Michigan School for the Blind redevelopment

edited April 2019 in Lansing
From the Lansing City Pulse,

Academy set to buy School for the Blind property
Wednesday, 27 September 2006

Lender backed out 2 weeks ago, delaying contentious land deal

After more than a year of political maneuvering and months of inaction, the controversial School for the Blind land deal on Lansing’s north side is expected to be finalized this week.

The 35-acre former campus at West Willow and North Pine streets is set for purchase in a convoluted deal involving several state and city departments, the Lansing Housing Commission and the Mid-Michigan Leadership Academy, the charter school that has operated on the state-owned property for 10 years.

Mark Eitrem, superintendent for the charter school, said he expects to close the deal this week.

Initially, Eitrem wanted to purchase the entire site from the state for $960,000. Legislation introduced last October by state Rep. Michael Murphy, D-Lansing, would have allowed him to do just that.

Then-State Sen. Virg Bernero, meanwhile, wanted the site to be used for private development. At the end of last year, Bernero, who had just won the Lansing mayor’s race, was successful in stalling Murphy’s bill.

For most of the spring, Eitrem and Bernero haggled over control of the property. Bernero offered to sell Eitrem 3.5 acres for $1, but Eitrem refused that deal because it would have left him little room for the K-8 charter school, which has 183 students. Eitrem instead wanted at least 9.6 acres.

In April, the city and Eitrem struck a deal: The academy would buy 8.5 acres for $211,000, and the city would develop the remaining property, installing housing units and converting the main administration building into senior housing.

Murphy’s bill was amended to reflect the changes and passed both chambers of the Legislature. Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed the legislation on June 6, and the state administrative board approved the sale on Aug. 6.

See more by clicking on the link at the top of the article.


  • The way I read the article, the deal seems very near going through. I'm actually happy with the speed at which this project has moved forward.
  • Yeah, it sounds like the problem was nearly instantly remedied. No bad news, here.
  • edited October 2006
    Surprised no one posted this, yesterday. The deal has been closed on, and it's ready to start:

    School for Blind sale finalized

    The sale of the former Michigan School for the Blind site was completed Friday, clearing the way for up to 100 new housing units.

    Mid-Michigan Leadership Academy purchased the 34-acre parcel for $960,000 from the state, simultaneously selling all but about 8.5 acres to the Lansing Housing Commission.

    The kindergarten through eighth-grade charter school, which has leased one of the 19 buildings on the site since 1996, expects that owning the location will help stabilize its programs and enrollment.

    Michigan's Department of Management and Budget sold the surplus property based on legislation sponsored by state Rep. Michael Murphy, D-Lansing.

    Sale proceeds will benefit Camp Tuhsmeheta, a camp for blind children in Greenville, and the National Federation of the Blind newsline program.
    Lansing State Journal Story Link
  • What I'd really like to know is when the project will start, and what it will look like. Even if they could just say in what general style this will be in that would be nice.
  • edited October 2006
    It will be a market-rate, traditional-styled neighborhood. I think you even posted a general concept of what the average home would look like over at UrbanPlanet when this was first announced. I remember seeing some houses that generally match the surrounding houses in the neighborhood: i.e. wood-framed, garages in the back, front porches...nothing fancy. And, really, it doesn't really need to be. It's really not the most exciting of projects. lol
  • I didn't post anything like that, in fact I don't remember hearing anything like that. I guess I will have to go reread that forum.
  • Maybe it was me. lol
  • New article from the City Pulse on the School for the Blind deal, nothing really new except for that the school got financing and the project will be moving forward.

    Academy closes School for Blind deal
  • What's the update on the School for the Blind project?
  • I think there was an article in the City Pulse a few months ago. It's still moving forward.
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