This multimission station was built as an operations center and maintenance facility. It replaced the second headquarters, a sixty-four-year-old lifeboat station at the North Pier, with a larger, modern, and efficient structure to accommodate the need for services with increasing boating on Lake Michigan.
Oriented to both the river and Harbor Drive, the station extends along its narrow site leased from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In a campuslike manner it opposes the group headquarters on Harbor Drive across the park. The station overlooks the cutter Arcadia berthed in Government Basin and Escanaba Park. The red brick with limestone Group Grand Haven houses a boat maintenance bay, equipment, and boat storage, and a machine shop on the lower level; offices, galley and mess deck, laundry, and living areas on the second floor/ground level; and sleeping rooms for station personnel on the upper level.
Since 1963 Grand Haven sought to beautify its riverfront. In 1983–1984 the Corps of Engineers was working on a pier and river revetment reconstruction project. Larry Deejen, then city manager, and others envisioned this project as an opportunity to develop the Boardwalk. The promenade (the Lighthouse Connector Park) follows the pathway and extends it for 1.5 miles from Chinnock Pier on the east to the end of the South Pier. Grand Haven dedicated the Boardwalk in 1984. Grand Haven's Economic Development Corporation and community and private foundations committed funds to the Coast Guard and Riverfront development projects.
Group Grand Haven coordinates all Michigan Coast Guard activities. District Group Command relocated here from Muskegon. It handles personnel records, acts as purchasing agent, and provides engineering and electronic support for nine Lake Michigan Coast Guard stations.