Taller Buildings

edited December 2014 in Lansing
Ive lived in Lansing my whole life. I've had the privilege to travel to other states doing music these past few years. One of the things I've noticed about other cities I've performed in is taller buildings draw the people in. Why is it Lansing is afraid to build tall? Are we not running out of room? I love going to Grand Rapids, Detroit (add dilapidated as it is), Indianapolis, Chicago, Minneapolis....and admiring the architecture of these taller buildings. It's what makes tourists snap photos. I feel like we need something more than the law building with the clock on it. All these housing additions are wonderful, but it seems to be a shot in the dark as lots of college students graduate and leave the state.

Does anyone know of companies looking to build in Lansing that would build tall?


  • The problem is that it's not really the tall buildings that bring the people, it's all sorts of positive things that go into creating a market where tall buildings are feasible. Lansing doesn't seem to be at that point yet, but I think it's getting close. Lansing will almost certainly never have 40 or 50 floor buildings, but I'm with you in hoping that we see some taller construction at some point. If we're lucky we'll get a handful of buildings in the 10 to 20 floor range in the relatively near future, if things catch on we may see a new tallest building go up in the next decade or two.

    With all that being said, the synergy that could be created along Michigan/Grand River with nodes at downtown Lansing, East Lansing and Frandor could really be a wild card. If development takes off the way I suspect it could, we may be in for a construction boom that rivals or surpasses that of Ann Arbor or even Grand Rapids. If that corridor reaches its potential it will do wonders for the entire region and we may see more and taller buildings sooner than any of us probably would've hoped for.
  • That would be really nice. I could definitely live with the construction of 10-20 story buildings! Lately I've heard of all kinds of housing developments, yet people are leaving the area because it's hard to find solid work if your career isn't in automotive, or the handful of other areas this cities employment sector accommodates. We are in dire need of a few "domino effect" developments. That casino would be one, as it not only caters to construction employment....but also businesses seeing a rise in revenue in the surrounding area (gas stations, convenience stores, restaurants...etc) and a demand for more companies that would draw people to downtown...hence...more construction. If they built taller buildings, lots of these businesses could share the same building, allow for more space downtown with a parking lot under, or right next to the building. This city is coming along, I'm just waiting for the day when companies build here and more people move to Lansing as a result of.
  • I think some domino effect projects have already happened, the Accident Fund headquarters and Knapps are a huge one-two punch landed for downtown, eliminating the last two large empty and outdated buildings downtown. In REO Town the new power plant and streetscaping look like they were the real tipping point, renovated buildings almost outnumber unrenovated ones and things continue to improve. Last, but not least, for the eastside there's the proposed BRT line and Red Cedar development, the potential effect of those projects is obvious. So yeah, I'd say the dominos should already be falling.

    When it comes to the economy, I don't think most people give Lansing enough credit. We're a metro area of under a half million people and we have three very solid legs to our economy: automotive, government and education. Those have always been there, but more recently the insurance industry has really boomed and continues to grow. There's also some growth in high tech areas and that should accelerate with area leaders working to recruit and retain those companies, MSU becoming a more serious research school should help spawn some interesting companies also. More diversity is always good, but as it sits even right now, I think Lansing's economy qualifies as a strength.
  • I think tall buildings are a result of various factors, like limited space, valuable real estate and market demand. Currently, Lansing doesn't justify a residential/commercial tall building. On the other hand, downtown East Lansing currently justifies more vertical construction. While Greater Lansing has a comparably more reliable economy due to state government, higher ed and strong private industry, it is extremely important to develop Michigan and Grand River to connect Lansing and East Lansing. I think that corridor has the potential to make Lansing the best city and region in MI and very attractive nationally. For this, local government has to improve the environment along the corridor and make it attractive for private investment. Easier said than done but LEAP is working on this.

    Lansing has great potential, mainly, because higher ed and state government make the region much less vulnerable to economic downturns. Higher ed constantly attracts young, smart and creative people, ideas, exposure, facilities and resources. State government attracts people from all over the state, NGO's, etc. Lansing has diverse natural resources that provide recreation and add diversity to the landscape. Lansing has great assets but needs to capitalize on them.
  • I certainly agree that Lansing needs to infill some empty parking lots and wasted space downtown before it can consider denser projects, unless there is explosive growth in the market. I also think that Downtown Lansing really needs to strategically plan out its future. I mean this in the sense that we have to change zoning and such to attract and retain the projects we desire. I cant wait until the agreement between the developers of Radisson and City of Lansing subside in 2017. This agreement in my opinion was a mistake from inception, contractually prohibiting competition, its wrong. Shopping downtown lansing to new hotel developers is a has great potential for our city.
  • edited December 2014
    There is already progressive zoning, downtown. And, any commercial districts outside the immediate core that could be developed into anything already have outlay districts (districts which don't require things like on-site parking, etc...) And, the Design Lansing plan was a comprehensive plan that we're working with. The foundations are set on the city's end of things; it's left up to developers now how to fill in that framework, and they are. If things seem slow (and I don't think things are going slow considering the state in which we are), it's by no means a failure of the public sector.
  • Also on the developers side of things, it is nice to see when they have the stake holder meetings when considering developments. i think the quality of the development can increase that way.
  • It serves the developer well also as those meetings essentially act as brainstorming sessions and marketing focus groups in one. If I were a developer I'd want all the ideas and opinions I could get, even if I choose to ignore all of them in the end.
Sign In or Register to comment.