Accident Fund Headquarters (Ottawa Street Station Redevelopment)



  • Does anybody know if there will be ground-floor retail in the redevelopment?
  • Yes, there will be ground floor retail in the 1,000 space parking ramp, but not in the building itself.
  • This is truly GREAT news.
  • edited October 2007
    "Christman will lease the new campus to Accident Fund." Interesting...

    "Demolishing the portion of the city’s Grand Avenue parking structure than spans over the street." That part alone to me would make that side of the building and the area look a lot different as right now it just kinda seems "behind the scenes" to me, etc.

    "Demolishing two buildings on the east side of the 300 block of Grand Avenue." As expected I guess, as not only will they be occupying the OSS but also building an adjacent 120,000-square-foot office building
  • Where did you see that the Grand Ave ramp would be demolished? In Accident Fund's press release they make it sound like the whole thing is coming down, which would make the most sense. So basically, from what we know now, the North Grand Ramp is being demolished, in part or in whole, the Ottawa Station will become Class A office space, there will be an additional 120,000 sq ft office building adjacent to the Station, a 1200 car parking garage, a public park, and all of this will still leave room for growth according to their press release.

    I honestly was expecting that even if the Ottawa Plant was to somehow be redeveloped, that the adjacent lot probably wouldn't be developed and that the cooling towers would remain. Now the entire site is being rehabbed, the cooling towers removed, AND the parking ramp is coming down. I can't wait to renderings and/or siteplans.
  • The quote about demolishing the portion over the street comes from here:
    Its on the right side as bullet under where it says About the Project.
  • edited October 2007
    Yeah, I do eat my words, though, the conflicting news reports I've seen leave a lot more questions than answers to me. A few observation, questions, and comments...

    1. That a historic building of this size (160,000 square feet) of of its usage (a former power station with irregular floors) will be renovated into a Class A corporate headquarters in this economy is nothing short of amazing. There is nothing of this former use and size that's ever been renovated in Michigan, I believe. I larger renovations have been former hotels or office buildings (i.e. Detroit revitalization).

    2. The local press (especially the television news) has been a bit dishonest in their press making this sound as if this is a move by a company out of the city or even out of the area, when, in fact, this is simply moving a few blocks from their current headquarters downtown, leaving one huge empty headquarters building, and a few smaller ones they own and/or occupy. The LSJ was the only news source that seems to reported this, and even they are reporting this deep into the article as if it's not big deal. It's a huge deal, and as optimistic as Bob is that the former headquarters will find new tenants, let us not forget he is specifically paid to be optimistic.

    3. Though, I'm happy to see the station renovated considering as how there has been talk for years of bringing it down, I'm still hugely disappointed that the station couldn't have been turned into some live-work-play concept, and Accident Fund simply build their new headquarters next to the station allowing retail, condos, and other better uses in the historic building that would have opened it up to the public.

    4. The parking situation is confusing me. The LSJ, today, says that part of the North Grand Parking Complex will be torn down; the part, specifically, that overhangs Grand, which is excellent. That monster has been oversized for far too long. But, yesterday, tv media was reporting that they'd need a new 1,000 space garage, but the LSJ does not show this on any of the siteplan for the area. I'd like to here how they are incorporating the new garage into the complex.

    5. The additional 100,000+ square feet of space being constructed should be very interesting to see. Hopefully, it doesn't look cheap.

    All in all, this is definitely more good than bad, but it's still not ideal. But, city leaders feel (and rightfully so to a certain extent), that they'll take anything they can get in this economy.

    RandyH, would you happen to be the same Randy in the mayor's office?
  • BTW, just reading a mid-day update at, and it looks like the city is pusing to finally make Grand two-ways again; this is another plus.
  • Couple responses to the points above:

    - I think it's probably fair to say Accident Fund wasn't going to pull its HQ out of Michigan, especially since it's a subsidiary of the Detroit-based Blues. But I think there is something to the notion that AF could have left downtown or, worse yet, grown in New Berlin, Wisc., where it has a subsidiary that has a lot of potential space to grow into. In fact, if not for the relationship with the Blues, which has a reputation of doing some interesting things in urban areas, I don't know if AF ever would have considered this deal.

    - The new parking ramp would be built on the site, along with the new office building, to the north of the plant. Accident Fund so far has only put forward a tiny drawing of the plant with a grey box next to it showing conceptually where stuff would go. Stay tuned.

    - After years of grandiose ideas about what to put in the plant, being disappointed in an office building is understandable. But if anything else was doable, why didn't anyone ever do it? Let's all put that behind us and focus on lobbying for AF to put AT LEAST a cafe or two on the ground floor along the new riverfront park. That would be a great feature for the riverfront, and for AF's workers.
  • LMich, in fact there was a very real chance that AF would have left downtown Lansing if this deal had not come together. They are on a fast growth track and need more space ASAP. The fact that they stuck with it long enough to make this happen is a testament to their commitment to this city and this state.

    As for live-work-play, the numbers just don't work and never will. As jwswrites astutely observes, if anything else was doable it would have already been done. Remember we put out a NATIONAL RFP asking for proposals and got only two letters of interest. Fortunately it only takes one. :) The ONLY way to make the numbers work is for a major anchor tenant to take over the whole thing. That's what we've done.

    Yes, that would be me. And if you ever again suggest that Bob Trezise's shop is in disarray, I will have no choice but to assail you with all manner of very personal insults. ;-) Bob is a freaking genius and his ED team ROCKS. BTW, you ain't seen nothing yet. Stay tuned.

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