Mid-Michigan Mulling: Lansing's Next Tallest

edited December 2012 in Lansing
My interest in urban issues actually started out as an interest in skyscrapers, so I'd always asked "what if" about Lansing's next tallest building. As you all know, the Olds Tower (now the Boji Tower) has dominated the Lansing skyline for over 80 years at a rather stumpy height of 297 feet to the roof and 23 floors. Thanks to its thin profile, soaring antenna tower, and its location on a slight rise in elevation, downtown, it looks signifanctly taller and it's why for years it was always credited with being taller than it was.

Anyway, whenever the city does get it's next tallest, how tall do you think it should be? What should it look like? What should be its use? Where do you think it should rise in the city?

Given that metros this size usually have taller towers, I imagine something approximately 38 floors and 450 feet in height. I'd locate it in the empty lot in front of Constitution Hall directly southwest of the capitol building, so that it wouldn't be blocked in the skyline from important views from the east or south. It'd be mostly office space given the perpetually low vacancy rates for Class A office space in the region, but would include a small podium of retail space given the size of that lot. I imagine something glassy and flat-topped, no spire so as not to compete with the capitol's graceful finnial; it could possibly be tiered near the top.

A new tallsest is possible, even something in the 300-foot range is. But it'd take banks willing to take a chance on providing credit and probably outside developers since we don't exactly seem to have local developers with the skill to put something like this together, anymore, for whatever reason. But, I'm getting the itch, again, to see something like this after years of content with things like a walkable and cohesive inner-city. We seem to be on that track, so now it's time to think and dream big, again.

I also want to see something on the surface parking lot at Capitol & Michigan, but something much shorter than what I proposed, something not any taller than the capitol.

Tell me your ideas for Lansing's next tallest building.


  • I think the corner of Grand and Michigan (the surface lot) is a natural place for something tall. It would also fit well into the existing "skyline" at that location. I'm not sure the parking lot it self is large enough to support a big building, but that ugly low-rise brick building that runs along Grand could go. It might be tough to support ground floor retail along the Grand side of the lot, but the Michigan side should be ok. It's close to Troppo, the Raddison, the LC, etc.

    I think anything that big would invariably have to be built on the west side of the river. Something that tall on the other side just wouldn't fit in.

    Do you think Lansing would need a new core business tenant to anchor such a building, or is there someone already in the area that could support a large chunk of new office space?
  • edited December 2012
    The Grand-Michigan lot is actually about the same size as the Boji Tower lot, so there is no question it could fit something tall, particularly if the building at the corner of Grand and Allegan was brought down, which would more than double the size of the lot.

    I was kind of thinking about an anchor tenant, though, I think you could get something built at that location less than 300-feet on speculative space. It's really too bad that, say, Dart is expanding its HQs out in Mason. On speculation, the East Lansing developers that were to develop the Lenawee off of Reutter Park were talking 160,000 square feet of office spae. At the right spot, that could easily be a building of nearly 300 feet. But, yeah, to get something really tall, we'd need and anchor in addition to the speculative space.
  • It would have been great to have Jackson National Life build a tower at Grand and Michigan instead of their new building out in Alaiedon Township.
  • edited May 2013
    It's funny, when I heard the news of their announcement the other night, I was hoping against hope that they'd announce they'd be opening something downtown, but I knew all along that they were going to expand at their headquarters. That had always been the plan, and the reason why the city went into a second 425 land-sharing agreement with the township a few years back.

    But, honestly, it's over half-a-million square feet in the total combined complex when it's all said and down. That would have been a legitimate skyscraper had they done this downtown.
  • Yep, that and a considerable parking garage too. Instead they have large surface lot and need to continue to extend infrastructure.
  • Yes, there use to be a day when the pride of a corporation was their logo raised in the downtown skyline. Any chance of the fever return to our downtown?
  • Mrlansing, you are exceptionally good at finding duplicate threads. Sigh... (see http://develop.metrolansing.com/forum/comments.php?DiscussionID=151 for the other thread)
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