Capitol Park Center (formerly SOBI Square, Ottawa & Butler)



  • edited September 2012
    Bad news (or maybe good news in disgusie):
    Developer exist from downtown Lansing project

    by Kristen M. Daum | LSJ

    September 29, 2012

    A local developer has killed his plans for a $6.8 million apartment complex near the Michigan Hall of Justice, saying the project is “no longer feasible” after it sat dormant for five months without action from Lansing city leaders.

    Scott Gillespie’s exit from the 5.3-acre property bordered by Ionia, Ottawa and Sycamore streets and Butler Boulevard clears the way for a new plan by nearby homeowners who hope to fill in at least some of the vacant lot as they see fit.

    Eight families in the Genesee neighborhood have banded together to buy three houses up for sale at Lansing Community College, less than a mile away. The families intend to move the houses to the Ottawa-Butler block, taking up a couple acres of the property and leaving the rest for future development.

  • Well, this came out of nowhere. Different developers have been trying to develop this property for years, but it looks like it's finally happening. It appears the Michigan Association of Broadcasters finally got around to it:

    Developers prep for new Ottawa Street apartments

    THURSDAY, May 9 — Work has begun on Capitol Park Center, a 48-unit apartment complex with retail space near the Hall of Justice.

    Contractors have begun site work about three blocks west of the Capitol on the 700 block of Ottawa Street. It will include two, four-story apartment buildings with 48 units. At least 25% of the development will be designated for low-income residents and the chronically homeless.

    The site is bordered by Ottawa on the south, Butler Boulevard on the west, Ionia Street on the north and Sycamore Street on the east.

    Site plans approved by the city of Lansing this year show the project will include 8,500 square feet of commercial space adjacent to a yet-to-be constructed office building for the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. The plans also call for more than 150 parking spaces to accommodate the two developments.


    The Michigan Association of Broadcasters bought most of the largely vacant block back in 2013, according to Ingham County property records. Some of that parcel was retained for its new office space, according to site plans, which is to be built on the southwest corner of Sycamore and Ottawa. The remainder will become a part of the newly named Capitol Park Center.

    No demolition is anticipated. The project, instead, will weave around the seven homes along that square block.

    Took a picture of the house featured in the header photo back in 2009. This one was built in 1913, and is one three remaining homes on this stretch across from the Hall of Justice:

    Looking at the city website, seems that building permits were issued about a month ago. So far I'm seeing three buildings total.

  • I was in this neighborhood yesterday looking at a nice little house for sale on Butler Blvd. There are a lot of nice houses and some that could use some work. In all, it is a pretty nice area, if the city would pave the streets that would sure help. It is great to see this development happing, maybe someone will look at the blocks on the other side of the Capitol Complex for development, and rebuild the neighborhood on both sides.

  • Since I work right down there I'm interested to see what will go into that retail space. Having somewhere else besides Washington Square to walk to would be great. If they can find a niche for the state workers a business in that building will be very successful.

    On another note, that is a magnificent house. The owners have shown great care to it, and I can only wonder how nice it looks inside as well.

  • I'm both shocked and pleased to see this under way. I was almost certain this proposal was dead, I'm glad I was wrong.
  • edited May 2019

    Got some information back on this one from the city. One of the apartment buildings is oriented length-wise from the corner of Butler and Ottawa. Because of the zoning district, there is a 20-foot front setback, so it'll match the setback of the existing houses. The side yards on both sides are a ridiculous 50-feet, though. I bet that'll make the home next door happy, but that's a major waste of space.

    The other apartment building is oriented north-south just to the east of the house I have pictured above, and it's "front" yard setback is even greater than the west building's. The "front" of this building will almost line up with the back of the three existing homes on the street. Why? I have no idea.

    I guess the good thing about the plan is that parking doesn't cover the total rest of the site stretching along a narrow band between Butler and Sycamore and only accessible from those two streets. All in all, this leaves very large parts of this lot open to future development, particularly at the corner of Butler and Ionia at the northwest (zoned for more dense residential than the rest of the site), and Sycamore and Ottawa at the southeast. The proposed MAB office building will only be a single story, and be built in that southeast corner (Sycamore and Ottawa) of the site.

    Not the worst development I've seen, but it's still way more suburban-sited than it had to be. Hopefully, we get some renderings of this one soon so at least we'll get to see how it looks.

  • edited June 2019

  • @ButlerBlvdResident Thanks for posting that. I actually like the look of the apartment buildings, though I don't like the placement of the easternmost one. The office building itself looks nice but it being only two floors is a little disappointing. All in all I'm happy to see this neighborhood get some reasonably good quality infill.

    Has there been any talk of what's to come for the rest of the block? If I had a choice I'd like to see 2 1/2 to 3 floor traditionally designed townhouses or apartment buildings that face the existing streets. I've been wanting to see a quality townhouse project, like a larger Printers Row, somewhere in the city and here is as good as anywhere. Adding in an traditional brick apartment block on one of the corners would make for a nice touch I think.
  • edited June 2019

    I like the look of the office building, and I'm happy to see it's two floors instead of one. I'm also glad to hear the apartment buildings will be faced in brick and stone; that is always a question when these are announced. I suspect, too, that they'll look much better than the rough renderings that we can't really see much on. I'm also happy to hear the retail will be in the ground floor of the apartment buildings.

    All-in-all, solid designs if even the site plan plan leaves a bit to be desired. Honestly, I'd take the two curb cuts off Ottawa, and re-orient the apartment building to feel the streetfront. It'd require some minor changes to the office building - maybe slightly re-orienting it and moving it's parking lot. The yards for it don't need to be as expansive as they are. Other than that, though, I'm pleasantly surprised.

    Hood, strangely, the back half of the site closest to the residential neighborhood is actually zoned at a higher density (DM-2) than the Ottawa-facing half (D-1 Professional Office).

  • That is odd that the north half is zoned for higher density, I guess that gives any potential developer a lot of options for what they could build.

    And I agree that the apartment buildings will likely look better in real life than in the renderings, simple designs with good quality materials tend to have that quality. The new building up at the school for the blind comes to mind as an example.
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