ELi's Comprehensive Guide to the Park District Redevelopment

Thursday, October 26, 2017, 5:00 pm
By: 
Alice Dreger

Here is the timeline of the redevelopment project, from newest to oldest events:

  • September 18, 2018: DRW/Convexity reaches a deal to pay off the previous developer. City Council agrees to the Development Agreement. Now it is all up to whether the State of Michigan approves the tax incentives. Read more.
  • September 6, 2018: East Lansing's Downtown Development Authority and Brownfield Redevelopment Authority approve the latest deal, moving it closer to the finish line. Read more.
  • August 20, 2018: ELi brings details of the latest Development Agreement. Read more.
  • August 15, 2018: ELi reports on the concerns downtown business owners have about what more construction will bring. Read more.
  • August 14, 2018: City Council approves the new site plan. Read more.
  • August 8, 2018: Planning Commission recommends the new site plan. Read more.
  • August 6, 2018: Transportation Commission discusses the project's plan for walkers, bikers, and drivers. Read more.
  • July 31, 2018: ELi reports that the new site plan is moving quickly. Read more.
  • July 30, 2018: East Lansing's Planning Director says parking is overbuilt in the city, and the Park District doesn't need more parking than planned. Read more.
  • July 11, 2018: The new site plan gets mixed reviews from Planning Commission. Read more.
  • June 15, 2018: ELi breaks the news of the new proposal for the area. Read more.
  • April 10, 2018: We bring you a special analysis of "The Pickle in the Park District" (the problems the project continues to face).
  • January 10, 2018: New design plans are said to be in the works. Read more.
  • December 22, 2017: We bring you the story of the site from 1926, when it was also embroiled in controversy. Read more.
  • October 25, 2017: The developer talks to us about the challenges of getting a project done in East Lansing, while the rest of the blighted buildings are demolished. Read more.
  • October 24, 2017: We explain how the troubles of the Center City District deal are like and unlike the troubles of the Park District deal. Read more.
  • October 7, 2017: Demolition of the buildings started. See photos.
  • October 6, 2017: We reported that demolition was about to start. Read more.
  • October 6, 2017: We explain how, if the tax proposals pass on November 7, the Park District redevelopment could be negatively impacted. Read more.
  • September 28, 2017: We report on upcoming demolition and what will happen after that. Read more.
  • September 21, 2017: We report that the Park District redevelopment plan is officially dead. Read more.
  • September 19, 2017: We report that City Council is trying to get the State to make a decision to save or kill the project. Read more.
  • September 19, 2017: We report that City Council was attempting one last shot at saving the Park District redevelopment plans. Read more.
  • September 16, 2017: We report that former developer Scott Chappelle has effectively killed the redevelopment project by convincing state-level authorities that he may still have some rights to future tax credits on the properties he lost to foreclosure. Read more.
  • September 11, 2017: The Mayor expresses frustration that the MEDC won't seem to make a clear decision on moving forward with the Park District state-level tax incentives. Read more.
  • August 31, 2017: The MEDC suggests the state-level tax incentives may yet happen, despite threats from former developer Scott Chappelle about legal actions he might pursue. Read more.
  • August 24, 2017: A public relations firm is hired to try to help downtown businesses survive two major redevelopment projects, including this one. Read more.
  • August 16, 2017: We learn that the state-level agency that has to approve the $10 million credit will not consider the project until at least September, delaying demolition. Read more.
  • August 2017: Asbestos abatement ongoing at the "big bank building."
  • July 27, 2017: At a special meeting of City Council, the prior developer tries to make a legal maneuver to claim some rights in this redevelopment project. Read more.
  • June 22, 2017: City staff admit a major mistake on the project, delaying demolition of the vacant properties and potentially jeopardizing the deal. Read more.
  • June 22, 2017: East Lansing Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (BRA) approve the revised development agreement.
  • June 6, 2017: City Council takes up the revised development agreement and approves it in a 4-0 vote.
  • June 1, 2017: DDA discusses the development agreement; recommends changes.
  • May 30, 2017: ELi reports on the development agreement going to Council.
  • April 25, 2017: In a 5-0 vote, City Council approves a site plan and $19.4 million tax-increment financing (TIF) plan acceptable to the developer. Council also approves a Memorandum of Understanding about the main elements of the development agreement.
  • April 20, 2017: BRA approves a revised TIF plan for the project, one that is acceptable to the developer.
  • April 12, 2017: East Lansing’s Planning Commission unanimously recommends DRW/Convexity’s site plan.
  • March 22, 2017: DRW/Convexity present revised site plan, including for The Graduate Hotel.
  • March 7, 2017: MSU says it won’t be part of major downtown developments.
  • February 23, 2017: ELi produces a major report showing how the Park District and Center City District plans have been treated differently.
  • February 6, 2017: ELi explains “the Evergreen problem in the Park District” and how it has affected attempts to redevelop the Park District.
  • March 31, 2017: City Council votes 4-1 to let the vacant buildings remain longer, at the developer’s request.
  • January 27, 2017: MSU says it may move to be a part of the Park District redevelopment.
  • January 26, 2017: ELi reports Convexity’s plan to “significantly change” the site plan.
  • January 23, 2017: The developers provide ELi a statement explaining their dissatisfaction with the City’s handling of their project.
  • January 10, 2017: City Council approves a TIF plan that the developers call unworkable in a 4-1 vote. The deal falls apart as a consequence.
  • January 5, 2017: In an apparently unprecedented move, the BRA votes through a shell of a TIF plan on the project, suggesting Council can work out the details.
  • December 12, 2016: Council agrees to extend the demolition deadline after tense discussion.
  • December 1, 2016: ELi reports that the developer has changed the site plans in response to concerns raised by Peoples Church, the Oakwood Neighborhood, and the Planning Commission.
  • November 2016: City Council amends Ordinance 1384 to reduce the requirement for non-student-rental housing in big downtown developments from 50% of units to 25%. This impacts Convexity’s site plan by reducing how much non-student-housing it must include.
  • October 21, 2016: The developer recommends a $34 million TIF deal.
  • October 12, 2016: Planning Commission reviews the new site plan.
  • August 31, 2016: The LSJ incorrectly reports that the developer has withdrawn the proposal in response to Ordinance 1384, which at the time required big downtown developments have at least 50% of residential units be aimed at someone other than student renters. We correct the LSJ story.
  • August 25, 2016: The DDA hears plans for the Park District.
  • August 16, 2016: ELi talks to the developer and finds out what may be in the works.
  • July 2016: The vacant, DDA-owned building at 303 Abbot Road is demolished.
  • July 2016: The developer demolishes the vacant Evergreen Arms apartments at 341-345 Evergreen Avenue.
  • February 5, 2016: Ingham County Court clears the way for DRW to take over the foreclosed properties without major legal encumbrances.
  • January 2016: The deeds on the vacant, blighted properties change hands.

 

 

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