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  #121  
Old Posted Feb 18, 2010, 5:23 PM
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How is Lansing doing these days, economically?
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  #122  
Old Posted Feb 18, 2010, 6:24 PM
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Originally Posted by uaarkson View Post
How is Lansing doing these days, economically?
Although Lansing has had its fair share of closings, layoffs and downsizing, the area tends to be relatively recession resistant due to it being the center of state government and also home to Michigan State University. A Cadillac plant still operates here, and production of the Chevrolet Traverse is being relocated to Lansing as well. Lansing has a thriving insurance industry. At 11.7% unemployment, you might think that sounds kind of steep. But given that Michigan's unemployment rate has been between 7% and 9% for years, and that Detroit's is closing in on 30%, we haven't faired too poorly.

I have a suspicion that Michigan is going to come out of this recession quite a bit leaner and meaner. We just need Wyoming to keep mopping up our unemployed blue collar workers.
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  #123  
Old Posted Feb 19, 2010, 9:23 AM
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Originally Posted by uaarkson View Post
How is Lansing doing these days, economically?
I had started a thread tracking unemployment by county and metro, but I'm not sure how far down it's sunk. See if you can find it before I do. It has some useful information in it.

It really depends on the factors used. On one hand, the employment base has fallen like every Michigan city, and unemployment has increased just like everywhere else. Despite this, Metro Lansing's GDP growth (2005-2008) was only second to Battle Creek, and tied with Kalamazoo.

I guess you could say that we've been able to hang onto what we had better than most, but state government and GM employment are down significantly from the beginning of the decades, and that's made the area significantly poorer than it once was. But, to go back to the good, the areas been able to keep crime under control despite this economic and socially upheaval. It's really a mixed bag, but definitely not the death spiral some other communities in the state have felt over the last few decades. The central city didn't really begin to fall off in population until the 1990's, when most began to lose their's percipitously in the 50's or 60's.
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  #124  
Old Posted Feb 19, 2010, 1:03 PM
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Although I essentially agree with everything LMich has said, I've definitely noticed an up tick in crime the last couple years. I don't have the numbers to support that, but the papers are reporting more violent or weird crimes. The ones that stick out are the shootings, but just last week someone left a bag of "deer organs" inside a locker room at Fitness USA. Forreal? Who does that?
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  #125  
Old Posted Feb 19, 2010, 7:01 PM
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Lol, that's not crime. That's just classic Michigan redneck behavior.
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  #126  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2010, 5:39 AM
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Overall crime is almost exactly what it was back near the beginning of the decade.

Violent crime for the city was 1,130 per 100,000 in 2001 and 1,032 per 100,000 in 2008. Aggravated assault is down pretty significantly from 940 to 806; rape is down 178 to 95 over the same period. Homicides are fairly consistent, when taking out the 2007 (the year the serial killer went on his spree), muders have generally ranged between 8 and 11. In 2000, we actually had 14. Robbery is actually up, though.

Property crime is down significantly, overall. Burglary is up significantly; larceny/theft is down significantly; auto theft is down significantly, as is arson down, as well.

All in all, crime has been holding pretty steady despite the significant loss in wealth. And, when compared to the 80's and early 90's, the difference is actually night and day.
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  #127  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2010, 2:43 AM
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Lansing was home for the first 7 years of my life, and it's always felt like a very safe city.
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  #128  
Old Posted Feb 25, 2010, 9:10 AM
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http://statenews.com/index.php/artic..._st_albert_ave

Quote:

Developer proposes 8-story complex at Grove St., Albert Ave. (East Lansing)

By Zack Colman | The State News

Feb 25, 2010

The corner of Grove Street and Albert Avenue could be the location of a new eight-story multi-use apartment complex.

David Krause, the developer of the proposed building that would be adjacent to the Grove Street Parking Garage, said the bottom floor of the building would be zoned for commercial use and could house the city’s proposed restaurant incubator. The upper seven floors would be primarily two-bedroom, 1,100-square-foot apartments with one and a half bathrooms and will be available on a rental basis.

“We’ve been thinking about this for a long, long time now,” said Krause, who — along with partner Douglas Cron — developed Albert Place Condominiums and Stonehouse Village in downtown East Lansing. “(East Lansing city officials) asked us to redevelop the corner, and we thought, ‘Well, we’ll get a plan going.’”

A submitted site plan will go before the East Lansing Planning Commission at its March 10 meeting.

Krause said the earliest the project would start is May 2011, when the leases for the tenants occupying the two properties he owns at the location expire. Since Krause owns the two properties, the city would not have to go through the hurdles of property acquisition it encountered with the City Center II and East Village projects.

...
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  #129  
Old Posted Feb 25, 2010, 5:06 PM
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Wow, Krause seems awfully nonchalant about this...as though he were thinking about changing the wallpaper in his bathroom.
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  #130  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2010, 10:11 AM
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I was surprised to hear from this article that there are now about 40 different restaurants in the downtown area:

Quote:

Lansing downtown eatery selections cooking up


Melissa Domsic • mdomsic@lsj.com • March 10, 2010 • From Lansing State Journal

A pizzeria and smoothie shop are the latest restaurants to arrive in what is something of a dining hotspot in downtown Lansing.

Edens Juice and Geno's Pizzeria plan to open this month. They will join several privately owned eateries that have opened, moved or expanded in downtown's entertainment district in the past several months. In all, the downtown area has about 40 restaurants.

Geno's Pizzeria is set to open early this month at 208 S. Washington Square.

Co-owner Geno Abbey had been running Izzo's Pizzeria in the nearby REO Town business district, but closed it last fall when he couldn't renew the lease.

Business was good, though, and Abbey wanted a larger spot in downtown Lansing.

"I think downtown is really developing and making headway in the grand scheme of things," he said.

...
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  #131  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2010, 6:21 AM
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Looks like Campus Martius is inspiring Lansing to go for a all-seasons ice-rink:

Quote:



Shipping and Skating

by Neal McNamara | Lansing City Pulse

March 15, 2010

A $500,000 ice rink near the new City Market may be in Lansing’s future.

The Lansing Tax Increment Finance Authority has applied for a $100,000 grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to build a year-round rink, which would be partially covered. The remaining $400,000 would come from revenues from the TIFA. The TIFA captures taxes in the district and reserves them for uses such as infrastructure or public improvements. The TIFA board on March 5 approved the use of $400,000 for the rink.

Bob Tresize, CEO of the Lansing Economic Development Corp., said the rink would help continue to create a “sense of place” in the downtown area.

Trezise said the MEDC will announce grant awards on April 1. The MEDC only has available $400,000 in grants.

Trezise said that the rink would be recreational as opposed to one that could accommodate ice hockey and would resemble Campus Martius in downtown Detroit. He emphasized that the rink would be an attraction to City Market shoppers and anyone traveling that part of the river trail. He envisioned the rink as a symbol of Lansing’s vibrancy, especially for the Accident Fund Insurance Co., which is creating its new campus-like headquarters just across the Grand River. The rink would also be just to the west of local developer Pat Gillespie’s proposed Market Place development, which is set to replace the old City Market.

The rink would be 4,200 square feet, kidney shaped and made of synthetic plastic tiles. In the arch of the kidney would be a fire pit or water feature, according to plans.

he downtown Principal Shopping District would be charged with maintaing the rink. It financed a $4,500 preliminary engineering study for the rink.

“It would be the first year-round rink in the state,” said Mindy Biladeau, director of the Principal Shopping District.

Biladeau said that, if the grant is awarded, construction could be complete by this year’s Silver Bells celebration in November. The rink would be free to use, though ice skate rentals would not, Biladeau said.
Lansing's attempt to land Google's new service...

Quote:

Lansing tries to rank high for Google

Melissa Domsic • mdomsic@lsj.com • March 18, 2010 • From Lansing State Journal

Although Lansing doesn't have plans to rename itself "Googleville," residents are rallying to gain the Internet search giant's attention.

The city and neighboring municipalities are vying to become one of Google Inc.'s test sites for its new broadband fiber network it claims will provide Internet access at speeds 100 times faster than what's generally available.

Advocates plan to hold a rally and town hall-style meeting from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. today at the East Lansing Hannah Community Center. They will answer questions about the program and what it would mean for the Lansing area. They also will offer ideas on how to participate in the campaign.

...

The city and neighboring municipalities are vying to become one of Google Inc.'s test sites for its new broadband fiber network it claims will provide Internet access at speeds 100 times faster than what's generally available.

Advocates plan to hold a rally and town hall-style meeting from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. today at the East Lansing Hannah Community Center. They will answer questions about the program and what it would mean for the Lansing area. They also will offer ideas on how to participate in the campaign.

...

The area's efforts to woo Google aren't as seemingly farfetched as some other towns - such as Topeka, Kan., which temporarily renamed itself Google.

"I'm not jumping in a dunk tank. I'm not naming my first-born 'Google' or 'Googlette,' " said Lansing City Councilwoman Kathie Dunbar, who's working with officials from East Lansing and Delta, Lansing and Meridian townships on an official application to Google.

Supporters in Lansing do have one gimmick up their sleeves: an advocate who is touring town with a life-size cutout of Google co-founder and East Lansing native Larry Page.

Page's alma mater, East Lansing High School, plans to hold a "Google Day" on Wednesday as part of the push to land the area test-site status.

...
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  #132  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2010, 12:31 PM
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All the cities in Michigan should sign on to Flint receiving the link. No one needs a shot in the arm like Flint.
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  #133  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2010, 6:13 PM
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It wouldn't work for Flint. It lacks an adequate test demographic.
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  #134  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2010, 7:47 AM
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****

Quote:


Cold weather rafting down the Grand River | Dave Trumpie

Lansing Dives Into Adventure Travel

Gretchen Cochran | Lansing Area Capital Gains

3/17/2010

As the rubber rafts slid into Lansing’s Grand River in early February, vapor rose above the river. The scene launched the maiden voyage of Green Planet Extreme Adventure Tours, a new company in Okemos, and appealed to the 13 hardy/crazy souls braving a 10-degree wind chill to raft their way down the river to Grand Ledge.

The growing adventure travel industry is seen as a way to help Michigan diversify its economy and keep more young talent. And it's catching on in the Capital region and across Michigan.

...

Lansing’s Hawk Island Triathlon, scheduled for June 6, is another good example of the adventure travel trend.

Organized by the South Lansing Community Development Association, the Hawk-I-Tri has been around for four years. Attendance has grown from 250 its first year to a projected 800 this year, which will top out the parking facilities at Ingham County’s Hawk Island Park. Most of those 800 will bring family and/or friends.

Lansing Councilwoman Kathie Dunbar, the event's director, says Causeway Bay, the event’s official hotel, sold out of its reserved 23-room-block last year, and rooms were booked at seven other hotels and area campgrounds. Racers came from 12 states and Canada.

Hospitality is not the only category seeing benefits. Spin Street Bicycles in Old Town now carries specialized triathlon bikes. ZZ Underwater World now carries lightweight wetsuits recommended for beginning tri-athletes. Playmakers, the area’s popular running store, has reserved 50 slots for the upcoming race and is hosting specific training programs targeting triathletes.

“People said developing a triathlon would be recession-proof,” Dunbar recalls. Still, she and her helpers were relieved to see the event nearly quadruple in size. Last year it cleared $35,000.



...
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  #135  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2010, 11:44 AM
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It wouldn't work for Flint. It lacks an adequate test demographic.

Huh? That is a straight up bunk assumption. Genessee County has 429,000 people, not all of which are poor.
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  #136  
Old Posted Mar 20, 2010, 4:21 AM
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Construction is well underway, now, on Accident Fund's giant-assed parking garage...



As for Google, just about every city applying for it fits the technical requirements for the service. That's not at issue. And, Hayward being from Saginaw of all places, I think he knows that "Genessee County has 429,000 people, not all of which are poor." but his point was a pretty good one. Truth is, that I don't think it's unsafe to assume at all that Google is going to seriously only consider university towns and/or towns with considerably more economic activity (and towns with a potentially stable/growing customer base) than say a Flint, and I say that as a fan of the place. To be honest, Ann Arbor and Lansing/East Lansing are probably the only ones in Michigan being seriously considered, and they probably aren't the tops. Places like Topeka can forget about it.
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  #137  
Old Posted Mar 21, 2010, 2:28 PM
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Construction is well underway, now, on Accident Fund's giant-assed parking garage...



As for Google, just about every city applying for it fits the technical requirements for the service. That's not at issue. And, Hayward being from Saginaw of all places, I think he knows that "Genessee County has 429,000 people, not all of which are poor." but his point was a pretty good one. Truth is, that I don't think it's unsafe to assume at all that Google is going to seriously only consider university towns and/or towns with considerably more economic activity (and towns with a potentially stable/growing customer base) than say a Flint, and I say that as a fan of the place. To be honest, Ann Arbor and Lansing/East Lansing are probably the only ones in Michigan being seriously considered, and they probably aren't the tops. Places like Topeka can forget about it.


I was born and raised in Saginaw, too, so I think I know a little bit about the region...and I've actually got a good 5 years on that youngster, Hayward.

Your points are for the most part true, but I never said Flint was without its issues. Flint is becoming more and more of a university town everyday. All I said was that Flint could use it more and that Flint has a large metro population that could support it, and I stand behind that. It's urbanized population is bigger than both Ann Arbor (by almost 85,000) and Lansing (by 65,000), there are research jobs there, a student body, major community development groups and foundations, a major hospital. Flint is obviously not going to win, but neither is Lansing, and most likely not Ann Arbor unless Larry has some nostalgic whim.
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  #138  
Old Posted Mar 21, 2010, 10:29 PM
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It's not all about income, rather the diversity and demands of internet usage. The needs of businesses, students, and residents need to be tested to their full potential. Lansing or Ann Arbor are perfect places. If you understand the IT infrastructure already in place, you'd know the demands google is anticipating would never be reached in Saginaw or Flint.
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  #139  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2010, 6:41 AM
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Originally Posted by subterranean View Post
I was born and raised in Saginaw, too, so I think I know a little bit about the region...
Everyone knows that. To be clear, my reply to your post was to make sure -- if you didn't already know -- that no one implied that Metro Flint is filled with nothing but low-income residents, and to remind you and everyone else that Hayward isn't some clueless outsider making a generalization or even an incorrect observation.

Anyway...looks like our town clock is getting a make-over.

Quote:


Melot: Downtown icon will retain look

March 21, 2010

Meet the new clock, same as the old clock.

I doubt Lansing businessman Ron Boji was inspired by The Who's recent Super Bowl halftime performance in deciding the immediate future for the Boji Tower's iconic clock.

Nevertheless, Boji has decided the aging and glitch-plagued clock will continue to look pretty much as it has since R.E. Olds had it installed on his building 60 or so years ago.

That's a surprising, but laudable, shift in direction from a year ago.

In the spring of 2009, Boji said he was having trouble finding parts to keep the timepiece fully functional. He was "very much looking at different options."

After meeting with him, what I thought was the leading option was to replace the clock face with a digital screen to project a clock - and other images, perhaps even advertising.

But Lansing had good fortune, in that Boji decided to solicit some opinions. He commissioned a series of interviews (full disclosure: I was one of the interviewed) to gauge community reaction to potential changes.

Judging from the report, many interviewees had reactions similar to mine: The clock is great; keep it intact as much as possible.

Boji acknowledged that very thing this week: "Overwhelmingly, the feedback we received was to preserve the current look of the clock in whatever updates are necessary. We've come up with a solution that does just that."

According to a Boji spokesman, the plan is to "update the inner workings of the clock and to refurbish the exterior this summer. The work will include changing out some of the internal mechanisms that make the clock move, and doing some work to the lighting elements on the clock."

Doug Johnson, president of the local historical society, is nodding approval, too. "I think the plan of action outlined by the Boji representative is very satisfying. There has been a recent recurrence of discussion about Lansing's sense of place: whether it has one, needs one, needs a stronger one, a different one, whatever. The Boji tower clock is a key part of giving us a firm sense of place," he said Friday. "In addition, in these days of cell phone antennae, microwave dishes, and other high tech hardware, it is satisfying to look at the peak of our tallest building and see something that doesn't say 'technobabble.'"

As a fan of neon, I do see a lingering worry: changes to the lights.

Boji and his people have said repeatedly that keeping the neon operating has been tough, so they are looking for a modern replacement that looks like neon. I prefer the real thing, but that's a small price to pay if it helps preserve the overall look of Lansing's signature building for the next 60 years.
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  #140  
Old Posted Mar 28, 2010, 5:10 AM
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Slowly but surely...

Quote:

Stadium District nearly full 2 years after opening

Melissa Domsic • mdomsic@lsj.com • March 27, 2010

The Stadium District building is nearing full capacity almost two years after opening in downtown Lansing.

One commercial spot and three condominiums remain open in the nearly $13 million building that opened in May 2008 at the southeast corner of Michigan Avenue and South Cedar Street.

...

A restaurant and bar operator from the Chicago area has a letter of intent to lease the last 4,125 square feet of the 36,000-square-foot commercial space, said developer Pat Gillespie of East Lansing-based Gillespie Group.

He wouldn't release the name of the potential tenant, but said "it's something Lansing doesn't have."


...

The building has 20 condominiums and 30 apartments. The apartments are rented, 10 condos have been sold and another seven are rented.

The last three condos are for sale, Gillespie said.

Two-bedroom condos range from $199,000 to $247,900.

...

Gillespie has two other mixed-use developments in the works for Lansing.

He plans to raze the old city market in the next few weeks to make way for Market Place, an $18-$24 million project with retail, office and residential space.

Gillespie hopes to start construction by the end of 2010 and open the first residential building by late 2011.

Another $18-$24 million mixed-use complex called Ball Park North is planned for the area just north of Cooley Law School Stadium and east of Market Place. Construction would start after work on Market Place is under way.
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