regional office where he managed all build-to-suit, land development and construction activities that he and his team created in the Southeast.

Tom has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing and Finance from Ball State University. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Holy Angels (