Marketplace Project Moves Forward

By: Jamie Edmonds Email
By: Jamie Edmonds Email

An apartment complex near the city market, plus more businesses near the ballpark, it's the vision of Pat Gillespie's $23 million Marketplace project, one that was in jeopardy for some time.

"I'm delighted the log jam was broken and we're going to move forward and we have progress again," Mayor Virg Bernero said.

Gillespie was counting on Brownfield tax incentives to help with cleanup when he signed the agreement with the city years ago, but when it came for council to vote on it a few weeks ago, it failed.

"The reason I didn't support the Brownfield is because it had a lot to do with a lot of issues," Wood said.

"Including questions surrounding the plan itself and tax revenues," Wood said.

"My job is to review everything that comes to us to make a decision," she said. "Ninety-nine percent of the time I support development."

The Mayor believes the no-vote had more to do with union labor, or lack thereof.

"You had Jeffries, Hewitt, Wood -- the usual suspects -- leading the charge to throw up road blocks to progress," Bernero said. "I'm not going to have it."

In the midst of it all, Gillespie went to court in Ingham County last month, and won.

So as things stand now, the development is a go, but council member Wood worries what this court case means for future development projects.

"What we've been told is if a developer doesn't like our decision, we're going to take you to court to over rule you," she said.

Gillespie has said he wouldn't be able to complete the project without the incentives, therefore the whole thing might have been scrapped, but Wood said he knew from the beginning the incentives weren't a sure thing.

The mayor is happy the whole thing seems to have worked out, because in tough times, there aren't that many people looking to invest in the city and develop projects.

Wood said the council has until next Monday to vote to appeal the judge's decision. Monday November 8th, there were not enough votes to do so.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by LISA on Nov 10, 2010 at 08:16 AM
    I JUST READ THE COMMENTS AND THINK THAT CALLING VIRG KING IS JUST A BIT FAR. DICTATOR SEEMS TO BE THE WORD I WOULD USE. I AM AGAINST HAVING MORE UNOCCUPIED BULDINGS DOWNTOWN. I AM WORRIED THAT THE CITY IS GOING TO HAVE TO CHOOSE BETWEEN FIGHTING A DEVEOPLER IN COURT, OR BEING OVER RULED BY THE COURTS. IF THIS HAPPENS THE DEVELOPERS RULE THE CITY AND MAKE ALL DECISSIONS, AND NOT THE CITY GOVERNMENT. SOMETHING IS VERY WRONG WITH THIS IDEA. I DON'T LIKE THAT IF YOU HAVE MONEY YOU CAN GET YOUR WAY. HAVE EXPENSIVE LAWYERS ON TAP, AND THE CITY SAYS NO, YOU HAVE THEM SMOOTH TALK THE JUDGE INTO WHAT YOU WANT. REALLY MAKES YOU THINK DOESN'T IT? THINK WE NEED SOME CHANGES IN SOME LAWS!
  • by Liz on Nov 10, 2010 at 05:44 AM
    Between Virg on TV this a.m. and this, I find I have comments. When did Virg become the King? "He won't have it" The City Council is doing thier jobs. Like him they were ELECTED. They have concerns and this is between Gillespi and the City Council. Since Virg never spends more than 10 minutes at a council meeting how would he know anything. I also found his derogatory remarks about Council members offensive. But we must remember this is the guy who pushed for a new developer who came into town. A guy whos every last permit had been cancelled by the city etc who issued it. But Virg pushed for him to build here in our town. He wanted a guy who builds without putting in footings to build homes in Lansing. Sorry but I do not trust Virgs judgment on anything. Why doesn't he find someone else to try and bully. Let the City Council do the job they were elected to do.
  • by Sans on Nov 10, 2010 at 04:55 AM
    When did we elect Virg as King of Lansing? He isn't going to have it? Making doggetory comments about board members. These people like him were elected to do a job, and at least they try. Which is more than you can say for Virg. He's never met a developer he didn't love, even when they are crooks. If he had is way there would be no green spaces in Lansing only buildings and concrete.
  • by Ricardo Location: Lansing on Nov 10, 2010 at 04:34 AM
    The thing that is scary with these situations, is that the elected representatives are trying to do their job reprsenting the cities best interest. But these developers have become too cozy with the court system. They will get their way through back door methods one way or the other. Small communities (not Lansing) can't afford the legal costs to stop them so the developers can ram whatever projects they want through just by sweet talking a Judge. The appeals system is broken because of this influence. With rare exceptions, the people responsible for making these decisions, should not be over ruled by legal influence! Thank you. Ricardo
  • by Anonymous on Nov 10, 2010 at 03:23 AM
    Virg , this is why you lost the gov. race because of your great decisions and your buddies that screw the city out of millionsof dollars
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