REO Town Development



  • Thank you for posting, this report is very interesting.

  • GB, you'd mention this back in December, but I'd just noticed the "REO Town" signage on the old Main Street apartments when on I-496 yesterday evening. Funny how a little detail can change the look of a building (for the better) so much. I went online to see how much they were renting for, now, and was kind of surprised. They are still pretty affordable relative to the stuff in the Stadium District: $715 for a 1-bedroom and $815 for a 2-bedroom.

  • Maybe they had a change in management over there. The grounds and buildings seem to be well taken care of, at least it looks that way from across the river. The Main Street name might have been confusing because there is no Main Street. As summer approaches the hotel project on the corner was one they were saying was to begin this summer. I wonder if that is still in the works, it sure would be nice to have a building on that corner.

  • Looks like the City Pulse finally picked up on the new business at 1009 South Washington in the north part of the district we'd talked about some weeks ago:

    East Lansing hardware store relocates to REO Town after 70 years in business

    The tiny hardware store specializing in locks, knobs and accessories moves from its tight quarters of over 70 years to a REO Town warehouse with more space.

    Builders’ Hardware Co. moved to stay in step with demographic trends, according to Caryn Drenth.

    “When we opened our second location in Marshall, we saw what a difference it can make to be in a vibrant shopping area with demographically-favorable foot traffic,” she said. “REO Town has many wonderful restaurants and shops. When we were touring different areas in Lansing, it stood out to us as having the downtown feel that we love in Marshall.”

    The foot traffic in East Lansing changed over the years, Drenth added.

    “As MSU has grown and thrived, which is a great thing, the foot traffic on Harrison Road is now 99% students walking to and from classes. That demographic isn't in the market for residential or commercial hardware. Though, we do make a few keys for them to replace lost ones.”

    The business will also enjoy a better loading dock for deliveries and an improved parking situation at the former auto shop.

    Kind of question the reasons they gave for the move, though. First off, the neighborhood immediately to the northwest is a solid owner-occupied neighborhood. In fact, I'd argue that location was better because that neighborhood is considerably wealthier; honestly, the area on Harrison just north of Michigan Avenue hasn't changed like they say it has. Also, the site they are moving to really doesn't have a better of-street parking situation, though there are lots of on-street parking and a relatively nearby city lot. The loading dock situation is better than at their previous parking, though, I'll give them that.

    Anyway, glad to see them in REO Town if this is where they want to be.

  • The East Lansing store looks out of a different time, very few buildings like this in the whole city. I hope they don't knock it down. I had not been to this business before it moved. They filled out the front space with a lot of displays etc., and I see a good amount of traffic going in there, though I think they would be contractors or people from outside the area, it's true. We have a way to go before REOtown can compare with Marshall but it is nice that was their perception and part of what they are hoping for when they moved here.

  • Down at the new brewery they have repaved and striped the parking lot, and there looks to be an outdoor area being built next to the overhead doors on the north side. Inside still has a little ways to go. One block north the Rusty Mug has arranged an outdoor sidewalk seating area in front on S. Washington with a white picket fence and seems to near to opening, but who knows, it has been being renovated for so long it may not be ready yet. I have to say these two outdoor seating areas are going to be a really noisy place to sit when the trains go by blasting their horns. Maybe some people would like that experience! A yoga studio is moving into a space on the corner of S Washington and W South Street. No action at Pablo's lately, across at the Sleep Walkers Distillery lots of what looks to be decorating and finish work going on. Lots of activity at the new hardware, I was surprised to see they are closed Saturdays. They are rebuilding the brick facade of the office building next door in the 1000 block, also very noisy!

  • The city demolished the old picnic pavilion in Moores Park that had been closed for a couple of years. A new pavilion is being put up in about the same spot. The steel frame is already up. They said they are going to use some of the field stones from the old building walls in the new one.
    Over at the substation, they have put up the art wall on the south-facing side, it is similar to the colorful panels on the front side only much larger. I was thinking that this wall was going to be like the new electric billboards with the art projected. This is more like a flat sculpture of plastic panels which are illuminated from behind, I have not seen the work at night. Check it out, I think it looks pretty good.

  • Any update on Pablos/Sleepwalker? I feel like it really should not be taking this long to open. Pablos looks half abandoned at this point.

  • I walked by Moores Park to check out the finished picnic pavilion, I found it to be very nice looking, they used some of the stones from the old pavilion to create bases around the support beams that look great. There is steel roof that is lined on the inside with wood also very nice. There is a great view of the river and they have smoothed out the hill some to make it look like the new pavilion has always been there. It is really great that they did such a nice job in replacing the old structure, one of those few projects that is nicer than is has to be. Over by the damn they have installed a nice railing next to the river where many people like to fish. The river is still very low below the damn, the island that has formed had greenery growing on top so there has been low water for some time now.

    On S. Washington the new mural on the REOtown Market Place looks nice. The Rusty Mug seems popular I have not been in there yet it looks nice. The Ellison Brewery has a sign that says "Hatching Sept. 28" but that may be put back as they do not seem to be that close to finishing judging by looking through the windows. At the Sleepwalker Distillery they have seemed to be near opening for a while now with dished stacked in the kitchen window and bar furniture in the front but they have yet to announce an opening date. Over at the Pablos site I will see someone go in there once in a while but they seem to be using the place for storage with nothing really progressing. At the Washington Apartments there are health code notices on the door but I have not noticed anyone moving out so I hope that the owners have addressed the issues, there are a lot of people who live there, I would hate to see folks forced to move out but they should not have to live in a place below health code standards.

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