Image: City Manager George Lahanas, courtesy City of East Lansing
City staff are moving to get a East Lansing City Charter amendment on the ballot for May 5 that would change how some public land sales happen—taking the power from the ballot box and giving it to a simple majority of City Council.
At City Council this week, City Manager George Lahanas told Council the current Charter provision is outdated and restrictive.
Image: The corner where PDIG seeks to construct the 10-story "Building A"
The East Lansing Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is moving forward on controversial developer PDIG’s plans for the blighted area downtown. Two major buildings in the area are now estimated together to cost $101 million, and local government is considering $32 million in tax incentives for the project area. At a public DDA meeting yesterday, details emerged on the Tax Increment Financing plan as well as the development agreement being made between the developer and the City.
Local developer DTN Management is set to present a new plan for the empty lot at the northwest corner of West Grand River Avenue and Delta Street, next to the West Village Condos. The empty lot is shown above; to the west are the West Village townhouses, and to the north, Valley Court Park.
Image: Planning Director Tim Dempsey speaks at City Council
Tonight at City Council, Planning Director Tim Dempsey told Council that the development company PDIG—with which the City is actively negotiating on what would be the largest development in City history, at the corner of Grand River Avenue and Abbot Road—is owned in part by minor children.
Each week at ELi, we take a question from a reader, investigate the answer, and bring you the result on Friday.
This week’s question from a reader: Did the failure of the parking lot sale authorization on Election Day cause Hotel Indigo to pull out of its plan to be a tenant in the proposed “Building A” in the Park District?
Tonight at City Council, Mayor Nathan Triplett spoke with disappointment about yesterday’s failed vote to authorize City Council to proceed without the need for further direct-voter-approval on developer DTN’s Park District proposal. But City Manager George Lahanas said he saw the vote as sending an important reminder or message to City Council and the City planning staff.
A major point of contention between proponents of “yes” and of “no” votes is whether the Park District project put forth by DTN Management will go forward if the voters vote “no” tomorrow on the authorization of City Council to sell three parking lots. (ELi has explained separately why the blight at the corner of Grand River and Abbot is not the development at issue in this vote; read more here.)
Image above: Plan rendering provided by DTN, looking west across Abbot Road from above City Hall toward Valley Court Park. The largest building is a planned 7-story parking ramp with a 10-story building wrapped around it. (This does not show the entire Park District area plan.)
What would a “yes” vote on the parking lot sales ballot question mean to East Lansing residents in terms of changes to our city’s debt and our city’s real estate tax revenue? That’s a question on the minds of many East Lansing residents as they go to the polls.
An important question concerning the Park District proposals working their way through the City's Board and Commissions concerns who the tenants will be. The five buildings proposed by the Park District Investment Group and DTN Management Company would add approximately 600 beds of rental housing to an area between Valley Court Park and Abbot Rd. The demographic profile of this dense new residential community is likely to have a profound effect on how the downtown evolves over the coming years.