Lansing City Hall redevelopment and replacement



  • edited October 2018

    This one keeps rearing its head. Andy is saying in the City Pulse this week that he's had very informal talks with the Eyde's, who want to offload their 8 acres of land in the 7 Block area on the west end of downtown (bound roughly to the north by the line behind the houses on Allegan, MLK on the west, Kalamazoo on the south and Butler on the east) that they've been trying to develop for years.

    It'd certainly be enough space. In any case, this wouldn't even get to being serious until the mayor says a study is done to see if it'd cost more to upgrade city hall than to move it. This is something Virg never bothered with, of course.

    The other big thing this is all contigent on is the study of consolidating of the district courts and the city lock-up. Schor, East Lansing and Ingham County seem to favor a seperate facility for this consolidated court/jail complex, which would give the city more flexibility in considering a new city hall. The Lansing City Council has been mum about the consolidating idea, though.

    It feels to me like Andy is trying to have it both ways, wanting to give the impression that this is still being looked at, but at the same time pushing back against the idea that he's actually in favor of it. I wish he'd take a more firm public stance so criticis and supporters of the plan would know where he is and thus judge his actions accordingly.

  • I'm way late on this but I'm very glad to hear Andy Schor is at least considering a renovation of the current city hall. To me if they can do a proper renovation/restoration on the city hall building for even close to the same cost as new construction I think it's worth staying put. It would take a pretty impressive new city hall building in a good location to make me even sort of ok with the move. I think if the current city hall building is kept as city hall and properly renovated and maintained it will be appreciated in the future in much the same way we would appreciate it if the old city hall could have been saved. One difference is that saving the current city hall is much more practical.

    The 7 block site isn't a very good location for city hall in my eyes but it's not the worst either. It really wouldn't make a bad spot for a new justice complex though, especially being next to the Supreme Court.

  • Where'd you hear that he's seriously considering renovating city hall? I'd not heard that.

  • I misread the second paragraph of your previous post. I thought you said that the mayor was having a study done to see if it would cost more to upgrade city hall than to move it.

  • And we're back to this...

    The city is saying that remodeling the current City Hall would cost $60-$80 million, which I guess seems within reason for a full on proper renovation to the bones, probably properly restoring elements of the building. They are asking developers for proposals and are willing to consider both proposals that consolidate other city offices to a new site or spreads them out. I'm not against seeing the police/courts and city offices at separate sites but I am a fan of consolidating as many of the scattered city offices to City Hall as is practical.

    I can think of four potential downtown sites that could probably fit a city hall/police/jail/courts all in one complex:
    -The block bounded by Walnut/Allegan/Washtenaw/Constitution Hall. I believe this is still owned by Eyde and would be my first choice for an all in one site. Also would seem to be a quite realistic prospect.
    -The seven block area. I think this is also still owned by the Eydes, it's far from most activity downtown but could help bring a little life to this side of downtown. This site also would not surprise me.
    -The block bounded by Cherry/Kalamazoo/Lenawee/Grand, in whole or in part. This block is mostly city and housing commission owned last I knew. Right across from the bus station and at a major downtown intersection I could see this happening. It's not my favorite location but for practical reasons it makes sense.
    -The lot bounded by Erie/Larch/Cedar that recently had some apartments proposed for it. The only spot east of the river I could imagine even being considered. Not ideal at first glance but it would bring some office worker to the other side of the river which would be a nice addition to the area in my opinion. I doubt this would happen.

    That the Eydes own two of these sites, along with the previously touted LSJ hq, it seems this might be their families bid to lose.

    If the city were to split things up then I'd prefer to see the courts, possibly along with the jail and police, go on the back lot of the current county courts building (or even better, on their small lot at Kalamazoo & Walnut if it could be done practically). Then all the other current downtown city offices and maybe some from south Washington would be combined in a city hall building that could go on just about any quarter or half block sized lot downtown depending on parking, preferably nowhere on Washington, Grand or Michigan.

    At the end of the day I'd still prefer to see City Hall stay put and properly restored, but if someone proposes a new complex worthy of representing the City for the next 50-100 years, then I'm not going to kick and stomp about it. Given that a $60 million price tag is giving the city pause, I honestly have little faith that anything proposed will meet that criteria but I'll be watching the process closely.
  • Broken record, because y'all know how I feel about this, but, yeah, if they need more room for the police department and courts? I honestly couldn't care less where they'd move something like that. But they should really just renovate city hall. That kind of mid-century architecture and that location aren't something you can ever get back.

    Whatever would get built for a new city hall would almost certainly not be anywhere near acceptable, quality-wise, for what befits a city like Lansing. Let's be clear, the kind of quality we're getting out of municipal buildings, these days, is...not great.


    The new Ingham County Jail is about as good as it would get, and this is crap. We'd get some auto-oriented, suburban designed building that would probably not be any taller than 4 stories, and probably less.

    So, yeah, move the court and jail somewhere else. But I'd like to see the city stay in a renovated and updated City Hall.
  • @MichMatters Ok, I'm kinda glad you came out swinging on this so to speak. I was getting a little soft in my stance and willing the entertain the thought that they would ever actually consider a new complex that would be appropriate for a city like ours. At the end of the day, I agree, I want to see the current City Hall retained and restored. I guess all one can do now is wait for them to ask for public input.

    I do care a little about where the police, courts and jail go though. If built downtown that would still be more employees down there and a potentially decent bit of infill on some vacant lot, both things I'd like to see.
  • I shouldn't have been so glib about the police and courts; I'd much rather them stay downtown. But I guess what I was getting at is that that's not a make-or-break thing for me. Moving out of city hall, totally, would be. Unfortunately, the central complaint from the police and courts has been (surface) parking, so I don't expect them to stay downtown. But we shall see.
  • Yeah, I'd like to find the Ghafari Study they refer to in the RFP that outlines all the space and facility requirements for the potential new buildings but I've had no luck. Without that it's hard to offer any insight as to what kind of site might be suitable for a courts/police building. Suffice to say I don't think it'd be hard to make work downtown, it's just a matter of if they want to.
  • I have this gut feeling that Gillespie has offered up the old Frandor Sears for some part of this project, but it's a total guess.
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