Lansing City Hall Relocation

edited January 2016 in Lansing
So, it looks like the idea to relocate city government that pops up every decade seems to have popped back up. The LSJ is reporting that the city isn't really interested in upgrading the existing location, and see the location as valuable property for commercial development. City government would remain downtown and they are looking at options. From the sound of it it sounds like they are looking at using an existing building or a new construction. The city says that the relocation becomes much more feasible if a combined city-council "justice center" currently being studied is agreed to, which would include Lansing city government and district court, the Lansing Police Department, and the Ingham County Sheriffs Department.

They aren't revealing much, so what is your guy's guess? To my ear, the latter proposal for a combined city-county building sounds like it would probably require a new building. If only the city government is relocated, I'm guessing they could put it in the Temple Building down the street. I can't really think of any other existing space downtown large enough to handle even just the city government alone, let alone a combined city-county justice center. That much office space unless they put it on one of the large state parking lots would require a significantly tall building, taller than what the current city hall is, probably.


  • I would really prefer that the lot at the corner of Grand and Michigan Ave (along with the Walter Neller building) be used to build this if they were to build new. That's a pretty disappointing corner of downtown as people come from the east.
  • I know a big thing city officials have always complained about is a lack of parking, which is why I think they are going to go for a less urban design if they go new construction. I don't want it to be a sprawling complex, but I'd bet they'd pick a large enough location where they could have adjacent parking, either in a garage or a surface lot. But, who knows. I hadn't even thought of the Walter Neller site, and that would be a great location from an urban perspective.
  • The corner of Grand & Michigan is a very important corner and while a new City Hall building would certainly be of the scale I'd like to see for that site it is definitely not the use I'd like to see for the site. For that property I'd strongly prefer a hotel or apartment/condo building (with an urban mall on the lower floors if I was dreaming). I'd like to see whatever go there be at least 15-20 floors.

    @MichMatters I think you are right on track when it comes to their desire for a relatively large site with adequate on site parking. There's really only one location that stands out to me as near perfect for a new city hall/police HQ/county courts building and that's the Eyde lot kitty corner to the southwest of the Capitol. On that site they could essentially build a local government campus, with separate buildings for each entity and a parking ramp. I figure whatever location they pick will be at least a square block in size. Other possible sites might be the Lake Trust HQ block, the Boarshead Theater block (accross Grand from the CATA station), the seven block area or just about any of the State's lots they'd be willing to part with. Another, perhaps even likely possibility, would be that they reuse the current county courts buildings while adding on to them and acquiring the YMCA property for the city hall and police buildings.

    I'm just glad this is a serious discussion, I still can't wait to see what comes of this effort.
  • Ditto on wishing for something other than a parking lot at Grand and Michigan. (But you know I noticed walking around downtown Chicago recently - even very close to the city center you can find some small surface level parking lots. How exactly that makes economic sense... maybe there is some zoning issue involving space between the buildings, I dunno. Struck me, though.)
  • PS - I have long suggested perhaps an ice skating rink there... very happy East Lansing is going to try one in Valley Court Park.
  • I walked by that block the other day and it true I wondered why it has this big ugly empty building with 60's rehad panels crumbling onto the sidewalk. Wasn't that parking lot where the Tiffany Lounge Restaurant was? I wonder what happened to that place, and why they tore it down.

    I think the Temple Building on Capitol Ave. would be such a cool choice for a City Hall, it already looks one. There was once one of the first parking ramps in Lansing next door where the surface lot is now. There is space for that propose although I would hate to see another parking ramp on Capitol Ave.

    I like the idea of building a City Hall/Police headquarters building in the airspace over I-496 on S. Washington Ave.. A government center there could reconnect REOtown to downtown, they could build huge buildings east to Grand Ave. west to Capitol Ave.
  • David, did you see the ice skating path they built in Chicago? It is so great. It is a refrigerated meandering ten or twelve foot wide path through a park. They could do that here at the Adado Riverfront Park or along the downtown river trail. They better get that rink in EL going I think winter will be over in about three weeks.
  • edited January 2016
    In reply to david_shane,
    (But you know I noticed walking around downtown Chicago recently - even very close to the city center you can find some small surface level parking lots. How exactly that makes economic sense... maybe there is some zoning issue involving space between the buildings, I dunno. Struck me, though.)
    It also could be that the owners of the surface lots leased their air-rights to the building next door and can only use the land now for a surface lot until the air-rights lease ends.
  • @gbinlansing That lot at Grand Michigan was cleared for an office building that was never built. My dad said from what he remembered they had planned an approximately 15 floor office building for that corner in the late 80's/early 90's, but after razing the existing buildings the project fell through. I've looked for more info on the proposal but never was able to find anything.

    While the old Masonic temple building would be great as a new city hall aesthetically, the building is quite a bit smaller than the current city hall building and has very little room to expand. I expect a new city hall/police/courts project would include at least 400k sq ft of office space and could be notably larger than that. Putting the building over 496 at Washington wouldn't be a bad idea at all, however unlikely it may be.
  • Hood, do you happen to know how many square feet city hall is? I tried looking it up on the assessor property look-up, but they don't give the square footage like they do with other buildings. I wanted to do some research to see about how many square feet of space they would need by themselves to think about what kind of site they'd probably look for. The thing about City Hall is that the huge plaza out front takes up quite a bit of space, which means the building is taller than it otherwise would have been.

    Thinking out all of the possible scenarios with a new construction option, they could go a few ways with a local government project. So, they could go for a single building on a city-block-sized parking lot like what they did with Constitution Hall, in which case you could have something even over 500,000 square feet that would still only be 6 stories. I'd really hate to see them do something like this, but this seems the least like of the scenarios I see. The other option would be a complex where you'd seperate out certain programs. It'd be hard to imagine them not having seperate buildings for city and county jails and courts, for instance. In this case, if you're doing the whole thing on a city block the actual city hall buidling would likely have to be a legitimate high-rise. What worries me is that they are talking about a "complex" which sounds to me like a campus, and local governments just aren't building high-rises like they used to for their city halls. They could very easily stretch this whole thing across multiple blocks if they go on the west end of downtown, in which case the thing would almost certainly be a low-slung complex. City governments these days seem to like to have large floorplans to keep whole departments on whole floors.
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