Council Approves Bailey Community Center Plan

Wednesday, August 5, 2015, 10:09 am
By: 
Alice Dreger

Above: artist’s rendering of the CAHP plan for the redeveloped Bailey Community Center, viewed from the south.

East Lansing’s City Council last night approved option and lease agreements between the City and Capital Area Housing Partnership (CAHP) for the Bailey Community Center. This approval marks a necessary step in CAHP’s plan to apply for federal funding this fall to support the group’s plan to redevelop the Community Center.

East Lansing’s Director of Planning Tim Dempsey told Council that the lease between the City and CAHP is for 45 years and can be renewed for another 45 years if both parties agree to do so. The rent for the period would be $100 per year; it has to be a nominal amount, said Dempsey, to allow CAHP to get funding for low-income rental housing. The plan is also to include commercial space and potentially a day care, as well as offices for CAHP.

Dempsey told Council that CAHP and the City will be working to arrange a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement for the low-income units. This would be money paid to the City each year. Dempsey said that any market-rate units or commercial portions would be subject to real estate taxes, as determined by the City’s assessor. He said an income-generation approach will be used to determine how much the taxes would be.

Councilmember Ruth Beier asked for a clarification because she was surprised to learn that a publicly-owned building would pay real estate taxes. Dempsey said that if it generates income, it is subject to taxes. He said that the rental houses along Evergreen Avenue that are owned by the East Lansing Downtown Development Authority (DDA) pay taxes because they are generating income in rents, but that the DDA-owned property at the corner of Albert Street and Abbot Road (the “little bank building”) does not generate taxes because it is vacant and so generating no rental income.

Mayor Pro Tem Diane Goddeeris spoke in favor of the plan saying she was glad CAHP had come forward to do this project. Beier agreed, noting that no person had told Council it was a bad idea. She said it “seems to achieve everything we’ve tried to do with this building.” She praised her fellow Council members for acting quickly on this opportunity. Speediness is required because CAHP is trying to meet an October deadline for applying for federal funding for the project.

Councilmember Kathy Boyle said she was very pleased at this plan and felt it would serve and indeed improve the community and neighborhood. She said it would be great to have senior housing close to downtown. Councilmember Susan Woods said she felt the plan provides “everything needed.” She said it was glad that the plan respected the historical nature of the building. She said she was glad to deal with a building that is “costing us a lot of money” and that requires “improvements that we cannot afford.” She said she was glad the City is not selling the building.

Mayor Nathan Triplett said he was also glad that the City would retain control of the property, that the plan met the desires of those citizens who had weighed in on the future of the building, and that this would “relieve the city” of what he called an “untenable financial burden.”

More approval steps will be coming before Council later this summer and fall.

Readers may wish to see the staff memo on the project, read the option agreement, see the planned schedule, and view the site plan. CAHP’s site provides a plain-language overview.

 

Note: The line "More approval steps will be coming before Council later this summer and fall" was added about an hour after original publication to help clarify next temps.

 

eastlansinginfo.org © 2013-2019 East Lansing Info