Center City (Landmark & Newman Lofts)



  • People are chasing urban Target because both downtown East Lansing and downtown Lansing severely lack a grocery store. If a smaller independent grocery store were to locate in the immediate downtown that would make me happier.

  • Let's not forget that East Lansing has Whole Foods and Fresh Thyme near the campus, though a grocery store right in downtown EL would be a draw for people living downtown. Still, I think kicking out businesses and handing over $50 million in tax increment financing for a Target and apartments is a bad move. Target groceries are overpriced and the produce lacks.

    Also, I wouldn't say EL is nothing but independent businesses. There are a lot of chains downtown. Of course that's normal for a college town - students want cheap, reliable eats and clothes from recognized brands. I just think the smart move would be to preserve the historic core of EL and build places like Target on the fringes of downtown, which given the small footprint of downtown EL wouldn't have to be far away at all. That way you get the best of both worlds.

    You can't force developers to build where you want, but you could use that $50 million in TIF to nudge them other directions.

  • The new 1855 Market includes a grocery store of decent size too, and it's closer to downtown than Fresh Thyme. But yes - if you live right downtown, or in the neighborhood north of downtown, there is no grocery store (unless you count CVS!) you could walk to.

  • edited October 2017

    On Tuesdays's council agenda:

    • The approval of a ground and parking lease with the developer to help continue to push Center City District foward.

    As the EastLansingInfo article states, the city will lease approximately 318 of the 620 spots in the garage for use by the development. The developer will pay the city $200,000 a year for the lease, which is quite a bit more than the $50,000 a year the developer was originally proposing for the land lease. East Lansing is projecting $128,000 annual increase in parking revenue since this will be approximately 160 parking spaces more than than the existing Lot 1.

    Anyway, this would take care of two of the three remaining issues EastLansingInfo brought up with the development. The more I read about this, the more I'm actuall impressed with the city for once. I'm guessing the developers haven't balked at any of this as they are essentially getting a parking garage for their development they'd otherwise would have had to finance themselves. And the city is getting a parking increase (and $200,000 annually for the least + increased parking revenue) out of this, too. A win-win for both parties, really.

  • Good job! I think maybe there is someone who knows what they are doing in EL these days. I have not been by, did they really knock down the old bank building yesterday?

  • I'm not too fond of East Lansing Info's tone myself, they seem to be really dramatic in their reporting. There's no guarantee that Park District is dead or that it will be significantly downsized either. They could absolutely still move forward and start the process of obtaining the same tax credit they lost from scratch. Or maybe they were just bluffing when they said it was needed to make it work financially, I don't think they've been clear about their future plans.

    @The_Lansing_Magnate I know that people like to have independent and quirky stores around to look at, but they don't really seem to spend enough money at them to keep them in business. Those independent stores are the first to set up shop in an up-and-coming area, but most of them can't afford it when the rents start to rise. The reality is that the arrival of corporate/franchised/well-managed independent businesses are a mark of success for an area. There's always more room for the quirky/independent places in the next area to be gentrified.

  • Oh, no, they are definitely downsizing Park District, and it most definitely won't get built in its current form. That much is pretty clear. Apart from the tax credit, the amendment to the TIF and the city most likely lowering prperty taxes will make for a smaller project unless they are willing to look for other financing. Given how difficult it's been for them to finance - if you're relying on a single credit, you're finding it tough to finance - it seems very likely they are telling the truth. That's before we even get to the help that the city is giving to Center City District. TIFs and incentives get less generous with each project because the city isn't going to forego the same amount of taxes through a TIF each time.

    100 Grand in its current form is cancelled indefinitely, which technically means they could uncancel it, but that's highly unlikely.

  • edited October 2017

    What in the world?! So, it looks like Center City has been cancelled, too, now. Though not really for any of the reasons EastLansingInfo detailed:

    Beier said the development agreement between East Lansing and Bell’s Harbor Bay Real Estate Advisors required a performance bond in the event the developer failed to complete the project. Without it, the city would have to pay to either restore the area or finish development if it stalled.

    “We knew it was a high hurdle, but we couldn’t risk creating blight,” Beier said.

    Seriously with the city killing these things. I can't anymore. And of course Beier is the one to announce them; I'm sure she was happy as hell to share this information. I don't mind cities crafting better deals, but East Lansing micro-manages these things to death. Obviously, there is a point where you go beyond "protecting the city" to killing these projects, and East Lansing has killed numerous projects.

    Anyway, this hasn't been confirmed by anyone but Beier, and I imagine there is a slim chance this could still be on if the city backs down, but that's highly unlikely.

  • “We knew it was a high hurdle, but we couldn’t risk creating blight,” Beier said.

    Imagine what Grand River would look like if they just stood out of the way and let developers guide developments appropriate to market demands. I feel like they want the taller structures Ann Arbor is getting, but A2 has the advantage of being the focal point of its metro area. EL has to share demand for rentals and office space with Lansing.

  • So in turn all of those storefronts are now vacant. We now have another large portion of Grand River that is vacant. Two steps back, zero steps forward.
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