Kewadin Casino

edited January 2012 in Lansing
Plans were announced today for a 245 million dollar casino located next to the Lansing Center.



Links to more information:
Detroit Free Press
Lansing State Journal
Detroit News


  • Here is a link to a flythrough video of the casino. The video shows that the casino would start at Michigan Ave and have the same depth as Cooley Law School Stadium.
  • I'm not exactly happy to see that plot of land used up for a casino, I think a less appealing piece of land would do, perhaps the City's parking lot on Kalamazoo between Cedar and Larch. I do like the look of the casino, and I do like the way that it fills up the land next to the Lansing Center. I also like that there looks like there is a small building at the corner of Michigan and Cedar for a restaurant or some retail. What I don't understand is how they aren't going to build a hotel with it, I hope that they are making plans to partner with someone to get a hotel built if this thing goes through.
  • They aren't going to put a hotel with it, because they don't want to piss off the Radisson, as has been the issue with getting any new hotel in downtown Lansing for years. Particularly, a hotel that posts embarrassingly low occupancy rates. I saw the general manager of the Radisson on the news, this morning, and he was all for the project, and I bet you getting their support for the project was contigent upon their not being an extra competitor in the mix.

    Strictly on the design, I'm very pleasantly surprised with how they fit it into the narrow space. It fills the space quite nicely. I'd have probably liked it more if they'd have oriented it on the corner of Michigan and Cedar instead of City Market Drive and Cedar, putting the parking garage closer to the City Market, but it seems that at least they'll fill the corner with a small building to kind of hide the effect of the parking garage.

    If this gets off the ground, filling the space behind the Lansing Center with this new casino, the city market, and market place would create quite a node of development, and this could finally become a kind of central meeting place and entertainment district for the region.
  • The Radisson is a joke in my eyes, I don't like how the city has catered to them in the past and I can only hope (maybe I'm too optimistic) that the City is giving their opinion too much weight now.

    I agree that this along with Gillespie's developments will do big things for the area on the east side of the river. Perhaps if this goes through the Stadium District will become a true extension of downtown rather than seeming so isolated from the west side of the river.

    I'm really wondering what the chances are that this casino will actually happen though. I've been under the impression that there's virtually no chance that this will happen, but I have to wonder why Bernero and the Sault tribe would invest so much work into this if they though it was a futile effort. Maybe they know something we don't, or maybe they just figure that the potential benefits are so great that it's worth a shot.
  • The popular opinion is that they came out with this huge public spectacle to build public support for the project. It was kind of a pre-emptive strike so that if this thing fails, it won't be because of the tribe's and mayor's lack of effort and the right people will get blamed. It really was a brilliant roll-out. They want to create the impression that this is possible, so that the opposition will have to try and roll back the proposal instead of the city kind of whimpering and crawling out timidly and then it getting rolled back and looking like the city's fault for proposing something so grandiose and unlikely. Bernero made very clear in the media, today, that he knows what he's up against, and that much of the project is out of his hands, so I don't think they know something we don't. I think they were just trying to do a shock-and-awe campaign to be on the offensive out of the gate, instead of the defensive.
  • You're probably right, too bad public opinion doesn't much matter unless you can get the entire State behind you...
  • Yeah, it's kind of horrible to say, but local public opinion doesn't mean anything to the state, regardless of who is in control of state government (though, there is definitely one party more receptive to local concerns than the other). The state never listens to its cities. If they had, they wouldn't have been gutting revenue sharing back to municipalities for years. We've yet to have a governor and legislature that cares about the intimate goings-on of cities, unfortunately.
  • Yeah it sucks, I would like to see powers allocated to the smallest levels of government as is practical. Things seem to be going in the opposite direction though.
  • There are several documents on file for the Kewadin Casino: City of Lansing - Documents placed on file

    The one with the most details is the "Comprehensive Development Agreement."
  • edited January 2012
    Of those documents, the one that stuck out most to me is the city extending Marketplace deadline to start construction, as if we need more delay, and for a pretty flimsy reason if you ask me. Kind of disappointed to see that. Construction doesn't have to begin on Marketplace, now, until June 1, 2014, so that's basically another year-and-a-half they are going to let Gillespie dilly-dally around. They put in this piece about if the deal fails then construction has to begin when previously agreed to (January 1st of next year), but even in the worst case scenario of the failing, I'd imagine it wouldn't be until next year.

    BTW, noticed this little nugget near the beginning of the comprehensive development agreement for the casino:
    Upon completion of the Showcase Casino Facility, the Tribe intends to either begin construction of a "boutique casino" in place of the temporary casino on the Corner Parcel or endeavor to work with the City to reach a mutually agreeable re-use of the Corner Parcel.

    Looks like the tribe, indeed, wants to develop a hotel on the corner of Michigan and Cedar (the "Corner Parcel") when/if the main casino is completed. Even if they only want to develop a boutique hotel on that parcel, the parcel is small enough that the building would have to be substantial, vertically. Interesting.

    What I also found interesting is that the plan is to sell the city garage immediately north of and adjacent to the stadium to the developer to be demolished and turn it into a street:
    Prior to the Tribe's Commencement of Construction, as defined in Article 1 below, of the Showcase Casino Facility, the Parties have proposed the sale of the City Maintenance Garage Parcel to the Developer for fair market value. Subsequent to acquiring title, the Developer would demolish the current City Maintenance Garage and construct an approximately Ninety (90) foot public right ofway connecting N. Cedar Street and S. Larch Street that would be conveyed to the City for use and dedication as a public right of way.

    I've always thought there should be more block-long streets connecting Cedar and Larch through this area, but there was never really the need as far as the car was concerned if even pedestrian ways were always needed through this "island".

    But, here is the problem: After the 400 space garage the casino wants immediately south of the casino, the developer wants a monster 2,500-space garage immediately north of the stadium, too.
    To accommodate the increased need for parking in the immediate vicinity of the Showcase Casino Facility, the Developer, with the possibility of other private third parties, proposes construction of an approximately Two Thousand Five Hundred (2,500) space parking ramp north of Cooley Law School Stadium.

    This seems like parking overkill, to me, and it also totally displaces/nullifies plans for Ballpark North. If the city really wants another parking garage, why not place is down on Museum Drive where Impression 5 and the rest area? You'd be able to hide it, better, and traffic wouldn't become a nightmare. I can only imagine pedestrians having to deal with auto traffice on Cedar, Larch and Shiawassee with a 300-space garage literally across the street from a 2,500-space garage.
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