The red cedar project came in with another change it seems, and council may have had enough.
"It seems that this is our seventh amendment to the development agreement. I was supportive of this project in its early stages. I remained optimistic about this project through the changes, and every time the changes come to us it's a less inspiring project and looks like anything you find in suburbia," Lansing City Councilmember Peter Spadafore said.
City Pulse has more details on the changes to the plan.
I'm disappointed by the project and the developers. I wouldn't mind if council voted against it. I'd rather wait for the right project in such an important area than settling for something underwhelming.
I hope the city looks back on the removal of all of those trees as a huge mistake. They should never have gone ahead with that removal without the land actually transferring hands and the plans approved with financing in place.
I don't frequent this area often, so I don't know the before and after, and I'm sure I'm better off not knowing
Yeah it's really sad. What was once a golf course with large trees throughout, the area now looks more like a barren wasteland with tall grasses and tree stumps ala The Lorax.
We should be demanding much more for this land. First, the purchase price is way too low at $2.22 million for all of this land. East Lansing just sold 6 acres of land for $1 million in an unpublished, selective, and likely illegal auction. The Red Cedar Renaissance land is around 37 acres.
Secondly, the city is financing this deal, stretching themselves thinner when we aren't in a recession and other projects in the region have moved ahead with private financing (just look across the street at SkyVue).
Third, now the developers are saying that the city would partially own the parking deck. I read this as code language saying that the city should help pay for the parking deck too.
Fourth, the details of the project are everything that Lansing has been trying to move away from: Large parking lots along the river and no plan for handling water runoff within the development (always just pushing the water towards the river).
I don't like this deal and personally I think we deserve better. I hope they nix it because that land is only going to get more valuable and I think it is better to wait for the right project. I haven't been around long enough to see it in its former glory, with the trees and all. All I know is the eyesore it is currently. Jared hit a lot of points I'm not going to restate but I agree with all of them.
We need something that is working towards the greater plan of meshing this area of Lansing and East Lansing together. We don't need an ugly combination of parking lots, student housing, and shopping complexes similar to the suburban sprawl around Eastwood, Okemos, and the West Side
While I think it can be argued in good faith that this amendment represents a significant change to the plans (though I mostly disagree), I think it's a bit more than a bit disingenuous to act like the fundamentals of the project have changed since the original agreement last July. And the comment by Spadafore about it having been changed into Chandler Crossing on a swamp is ridiculous hyperbole. Of the six current amendments since the passing of the original one last July, one was the original plan, itself, and the other five have simply been changes to dates within the document. So I have no idea about Spadafore's comment about when he speaks of the amendments yielding a "less and less insipiring project."
I'm looking at the July 23, 2018 agreement and the proposed 2019 amendment (7th). Going from 40,000 to 35,550 square feet for the restaurant and retail is not a bait-and-switch. Going from 200 market-rate units to 150 might seem substantial...until you remember because the signing of the development agreement in July of 2018 that the number was proposed at 170. The number of student housing beds - and council has railed against "too much" student housing forever - is down by over 100 beds. A substantial change, but one the city council should see as a positive from their own claimed perspective. The only thing I'd call a truly substantial negative change in this amendment and the project as whole since originally proposed is the whittling down of the number of parking plinths, now down to one from three, originally. In fact, the developers have kind of bent over backwards to accomodate what is often an overly picky and micro-managing council as it concerns this project. When they threatened them with rejection unless they got a local labor agreement, they went and did that. When they've criticized student housing, they took out over 100 beds. When they balked at bonding for the plinths, the developer took on that risk. Etc.
Also, the criticism that the architecture has fundamentally changed is bullsh%t, quite frankly. That's one thing in the entire agreement that has not been amended or changed since this iteration of the project was proposed (February 2018). So I don't know where they are getting that from. Everything is still proposed as having a steel frame, and for the exterior, EIFS, masonry, and decorative metal finishes. I've always thought the architecture was just kind of blah, but it also hasn't changed from original development agreement (July 2018).
The other curious thing is that we followed and literally discussed the brownfield plan approval of this one last month - which is why we're even getting this amendment to the plan to match up with the brownfield plan. Nothing has changed since we discussed this last month.
More than that, this latest amended material showing the site plans and renderings and such, were given to council on February 25th as part of the Brownfield plan, and refered to the Development & Planning Committee, of which Councilwoman Washington is a committeewoman, and discussed on March 4. In fact, the only (irrational) concern Washington seems to have raised at that meeting was the one about the continued inclusion of student housing. Why are they acting like they just saw the changes at the public hearing on March 25th? Forgive me, then, if see this as a really disingenuous media stunt.
Thank you for providing an in-depth look at this issue, and I find your points reassuring. I find it kind of amazing that this project's false start [cutting down all trees] was so long ago that there folks here who never saw what it looked like as a park/golf course. [By the way, just past the city limits, EL has cut down scores of trees in the median of Michigan Avenue, I always hate that.] It seems like we are still about in the same place and I wish everyone both the developers and the city council would just hush up and get on with it. While it would not be the end of the world if we built a beautiful park there or went back to the drawing board with a different development, I really hope they get started with this plan which has space for future growth. The worst thing would be to let this land be developed piecemeal and end up "N. Washington Sq. like", an odd collection of boring office buildings.
Did anyone attend the hearing last night for this project? I would be interested to hear how it went, I wasn't able to go unfortunately.
I was hoping to hear about the meeting as well.
I just watched a brief WILX report, looks like it was just people telling the council why they support the project or not. My thought was haven't we already been through these issues? The report did not enclude much about the changes that were causing so much consern with some on the council. I hope we don't end up talking this project to death.