Frandor Owners Suing Lansing Over Red Cedar Project, Mayor Calls Claims 'Erroneous'

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A mult-million dollar project to redevelop the Red Cedar River golf course in Lansing might've hit a wall Thursday.

The owners of the Frandor Shopping Center, which sits across the street from the site, filed a lawsuit against the City of Lansing attempting to stop a public hearing from taking place to address the project's drainage assessment.

A public hearing planned for Monday would move the project forward.

"We believe the assessment will roll in the development costs in which everyone in the district and potentially the City of Lansing would have to pay," said T. J. Bucholz, a spokesperson for the shopping center.

The property for the proposed Red Cedar project is located in a flood plain and the suit contends the costs to make it flood resistant and create a massive drainage system would add up to tens-of-million of dollars.

At issue is the so-called "Montgomery Drain" system which is dumping storm water and pollution from Frandor and the surrounding area into the Red Cedar River.

"There are two solutions and the solutions need to be separate, I think the city of Lansing and the Ingham County Drain Commissioner would like them to be linked," Bucholz said.

Ingham County Drain Commissioner Pat Lindemann disagrees with Bucholz's claims.

"It makes sense to do the two project together, from a financial perspective and an efficiency perspective, it's a big savings I think," Lindemann said, who has in the past said the drain system needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

The project is yet to be finalized, but it would be built on city owned property, formerly the municipal Red Cedar golf course. Local developer Joel Ferguson and an Ohio developer have been selected by the city to build it.

While Frandor supports the proposed development, the lawsuit contends the developer should be responsible for any and all costs associated with redevelopment project though Bucholz worries that will not be the reality.

"I just don't think that's the case," Lindemann said.

"The real argument he's trying to make is that the assessment is unfair, well there is no assessment yet so how can it be unfair."

For now, discussions between the city and Frandor remain ongoing.

"We don't understand how you can hold a public hearing about nothing," Bucholz said.

"If the City of Lansing is willing share its plans to tell people how much this is going to cost them before the special assessment is done then that's a different story."

A statement of Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero says he can't comment on the specifics of the lawsuit, but does say "it significantly misrepresents the facts and makes erroneous claims and assumptions about the city's intentions with regard to the redevelopment project."

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