Farnum Building redevelopment ("The Louie")

edited September 2019 in Lansing

Thought I'd give this one its own thread. The state is going to take another crack at selling off the Farnum Building, the former home of the offices of the State Senate, at the southeast corner of Capitol and Allegan.

LANSING — For the second time in a year, a downtown building across from the Capitol Building is up for grabs.

The state is asking for proposals from developers for the Farnum Building, the former home of the Michigan Senate.

Early last year, the Senate moved into the nearby Capitol View building at 201 Townsend St. The move sparked controversy since Capitol View is owned by the Boji family, who are generous donors to Republican candidates. The Senate and Gov. Rick Snyder ultimately green-lighted the sale of the Farnum Building last summer.

The approximately 95,000 square foot building comes with a small, 23-spot lot on the south side of it and was valued at $5.6 million in 2014. Submissions for the RFP are due May 15th, and an announcement will be held on June 1. Bob Trezise is pushing this as a possible hotel, and then they bring up the city hall proposal, too. Though, this one would be far easier and make far more sense.


  • It is a good mid-century building, nothing very special but has been part of Lansing and it would good to redevelop the building rather knock it down. What about that whole block fronting Capitol Ave? Redevelop the Farnum Building the Capitol Hall Building next door and the old Masonic Temple add the all the surface lots into a hotel/retail/residential super project. When I look at all the surface parking lots there are to the south and west of The Capitol it seems like such a waste of space right in the center of our city. I think we can do better, not worry about parking, and find better uses for land in the downtown area.

  • It's a solid building that could easily be reused as an office building essentially as-is and I'd be totally fine with that, if the new owner chose to do restoration work that'd be even better. I mostly just want to see the exterior modifications kept to an absolute minimum (or none) and it'd be nice if they could preserve at least the ground floor common areas. I do think a hotel would be an appropriate use for this building, the office building's lobby could be turned into a hotel lobby with minimal work, the hearing rooms could become ballrooms/meeting rooms and a curbside drop off could be made with a couple curb cuts and an awning.

  • edited June 2018

    Well, it looks like this is likely to be kept as office space, but I am not happy at all about who got it.

    LANSING – The Boji Group will take over another prime corner in downtown Lansing when it picks up the state Senate's old office building for $4.5 million cash.

    The Billie S. Farnum Building at the corner of West Allegan Street and South Capitol Avenue is likely is likely to remain office space, though final plans have not yet been decided, Boji family spokesman John Truscott said Friday.

    Honestly, the Boji's get this stuff because of their political connections with the state, and they aren't particularly innovative or interesting as it pertains to their view of real estate development. So now they have the Boji Tower, Capitol View and Farnum all within a few yards of Allegan and Capitol and all (I assume this will be true of the redone Farnum) which are largely or significantly populated by the state.

    The Bojis actually offered the state two options: The straight $4.5 million cash, or an estimated $6 million option that included $4 million up front plus a $1 million reduction in the Boji's asking price for the remaining two floors of Capitol View and the rights to build on top of Capitol View, which the Bojis said had an estimated value of nearly $1 million.

    The state decided to go with the option that gave them cash in hand and didn't require them to buy anything else, Caleb Buhs, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget, said Friday.

  • I'm not sure how to feel about the Boji's getting it. My hope is that they preserve essentially as-is and maintain it well because I highly doubt they'd take on a proper restoration.

  • edited June 2018

    If you're looking for anyone to preserve the building, as is, you're lucky to Bojis got it, because they generally don't do anything flashy with any of their properties. So, at least on that note, you'll find something to like in that.

    I'm disappointed because since it's the Bojis, what they'll likely do it anchor it with state workers instead of putting in the work to land more interesting private-sector tenants who'd add to the downtown instead of playing musical chairs. If it were up to me, you'd give it up to Class A status and try and land some tech company or some interesting labortory, or just a general mix of interesting commercial tenants. What we're likely going to get is another state cube-farm.

    Who knows, though? I just don't believe in giving them the benefit of the doubt, anymore. I also found it interesting that the second option spoke of the air rights above Capitol View. That shows that they must still be marketing the expansion of this building. I was actually surprised that the state didn't take this option given that it's only $500,000 less up front and it'd give them the option to expand. That was a bargain they should have taken.

  • edited April 2019

    I though this was completed almost a year ago?

    Historic downtown Lansing landmark purchased

    LANSING, Mich (WLNS) - Part of the fabric and history of downtown Lansing, the Farnum Building was sold today to The Boji Group.

    The building was built in 1960 and originally named the Stoddard Building, after Michigan National Bank founder, Howard J. Stoddard.

    Considering its history and how significantly the building contributes to the Lansing Downtown Historic District, the State Historic Preservation Office has recommended it for a historical building designation.

    The building is 92,000 square feet and connected to the Boji Tower with a tunnel that runs under Allegan Street.

    “There is a great deal of potential for this building, and it’s been an important part of the history of downtown Lansing” Ron Boji, President of the Boji Group said. “We’re looking forward to working with the city of Lansing to put the property into productive reuse as quickly as possible, helping attract, and retain, companies and employees to downtown.”

    The 10-story building features a penthouse and is expected to remain largely executive office space.

  • The LSJ picked this up:

    Boji Group plans revamp of Farnum Building after $4.5 million sale

    Boji Group is also planning to submit a brownfield plan to the city of Lansing worth about $2 million for help cleaning up asbestos in the building, Boji said. The group is also pursuing historic rehabilitation tax credits, he said.

    Boji said he hopes to start construction in August and have the building ready for move in by the end of next year. He said 90% of the work on the property will be interior, updating flooring, walls and lighting.

    “Not much from the exterior will look different," he said.

  • edited July 2019

    The city next week is voting to set the public hearing for the brownfield plan for this one for August 26th. The scehduled date for the final vote on this one is September 9th.

    The redevelopers are seeking about $2.8 million reimbursement over 21-year period on a $20 million investment. Work will include interior demolition, asbestos abatement, and infrastructure improvements to the building to bring it back to Class A status. Almost all of the requested reimbursement will be for the asbestos abatement ($2.26 million).

  • edited September 2019
    Farnum building is getting a new name and $20 million in renovations
    LANSING — The former Billie S. Farnum state Senate office building is slated to open to private-sector tenants by late 2020.

    It's also getting a new name.

    Developers with the Boji Group announced Tuesday that the Farnum building will be renamed "The Louie" in honor of Louie Boji, chair of the Lansing-based Boji Group.

    The law firm Dickinson Wright will occupy two floors of the 10-story building, which is kitty-corner from the state Capitol. Additional tenants could include lobbying and public relations firms, developers said.

    The Boji Group anticipates completing $20 million in renovations to the 60-year-old building by January 2021, but businesses could move into some floors of the building as early as September 2020, company representatives said.

    This is the first news we're hearing of tenants landed. Dickinson Wright is currently in the old Michigan Theatre at 215 South Washington Square.
  • I was by this building and saw workers covering all the lobby windows with ads depicting the high-end office space they are building. One of the ads was of the front entrance, with a nice looking sign that says "The Louie". This sounds kind of strange to me, but I guess developers want their names on their buildings, like that guy in DC. I'm glad that Gillespie has not named any of his buildings "The Pat"!
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