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LMich Oct 25, 2009 8:54 AM

This is really just Lansing Township releasing the full details of this grossly speculative plan to try and wrangle the majority of Stimulus bonds to be doled out by Ingham County from an existing downtown project also wrangling for these bonds, but it's still newsworthy, regardless.

Courtesy photo

Big plans: Lansing Township Downtown Development Authority is planning an $85 million development next to Eastwood Towne Center at U.S. 127 and Lake Lansing Road. New buildings, built along U.S. 127 north of Champps Americana restaurant, would include two towers for a hotel, residential and office space, a public parking ramp, and additional restaurants.

$85 million plan puts shops, hotel near Eastwood

Melissa Domsic • • October 21, 2009 • From Lansing State Journal

LANSING TWP. - An $85 million development plan adjacent to Eastwood Town Center is poised to bring more diners and shoppers to the area near Lake Lansing Road and U.S. 127.

Plans are in the works for a 15-acre mixed-use development on vacant land along Preyde Boulevard east of NCG Eastwood Cinemas and north of the Champps Americana restaurant. Those plans call for a collection of restaurants, shops, condos, a boutique hotel and a parking ramp.

The Lansing Township Downtown Development Authority hopes to receive $29 million in Recovery Zone Bonds - federal stimulus package money - and start construction in spring 2010.

The DDA would build the parking structure and some commercial space at a cost of roughly $21 million to $25 million, but it's seeking a private developer for the rest of the project.

The DDA's portion would be funded partly through a special assessment levied on the existing and future commercial properties that would use the parking structure.

"The DDA's role is to encourage economic development at a level above what the private market would support," Executive Director Steve Hayward said.

New jobs

Altogether, the development should create 200 to 300 jobs, Hayward said. But at least one retail expert questioned the wisdom of embarking on such an ambitious plan now.

Pat Huddleston, retailing professor at Michigan State University, said she's surprised the DDA is planning an expansion in the midst of a recession.

On the other hand, she said, this could be a good opportunity to lock in lower construction costs.

"I'm not sure that it's needed, but it's possible that it could be viable if they bring in retailing and dining options that aren't already present in the Lansing area," Huddleston said.

Eastwood Towne Center opened in September 2002 at Lake Lansing Road just west of U.S. 127. It's 95 percent occupied and is made up of about 40 stores, several restaurants and a movie theater. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and its Sam's Club subsidiary opened stores west of the center in August 2004.

The planned expansion is not affiliated with Eastwood, which is owned by Inland US Management LLC.

Multi-use space

The DDA's plans call for more than 100,000 square feet of mixed-use commercial space and a 926- to 1,285-space parking structure that would span both sides of Preyde Boulevard. Two 12- to 15-story towers would be constructed on top of the parking deck.

One tower would house a boutique hotel, residential rental units, owner-occupied condominiums and penthouses. The other would hold 140,000 to 200,000 square feet of office space.

Hayward said sewage from the development would be handled by the city of East Lansing.

The DDA also is requesting federal recovery zone bonds through Ingham County. It wants $17 million in tax-exempt facility bonds and $12 million in development bonds, which are taxable but include a 45 percent credit on the interest. The county can allocate a total of $13.9 million in development bonds and $20.8 million for facility bonds.

Competing for funds

But the DDA isn't the only one after the bonds. Accident Fund Insurance Co. of America is seeking $16.2 million in facility bonds to construct a $31 million, 1,000-space parking ramp for its new downtown Lansing headquarters.

"I'm saddened by the fact that there might not be enough bond money to go around," said Lansing Township Supervisor John Daher.

"I'm hoping the county can find money to satisfy the needs of the city and the township."

The project will need site approval from the township. The DDA expects to award a design and construction bid early next month to either Clark Construction Co. or Wieland-Davco Corp., both based in Lansing.

Site preparation work could start in January, with full construction to begin next spring, Hayward said.

The expansion would include about five restaurants and a host of other retailers. Hayward said he's received oral commitments for about 25 percent to 30 percent of the retail space but would not name the businesses.

New retailers

"We're trying to pursue retail users that don't compete with other areas in the region," Hayward said. "We're not just out there to put another business out of business."

Eastwood Towne Center general manager Emily Desrochers said she's excited about the parking structure and attached developments.

"We definitely do not have sufficient parking during certain times of the day, specifically evenings, weekends and holidays," Desrochers said.

But Mindy Biladeau, executive director of the Principal Shopping District in Lansing, said further sprawl and expansion of Eastwood would add to rising vacancies in established commercial areas hurt by the recession.

"We should be reinvesting in our established, traditional urban centers and not farther out," she said.
To be clear, the only piece of this anywhere close to being a go is the initial first floor of a parking garage with ground-floor retail, which will be the base/podium of the new project. The only reason they released the plan was to make a case for the stimulus bonds.

Rizzo Oct 25, 2009 4:13 PM

I certainly hope they didn't show that image. Yikes....

LMich Nov 8, 2009 9:02 AM

November 7

subterranean Nov 8, 2009 2:00 PM

I'm loving the AF project more and more each day. It's looking great with those new windows. My only concern is with the parking deck they want to put right on the riverfront. Haven't we learned our lesson?

hudkina Nov 8, 2009 4:16 PM

Yeah, the windows look really great.

LMich Nov 9, 2009 6:34 AM


Originally Posted by subterranean (Post 4547314)
I'm loving the AF project more and more each day. It's looking great with those new windows. My only concern is with the parking deck they want to put right on the riverfront. Haven't we learned our lesson?

I know, really? I wrote one of our city council members about the garage asking whether it would at least be required to have groundfloor retail, and she wrote back telling me that she'd actually asked about it and was told that Accident Fund said that they couldn't get flood insurance since it was right on the river. Yeah, I call BS, too.


Originally Posted by hudkina (Post 4547394)
Yeah, the windows look really great.

It's funny, because the windows are almost exactly patterned off of the old ones. I have a hard time telling the difference besides them being new. I've seen one problem with them, though, on cloudy days. On cloudy days, since they aren't very reflective or colorful, they get about as dull, gray, and "flat"-looking as what little of the cloudy sky they do reflect. What I love most about the windows, though, is that they kept all of the existing window holes and created a few new ones at the base, and this will cut way down on the cost of lighting. It's really kind of ironic, in a good way, that a building that used to burn coal for power will now use so little power, comparitively.

subterranean Nov 9, 2009 12:31 PM

All of this time and I never noticed that they cut new windows. :banaride:

LMich Nov 9, 2009 12:55 PM

Yeah, on the riverfront side at the base, it used to be completely windowless because this is where the old coal bins and boilers were located inside the building. Surprisingly, there were big windows on the western side of the building where the "Hall of Turbines" was located.

BTW, you can see the new window cuts in these photos I took a few weeks back:

subterranean Nov 9, 2009 1:36 PM

Fantastic, thanks. I should have known better but I was confused with the prior photos, with the ziggurat-shaped windows spanning the face. I guess I'm just not used to seeing the backside (or, in reality, the street side) so opened and uncluttered without the cooling stacks or the parking deck.

LMich Nov 11, 2009 8:12 AM

November 10

Random skyline shots:

LMich Nov 16, 2009 10:26 AM

November 14

Rizzo Nov 17, 2009 2:08 AM

I wonder if they will glaze that sofit. Can't really remember from the will look pretty cool though.

LMich Dec 7, 2009 8:05 AM

Here's to hoping that these instutitons have the means to make this happen. This isn't the first time that a consolidated downtown arts/museum center has been proposed for downtown Lansing. In fact, in the previous decade, one was proposed for a spot literally a block away:



Micky Hirten: Cedar Street Arts Center on the way?

December 6, 2009

There's a plan developing for the long-discussed Lansing "Arts Center" that's not quite cooked, but certainly intriguing.

It would locate the Impression 5 Science Center, the BoarsHead Theater, the Lansing Art Gallery and similar organizations in a sprawling building at the northwest corner of Michigan Avenue and Cedar Street.

Local arts organizations have discussed a proposal and location with Lansing officials. There are, of course, money issues; who pays and how much?

The location is directly south of a new parking structure to be built by the city. This five-level structure will be bid sometime between April and June 2010 and will cost about $9 million, says Bob Johnson, director of Lansing's Planning and Neighborhood Development Office.


LMich Jan 21, 2010 9:48 AM

I've always found it ironic a building built in the midst of sprawl (and, in this case, at the edge of sprawl in an old cow pasture, probably) could receive a LEED certification, but...meh.


Rod Sanford/Lansing State Journal

Green building: The MSU Federal Credit Union headquarters has many green features, including high-efficiency glass and other design features that have led to achieving LEED certification as a gold building from the U.S. Green Building Council.
MSU credit union headquarters earns LEED certification

Melissa Domsic • • January 20, 2010 • From Lansing State Journal

EAST LANSING - Drought-resistant landscaping, a high-tech air filtration system and an eco-friendly roof.

Those are some of the more notable features designed to make Michigan State University Federal Credit Union's headquarters near U.S. 127 more environmentally friendly.

And the effort seems to be paying off. In addition to saving money, the headquarters has landed the credit union a gold-level rating through the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification program.

LEED certification is a nationally recognized designation for incorporating environmentally conscious features. The gold level is the second-highest available.


The roughly 135,000-square-foot MSU credit union building opened in September 2008 on 33 acres off West Road near U.S. 127 in northern East Lansing.

The only other gold-rated building in the Lansing area is General Motor Co.'s Lansing Delta Township assembly plant. Christman Co.'s headquarters in downtown Lansing has two platinum ratings - the highest level.

Really too bad that they didn't really go green and build the headquarters in an existing urban area on unused land, say in downtown Lansing or downtown East Lansing...

subterranean Jan 21, 2010 12:41 PM

Precisely why USGBC needs to start focusing more on LEED ND.

LMich Jan 25, 2010 10:57 AM

January 24

LMich Feb 1, 2010 7:13 AM


East Lansing Amtrak riders set record

Lansing State Journal • January 30, 2010 • From Lansing State Journal

EAST LANSING — A record number of passengers used the East Lansing stop for Amtrak’s Blue Water line during the last fiscal year.

More than 50,950 riders boarded or got off the national passenger railroad’s trains in East Lansing in fiscal year 2009 that ended Sept 30.

That accounted for 19 percent of the roughly 265,700 passengers for the Blue Water line, which runs from Port Huron to Chicago and stops in eight other Michigan cities.

Last year’s East Lansing ridership was at the highest level since the line started about 35 years ago, according to statistics released by the Michigan Department of Transportation.
The number may not sound impressive...until you consider the station that serves the area:

I can't even imagine the kind of numbers they'd get if they had a respectable station in a more central location.

EDIT: This looks to have been some bad research. FY2009 actually recorded a ridership of 52,010, not 50,950. I'm not sure where they got that number from, becauses that wasn't even the ridership for FY2008.

subterranean Feb 8, 2010 12:55 AM

The new Lansing City Market and environs (February 5, 2010)

I guess "buying local" doesn't apply to your automobile

Inside the market

I know the designer must have just said "F*#K it" on this project:
New Troppo

I know these guys are cold:

Still finding it really hard to believe that this street is opened up now that the over-road parking garage is now demoed:

LMich Feb 9, 2010 11:15 AM

Well, he's making the leap...

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, with sister Valentina Molnar on left and his wife Teri on right, kicks off his Democratic bid for governor at Detroit Chassis. (David Coates/The Detroit News)

Democrat Bernero enters Michigan gov race

Mark Hornbeck / Detroit News Lansing Bureau

February 08. 2010

Detroit -- Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero launched his Democratic run for governor today at an auto supplier plant in Detroit, promising to shun partisanship and calling for bipartisan cooperation to pull Michigan out of its economic tailspin.

The 45-year-old second-term mayor and former lawmaker said on Detroit talk radio and at the Detroit Chassis LLC plant today that what's needed is not a Democratic way or Republican way but rather "the Michigan way."

He told The Detroit News over the weekend he intends to have labor support, and will depend heavily on small contributions to finance his campaign.

And, some repleating GM jobs, but god only knows how fickle that company is. But, any kind of economic boost, if even only temporary, is great. Plus, this moved upwards of 500 folks to the area in one fell swoop:


GM brings 1,000 jobs to hard-hit area

Louis Aguilar / The Detroit News

February 09. 2010

In a throwback to an era when auto plant jobs made Michigan a land of riches, General Motors Co. intends to run its Lansing Delta Township plant day and night, Monday through Friday. GM, which plans to add a third shift at two other U.S. plants, contends it's a bold step in efficiency; some analysts say it's a risky move.

Regardless, the hiring of up to 1,000 workers for a late-night shift has created a minor boom in an area long battered by plant closings and job losses. The addition of a third shift in April will include 483 transplants from GM's Spring Hill, Tenn., assembly plant, which ended production in November.


Delta Township and Lansing share tax revenue from the plant, which is in the township.

Every auto job creates five other jobs in the community, according to the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor.

They include Delta Township suppliers that already are preparing to hire to keep up with the third shift, said Township Supervisor Kenneth Fletcher.

"The impact is almost immediate," he said.


LMich Feb 18, 2010 10:36 AM


Lansing to announce walk, bike plan

Susan Vela • • February 18, 2010

Depending on what residents say, Lansing might be getting more bike lanes throughout the city.

Lansing officials this evening will unveil a nonmotorized draft plan that could assure a more bikeable, walkable city.

According to the document, which also includes plans for more signage and connector routes, bike lanes could appear on Jolly Road and East Mt. Hope, Pennsylvania and Grand River avenues, and other main thoroughfares.

"We'll come up with a final plan in April or early May," said Andy Kilpatrick, a city traffic engineer.

He said he expects some striping and signage to begin sometime this year.

Parties shaping the final plan include the city's planning and traffic advisory boards.


The Lansing City Council last summer OK'd an ordinance aiming to designate an annual 5 percent - or approximately $400,000 - of a particular pool of state street maintenance funds to make the city more accessible to walkers and bicyclists.

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