Center City Shows Hints of What’s Coming

Monday, July 2, 2018, 7:43 am
Alice Dreger

The Grand River Avenue side of the Center City District project is now showing hints of what the finished project will look like on that side.

The building under construction there was recently named “Landmark on Grand River” by the developers, a partnership of Harbor Bay Real Estate from Illinois and the local Ballein Management company. The Landmark is set to be twelve stories tall (132 feet), with an urban-style Target store on the ground floor and 273 market-rate apartments above that, to house about 400 people.

Parking for the project will be provided by a new publicly-owned parking garage being built behind the structure, along Albert Avenue.

In the last few days, workers have started putting in the forms for the third-floor apartments of the Landmark on Grand River, as can be seen in the photo above. The method being used to build the third through twelfth floors employs premade steel wall frames that are hoisted into place.

Tom Fehrenbach, Community & Economic Development Administrator for East Lansing, explained to the Downtown Development Authority last week that this method of construction speeds up the process. Fehrenbach said we can expect a floor to go up about every three weeks now.

The image above shows an architect’s rendering of what “Landmark on Grand River” is expected to look like once occupied. The second floor of the building, between the first-floor Target space and the upper-floor apartments, is designed to be include an “amenity deck” for residents. The image above shows that outdoor space fronted with planters.

The project was approved without any of the buildings rendered in daylight, so there has been some question about what the surfaces would look like. In the last few days, workers have started installing brick facing on the ground floor, as shown in close-up below. The brick is a rosy tan with a somewhat puckered appearance.

What will the urban-style Target be like? Based on a recent visit to a similar format in Hyde Park, Chicago (photos below), we can expect a variety of groceries, including fresh produce, meats, frozen foods, and “grab and go” foods; beer and wine; cosmetics and toiletries; a selection of housewares aimed at apartment living, including bedding and basic cooking supplies; and a selection of the kinds of clothing carried by big Target stores.

Target has been building these smaller-format stores in urban centers around the country, particular in areas near big universities.

The project is about to require underground utility work that will cause the closure of two of the three westbound lanes of Grand River Avenue for about a month, starting later this week. Read more.


Check out ELi's comprehensive reporting on the Center City District project.