Off topic thread



  • Regarding the schools, correct, most of the extreme south end of the city - south of Dell Road - is Holt School District.
  • I've been thinking about the factory complex at Mt. Hope and Washington for awhile now and its potential for redevelopment, I think I've mentioned it before. It seems like such a great opportunity for something special because of its location along with the size of the site, variety of buildings and open land for new development. After reading the City Pulse story, Discontent at the Market, I started thinking that maybe downtown, on the riverfront isn't really the best spot for the type of market a city market ought to be. But I think the buildings that currently have the Atlas Drop Forge in them are the perfect spot for an Eastern Market type of City Market, and that thought rekindled my interest in this site. Turning the drop forge buildings into Eastern Market-like sheds would be the perfect low cost, high impact redevelopment that would be a catalyst for the rest of the site. I have a few thoughts on the site and I'd like to know what any of you think, or if you have your own ideas, or if you think it wouldn't be worth redevelopment at all, which may be reasonable. I'll try to be quick since this is already too long.


    To begin with, I think the rail line needs to be replaced by a road. At first I thought it should be a trail, but the site needs a real road going through it to support development. The rail line would allow a road that could angle off Washington and go all the way to MLK or even Holmes if you wanted. The first thought I had about the site was how glassing in some of the gaps in the multistory factory buildings would make for some great atriums. The easiest and best use I could think of was a mall. I still think it would be a great idea since people love the "urban experience," but also love indoor malls, but I also doubt anyone would invest in bringing a mall to these buildings. So the big question for me is how to use the big multifloor buildings? Obviously some mix of residential, retail and office but it's a lot of space, the only other idea I have would be to market a portion of the space to medical offices since the hospital is so close. I was going to go on about all the potential for carving interesting spaces out of old industrial buildings, but the old Ottawa Plant speaks volumes about the feel I'd want to emulate here. Anyways, any thoughts, ideas or criticisms would be welcome.
  • edited June 2014
    It looks like the Days Inn on West Saginaw in Delta Township has a death sentence. The property is being marketed for redevelopment. Below is a link to the flyer marketing the property.

    I was at this location today and talked to one of the owners and he said the plans are for a new hotel and retail complex to be built. He said that they had plans for a Hilton to be located next to exit ramp for 96 and that in the retail side there would be a Subway and Five Guys Burgers moving into the retail portion. I don't know how credible this info is in regards to the actual tenants nor whether or not the hotel would be built either but he did have specific names of businesses and also said that demolition of the current Days Inn would start in November of this year. If you look at the flyer it doesn't say anything about a hotel but does show the retail and a restaurant. Either way this location will be developed given the location and easy access to the freeway not to mention it is on Saginaw Hwy.
  • I'm guessing the area at the corner that says "NIC" is where the hotel will go. It seems like a fairly small footprint so I'd imagine it will either be a small hotel or, more likely, a relatively tall building for the area.
  • Someone over at SSP asked about office vacancy rates which prompted me to go look up the most recent ones from CBRE. Downtown Lansing has an almost crazy low 3.2% class A vacancy rate, though I don't think that included Knapps as the report is from the second half of 2013. Download the reports CBRE Market Reports

  • edited June 2014
    Wow, it's even lower than I thought. I wonder what the 10,000 square feet of space that is that went back on the market during that quarter, though? Still, that is crazy. I don't get why developers aren't trying to add space downtown. We're too the point where you could get the ball rolling and the demand just grow exponentially.
  • After thinking about it for a long time, I finally started working on a SketchUp model of my imagined redevelopment of the buildings at Mt Hope and Washington about two months ago. As of now I'm about half done with the exteriors, but I'm pretty happy with my progress up to this point so I decided to share. I don't know who all still lurks here, as I'd truly appreciate anybody's opinions or ideas, but I'd really love to hear from anyone who has any background in architecture or urban planning.



    My SketchUp Model (Dropbox link): Mt Hope and Washington

    Download SketchUp here: Sketchup Make
  • edited May 2015
    So, I've seen this two or three times, now, but keep forgetting to bring it up. Anyway, I've recently noticed - and one of those times as a first-hand event - how the seams between the lanes on MLK along the Capitol Loop literally seem to have degraded along nearly the entire stretch of the road. How does this even happen? This seems like a defect from the original reconstruction, which hasn't been that long, really. A lot of the talk around roads, recently, has blamed truck traffic and the weather, but a huge part of this few are willing to talk about is shoddy and defective constructions and reconstructions that we let MDOT get away with on state roads and highways. If you really pay attention to this section of MLK which is otherwise smooth, you'll see how they've tried to fill-in/patch and reseal the seams, but you can only do that for so long before realizing you have to reconstruct the streets.

    Anyway, on one of our recent rains I'd kind of forgotten about this while getting into the right turn lane off of MLK onto Allegan. It had rained enough that the water had kind of filled in the busted seam in the road. The seam is wide enough that a good part of my tire went into it and I sort of hydroplaned for about half-a-second. Scared the heck out of me. Now, on much of the rest of the road, the seams have been filled in enough where this isn't a danger. But, it instantly got me thinking what would happened if a motorcycle or a bike had decided to take that lane that day? There entire tire(s) would have gone in the seam and it would have certainly been a deadly accident, and this is even more true now than before with the speed limit having been raised along the state highways around here. I'm really thinking of shooting MDOT's local office an email about this.

    Only since the creation (and subsequent defeat) of Proposal 1 have we gotten really talking about road warranties, and the state has admitted that they have not been good in enforcing these. Yeah, it's time to put enforcement of these into overdrive and stop letting the road-building lobby get away with murder. We're talking about a series of streets, here, which were entirely reconstructed just ten years ago and are otherwise in good shape. This seems like a construction defect.
  • edited August 2015
    I've been driving by this place, forever, but it got me wondering about the history...

    I drove by a plot of land on the westside of Aurelius on the southeast part of town, today. It's in between Willard and Hoyt with a dirt road forming its western border called Ruth Avenue. To give even more context, it's directly east of Scott Woods Park, a natural area, which itself is immediately north of Hawk Island Park. This area of town is kind of weird and almost feels out in the country. There are now bike lanes on each side of the roadway but no sidewalks until you get way up to Mount Hope.

    Anyway, back on this piece of land. There are single family homes that line on the north and south sides of Hoyt and Williard, respectively, with backyards, etc...But the central third of this huge block is completely empty and immaculately mowed during the warmer months of the year. It's not a park, it doesn't contain anything on it, not even trees. The time by when I was out by there there was a dear standing in the middle of the field. It's the most curious piece of land you'll see in the city, really. Anyway, I decided to finally look up this block on the city website, and found that this central portion is actually two seperate parcels, one east and one west, but owned by one of the Grangers, though, I'm not sure if its one with the development/construction firm or the waste management company. The southern 2/3 of his block are zoned multi-family residential (even the single family homes for some reason). The top third is zoned your lowest-density residential.

    I wonder If the owners have ever had any plans for this land, or simply kept it as it is for use by the neighbors immediately adjacent to the land? It's been this way for as long as I can remember it, but I've never seen anyone on the land. In this aerial showing southeast Lansing, it's the little piece of cleared land immediately east of the little lake northeast of Hawk Island lake:

    SE Lansing Aerial by NewCityOne, on Flickr

    It's make a nice little entrance park to Scott Woods, which is currently only accessible by the River Trail, though, I'm sure the neighbors would not be happy about this. I also doubt the neighbors who live along the quite streets around this land would ever be okay with developing the land, let alone as multi-family residential. I know that this area of Lansing use to be fairly industrially active. Hawk Island County Park was an old rock quarry; I imagine the little lake in Scott Woods must have been part of it. The old railyard off Cavanaugh also used to be very active as it was the main railyard for Lansing decades and decades ago. So, maybe this little piece of land is a remediation site. Other than that, I don't know much about the history of Aurelius Road and the land off of it, particularly pre-annexation. I believe all of this area was Lansing Township, north of Jolly, of course.

    Anyway, anyone else have any questions about quirky Lansing locations that don't get much attention?
  • I've always wondered about that piece of land too. I'd bet that someone bought it and either their planned development fell through or they anticipated development in the area to pick more than it did. All of Aurelius feels rather separated from Lansing, and most of it feels at least somewhat rural. The Jolly in Dunkel area also feels weird to be in the City, but instead of rural it feels completely suburban.
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