Metro Place (formerly Reutter Park Place, formerly The Lenawee)



  • edited December 2017

    In the article they talk about how she says the floor plates are too complicated. It's really a justification not to try, but there is some truth to it. Her development company is too much of a novice to do it; it could definitely be done, but it'd take a lot of work.

    The building is a weird mix of little rooms and big rooms, and some half-levels and a weird enclosed running track in a medium-sized room wedged in there somewhere in the upper levels. It's roughly "U" shaped (the north arm a bit shorter than the south arm), but a 3-story rectangle section is inset into this to fill in the "U" and then another three-story section is behind that that I'm not sure is even the same height as the inset rectangle. Then behind that on the northwest is 2-story modern(ish) gymnasium annex that was kind of tacked on.

    I remember how confusing it was to navigate as a kid. It'd definitely require a significant reconstruction to get it to work, though I imagine for a more experienced redeveloper they could actually do that cheaper than what it would cost to build new. The big problem with this property is that Lawton has never done anything on this scale. They sell single-family homes in the suburbs. I really wished someone else had gotten their hands on this property, which is why I was disappointed to see that this project was brought back from the dead.

    The funny thing is that the building is roughly the same size as the one she's proposing for the site. It's 93,000 square feet, which is almost exactly the size of the former version of this proposal, and just a bit smaller than the current proposal. Were is a project with some higher priced units, it definitely be worth renovating the building over building new since they are almost the same size.

  • The YMCA is a sorta cool old building and if someone wanted to properly restore and reuse it I'd be all for it but it would be a really difficult building to do anything with. It has short ceilings and small floors, the U-shaped main section is probably about 25-30 ft wide. I do wish someone could have come up with a good reuse of the building though, as has been stated all too many times, there are still plenty of parking lots to build on throughout downtown.

    The upside here is that the new building will have a large number of units so if it's successful it ought to make investors a little more comfortable lending for other projects in the area. I agree that the architecture in that rendering is subpar but that is the same rendering from the proposal several years ago so I'm really hoping they improve on it, we'll have to wait and see on that though.

    It would have really been great if they would have built "The Lenawee" here as they originally proposed, I think downtown could support the office space and that was a nice looking building.

  • I agree that the old building is better than this new design. The developers keep saying the Y building is unsuitable for redevelopment. I think that most of the upper floors were hotel-like rooms, which would seem to be easily reconfigured, and having a pool and a gym could really add to a residential development's value. I think the same thing about Walter French.

  • Wow, when did they propose this building? So much better. I thought it was a drawing of a building proposed for another city. No, it is a drawing of what they are not going to build in Lansing. It is kind of depressing to turn back to what they are going to build.

  • This was the first project the developer proposed for the site (it's back on page one). Unfortunately, it was proposed right as we were about the go into the great recession. It was marketed primarly toward all of the different state associations in the area.

    Aside from the time it was proposed, what I remember is that the developers were pretty adament that they wanted the city to help finance a parking garage for the development, and the city wasn't willing to do that. As the concept for the site changed, that never seemed to change and it got to the point that the city ended up practically publicly denouncing the developer and hoping they would go away.

    I see that only Lawton-Essa is mentioned these days, so I wonder if her husband is still a part of this? Anyway, it looks like developer has given up extorting the city for a parking garage; either that, or the announcement is because they realize a new mayor is coming in. Though, the article does seem to be pretty clear about a "surface parking lot."

  • edited January 2018

    The LSJ has picked up the story. They want to break ground in spring after they nail down financing.

    Construction will begin on the $25 million project — dubbed Metro Place — in spring after the company closes on financing, owner and developer Julie Lawton-Essa said in an email. Y Site LLC bought the property in 2008, according to records.

    The current six-story building at 301 W. Lenawee St. near Townsend Street and Reutter Park was constructed in 1951. The site was abandoned in 2003.

    The new 122,130 square-foot project will have 145 loft apartment units including 30 studio units; 69 one-bedroom, one-bath units; 29 two-bedroom, one-bath units; and 17 two-bedroom, two-bath units.


    Approximately 6,925 square feet of commercial and retail space will be located on the ground level, along with some of the apartments. Plans also call for 154 surface parking spots on the site.

    They are currently trying to nail down a HUD loan and gap financing from the MEDC. They already have the TIF nailed down for this one. This is one of the reasons I wish a development with more heft and experience was developing here; they wouldn't need to rely on this much public financing to start construction.

  • Looks like the MEDC (Michigan Strategic Fund) incentive was awarded for this project this morning.

  • That is great news! Maybe we will get some new drawings or new ideas for the design. I guess Lansing is happy with lowrise buildings, which is fine really. it is kind of a distinction of our city. I hope they will build low rise buildings that are of a high-quality design and not look like very other lowrise building built here in the last decade.

  • The LSJ wrote that they are taking another look at building a new courthouse and police facility behind the current courthouse [formerly Auto Owners] building. There is a half block wide parking lot there so there would be room if they build up some. This with the old Y project and the Lake Trust block the south side of downtown is going to have a lot of people down there. I would like to see the city make Rutter Park a real showplace. I do not really mean getting rid of the people who currently use the park, I mean making the park feel safer cleaner and more comfortable for everyone. I could see something like a Park Attendant who is there every day cleaning up and looking after the gardens and fountain. A bicycle Park Ranger patrolling downtown parks and river trails could make frequent visits to the area that would add to the feeling of safety while allowing anyone to use the park.

  • We're on the eve of demolition for this one:

    Before demolition, crews have to build a new sanitary sewer line, said Rich Cossettini, site superintendent. He expects they should begin demolishing the building, at 301 W. Lenawee Street, sometime in September.

    Oakwood Construction sent a notice Aug. 29 to residents who live around the demolition area, alerting them that demolition was set to begin within two weeks.

    Cossettini said he expects the demolition will take about eight weeks.

Sign In or Register to comment.