Supermarket Could Be Coming to Downtown Lansing

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City and economic leaders are in the early stages of developing a plan to recruit a grocery chain to downtown Lansing.

Council member Kathie Dunbar, who is spearheading the effort to put together a comprehensive recruitment package, says it's about time.

"This is not a new concept, this is something residents downtown, business owners, anybody involved in urban revitalization has been talking about," Dunbar said.

"If we don't, we are missing a huge opportunity and all the dollars folks have down here are bleeding outside the city because they're shopping outside the city."

The Lansing Economic Development Corporation, Lansing Area Economic Partnership, or LEAP, Downtown Lansing Inc., Downtown Development Association, and even the governor's office are all actively involved in the conversation, according to Dunbar.

"There's a lot of energy and money that can make this happen," she said.

Gretchen Cochran with the Downtown Neighborhood Association said she's excited to see the progress being made on the idea.

"Neighbors who live here in Lansing are taking charge of their own destiny and they're saying we don't have what we want here, lets talk about what we want, figure out how to get it and go get it," she said.

According to data from the Lansing Economic Development Corporation, there are 75,000 people working within a two mile radius of downtown.

Those are numbers that play well for Dunbar who is modeling her ideas off two urban stores she recently visited in Ohio.

After researching and visiting The Hills Market in Columbus and Constantino's in Cleveland, Dunbar said she was shocked.

"The statistics they used for market analysis to open both those businesses had lower occupancy rates, lower density and lower income than what we have in Lansing and those stores are thriving," Dunbar said.

In both those cases the retail spaces were less than 14,000 square feet, which is a size Dunbar says could very well accommodate either a smaller independent grocer or a larger chain looking to open in a more urban space.

For those who live and work near downtown, they say bringing a supermarket to the area makes sense.

"I walk to work, I walk to restaurants downtown, one of the only things I need to use my car for is going to supermarket," said Greg Frens, who lives a few blocks from the Capitol.

The potential location for a supermarket is still being determined, but Dunbar said she's eying a space west of the Grand River and north or I-496, near the Capitol Loop.

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