Lansing Needs Voter Approval For Riverfront Development

By: John Tramontana Email
By: John Tramontana Email

The city of Lansing is looking for voter help to revitalize downtown. On Tuesday's ballot, Lansing city residents will decide whether or not to allow the city council to sell riverfront property to be re-developed into condos.

"It's about getting a critical mass of people downtown."

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero says more people downtown means more money for the economy.

"It adds vibrance. It adds life to downtown," he said. "It feeds all of the other things we're trying to do."

The land is located along the Grand River near Grand Avenue. It's home to one of the city's largest parking structures in addition to some vacant buildings.

If voters allow the council to sell, developers want to build a high-rise for moderate to luxury living.

"The early demand is for maybe 12 to 20 stories. So about 100 to 200 units," said potential site developer Shawn Elliott. "If there's more demand we can go bigger."

Some units will be about 600 square feet others, in the penthouse, could exceed 2,000.

"The sky's the limit."

But there's more plans for the site than just the $20 to 30 million it would cost to build the condos.

The ramp is quite an eye sore, but developers hope to change that and are proposing a face lift to the outside. They'll even continue to allow residents to park inside the ramp for the next three years.

That will save the jobs of parking attendants and will provide enough spaces for downtown workers and residents.

After the three year period, more structures should be built and the South Grand Avenue ramp could be demolished. If the initiative passes on Tuesday, developers will begin negotiations immediately with a groundbreaking targeted for fall.


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