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LANSING — The seven-year effort of one developer to transform the former downtown YMCA site from crumbling eyesore to attractive walk-to-work housing has stalled again.
Despite announcements a year ago of more than $16 million in federal, state and city support for the $20 million Metro Place project and the developer’s stated intention to break ground last spring, the property at 301 W. Lenawee St. sat idle throughout 2015.
This week, project spokesman Dan Essa blamed the delay on regulatory problems the project’s anticipated main lender encountered on unrelated loans.
“We were supposed to close with Prudential this summer (2015),” said Essa. “But Prudential had an issue with HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) over some loans they made. The people we were working with are no longer with the company.
So, I was pretty convinced this was dead, but this week's City Pulse out now is saying that Metro Place at the site of the former YMCA on Lenawee is back on.
I was kind of hoping someone else would eventually get this site, as I think it's a pretty poor design and underutilization of the site. But I guess the good thing is that this proves there is still demand for this site.
Something else mentioned was that this makes it less likely that the city would propose moving the 54-A District to the nearby Veterans Memorial Courthouse on Reutter Park because that proposal included using the YMCA for overflow parking. I like that it makes that concept tougher as it also makes the current city hall proposal less likely.
A formal announcement is expected next month, and they'll be using a brownfield plan the city came up with 10 years ago for the site but never finalized.
I agree with your thoughts on the design. Maybe this is dated and they will revisit the design. Seems like I saw this drawing a few years ago. As folks here may know I really hate those roof caps or whatever they call them. I think they make a building look shorter, and they seem cheap. It is really great that something is going to built there, but I think that anything built there ought to be at least as nice in its design and quality as the building, it is replacing.
I wish they would keep the YMCA building and turn that in to apartments and then they can build this on the rest of the land. They could even use part of the YMCA building as a community center for the complex (offer indoor basketball courts and a dance studio, things that are relatively low maintenance).