Oliver Towers redevelopment

edited August 2011 in Lansing
It's official, Davenport intends on moving to the Oliver Towers site: Davenport eyes Lansing land swap

Davenport plans on building a 3 floor, 60k sq ft building on the parking lot to the north of Oliver Towers. They said that if approved, work could begin as early as this winter.
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Comments

  • I'm glad there is finally a plan with the site, and I'm willing to support just about anything to get this site back in use. It'd be really cool, though, if they could find some way -- with the site being so large, at all -- to include a small apartment building site, maybe the same height as the school building. LCC students would fill the thing up before it was even finished to have housing so close to campus. lol
  • An article today from LSJ: Davenport proposal has support on City Council

    City Pulse article on the project: Oliver Twist

    City Pulse article on the history of Oliver Towers: The saga of Oliver Towers

    Lmich, I agree that there needs to be some new housing targeted at LCC students downtown and this site would be a great for that purpose. That being said, I doubt we'll see any housing on this site as Davenport will probably want their own parking and room for expansion. Hopefully some student housing will get built somewhere in the area though.
  • Davenport vs. LCC: Both want property

    I hope this doesn't become a big issue. It's simple in my eyes: Davenport has immediate plans to build on the site and the means to do so, LCC doesn't have any immediate plans. Davenport is a private university looking to relocate, they could easily move to the suburbs, LCC can't. This is besides the fact that LCC has a fair amount of room to expand on their current land, and in my opinion would be better off expanding north and west. I hope the city either sides with Davenport or that LCC and Davenport and work this out among themselves.
  • edited September 2011
    LCC ought to be ashamed. This is pure politics. Oliver Towers has been empty for over 10 years and the adjacent city lot has been there forever, so now when the mayor seals a deal with another college they are going to try and embarrass him. How they think doing this is going to give them any chance of getting that site is beyond me, so it seems pretty clear to me they are coming out now to try to do some PR damage to the city.

    Hey LCC, why don't you build on one of your ridiculously large surface lots you're building all over downtown? I mean, that what you said the lot behind the University Center would eventually be used for, right? There is something going on behind the scenes that we didn't hear about. I expect much more of them than this. Now, as this is set up, you're going to get Wood and Jeffries and Hewitt arguing that we should take the money as opposed to the land. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that one of them is behind this.
  • I agree that the deal with Davenport should continue. LCC can expand into their surface lots or could always expand up.
  • edited August 2013
    Looks like the Lansing Housing Commission, fresh from moving to the old Davenport campus (LCC won that battle), is going to hold a few open houses for Oliver Towers before they decide on whether to put out a formal RFP according to the Lansing City Pulse.
    The open houses are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sept. 3 and 5 at 310 Seymour Ave. downtown. The building lacks electricity, and the Housing Commission is asking participants to sign a waiver before walking through due to liability issues and to bring a flashlight.

    The Housing Commission has planned to move out of the building for years. Various redevelopment plans have surfaced since a fire in February 2000 made most of the building uninhabitable. None of those were successful. Built in 1968, the eight-story high-rise building served as subsidized housing for about 100 apartments for low-income senior citizens.

    I still have a lot of hope for this location. This is located two blocks north of the capitol building. There is SO much you could do with this property. You've got state workers you could market to, LCC students, and just downtown workers, in general.

    What would you guys think would work best at the site? Also, do you think they should reconstruct the building, or demolish and just work with the site?
  • That is good news -- one small step forward for that property. I would like to see anything that brings more people living downtown. Retail on the first floor or two, 4+ stories of residential above. Something similar to the Stadium District or eventual Marketplace. That would seem like more of the same, but I often hear one of the problems with downtown Lansing is the lack of residents downtown.

    In another sense, perhaps it would be more appropriate for LCC to purchase the property and eventually redevelop. As LCC opposed Davenport acquiring the property a couple years ago.
  • As much sense as it might make for LCC to purchase and use the sight, that idea kind of makes me nervous. They haven't exactly been good stewards of the properties they already own downtown. Why give them another plot they might level and turn into a parking lot?

    I really think the existing structure has to come down. Any reuse would probably require such an extensive retrofit that the cost associated would make tearing it down and rebuilding more attractive.
  • You know, while I think it's my preference to see something new on the site, I don't think this would be hard to reconstruct, especially for student-centered housing given that you have 100 what I imagine are one-room apartments. If I remember correctly, only the first floor ever caught on fire, so while their is smoke and water damage, it's mostly confined to the ground floor, I think. You could easily strip off the ugly facade and build up something attractive around the concrete structure.

    The city really made a mistake when they sold the city parking lot next door. That was LCC's way of trying to control what happens at both sites. I bet their reasoning behind it was that the city would eventually sell them the towers, too, now that they've broken the block. What I did find interesting - and I'm not sure if this was always the case - but the city lot next door has two different zoning classifications. The west half of the lot is zoned "DM-4" (the highest density residential), and the eastern half of the lot is zoned "Apartment Shop", which is a classification that allows for mixed-use development, but with a slightly lower residential density than the "DM-4" classification next door. Again, can't remember if this is left-over zoning from when Gillespie tried to develop on the site years ago, or if this is something that came with the selling of the parking lot.
  • Well, looks like LCC is back to try and take the second bite of the apple according to a story in the LSJ, today. And STILL they have no definitive plan beyond hoarding the land offering that in the long run, they want it for institutional space. Honestly, we've had enough folks squat on properties downtown, but it seems the city actually initiated this, so they'll probably get it this time since the city is so desperate for one-time cash infusions.
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