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Posted on: February 7, 2020

LBRA and Mayor Schor Support Building Restoration with Public Improvements on N. Washington

A highly visible gateway property located on the newly established Saginaw Street corridor improvement authority, is moving closer toward redevelopment. The proposed Michigan Realtors® Headquarters redevelopment includes demolition of the existing functionally obsolete property located at 700 N. Washington and an adjacent building in similar condition at 720 N. Washington. The Lansing Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (LBRA) voted to support the brownfield plan during its Feb. 7, 2020, meeting. The Lansing City Council will receive and refer the plan to its committee on development and planning Monday, Feb. 10, 2020.

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“Redeveloping this site will make a big impact on a highly traveled corridor in our downtown and will nicely complement Durant Park by improving the overall safety of the surrounding area. We are looking forward to welcoming new visitors to Lansing as they enjoy this new facility,” said Andy Schor, Mayor of Lansing.

The proposed $9.2 million project includes a new three-story, 19,443-square foot commercial office building with a roof deck and 72 paved parking spaces designed to accommodate the operations of the Michigan Realtors® headquarters. The new facility will include workplace and conference space for Michigan Realtors® staff, training/meeting space to host dinners, continuing education seminars, committee meetings and other events for members, stakeholders and partners from around the state. 

“We are excited to be expanding our footprint in Lansing and to be working in partnership with the City to ensure this investment serves the needs of our members, while also addressing the needs of the community,” said Rob Campau, Michigan Realtors CEO. “We are working to create a destination space for our more than 30,000 members from around the state, and this is a great opportunity to invite visitors to experience and explore Lansing as an added benefit. It is my hope that this project will serve as a landmark property and a symbol of Michigan Realtors commitment to the Lansing area.” 

The project includes improved landscaping, sidewalks, parking and enhanced lighting, which will allow easier access to the site and Durant Park. The plan was developed in cooperation with the City Public Service Department which plans to extend streetscape improvements on both sides of Washington Avenue north to Madison Street in the next few years when the street’s sanitary sewers are replaced. These improvements will enhance the aesthetics and curb appeal for Saginaw Street and Washington Avenue, creating a better connection to Durant Park and a safer intersection for both pedestrian and vehicles. 

“The City of Lansing has been working to strengthen the corridors in many different ways, most recently to pursue the establishment of the Saginaw Street CIA, and I’m excited to see the success continue with this proposed project,” said Hannah Bryant, an economic development specialist at the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP), on behalf of the City of Lansing. “Redeveloping a functionally obsolete property would enliven a prominent corner on a major corridor that connects Old Town to Downtown.” 

To overcome the projects extraordinarily high brownfield costs estimated at $536,276, the Michigan Realtors® have asked the Lansing Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (LBRA) and the city of Lansing to approve a Brownfield Redevelopment Plan. The plan would allow the LBRA to collect the increase in property taxes paid by the Michigan Realtors® on their new building and reimburse them for their brownfield costs. By utilizing the increase in property taxes resulting from the redevelopment of the property, the brownfield plan is self-funding and self-regulating, if the project is not completed the developer will not be reimbursed. 

Following review by the city’s committee on development and planning, final consideration of the brownfield plan by city council is expected to occur in April. With approval of the plan by council the project will create approximately 30 construction jobs, with site demolition to commence in March 2020 and construction expected to be completed in spring 2021. 

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