East Lansing moves forward with Center City project

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The City of East Lansing said Tuesday, it would be moving forward with plans for the Center City District’s multi-million dollar redevelopment project.

City Manager George Lahanas said the city found the project’s due diligence report “satisfactory.” The company in charge of the report, Development Strategies, said the project was a “generally thoughtful and sound proposal.”

“After consulting with staff internally and letting counsel know the process, we are in the process of notifying the developer now that we are moving forward with the project,” Lahanas said.

The $132 million plan would tear down a strip of buildings in downtown East Lansing, making way for new housing, commercial space and a parking structure.

Lahanas said the due diligence report was a big step, but there is still a ways to go before breaking ground.

First, the developer has to go find funding for its portion of the project, which Lahanas said could take 60 to 90 days.

Then, the city has to begin more steps.

“The city has a number of steps too,” Lahanas said. “We have to move forward with a Brownfield plan, going to look for bonding for these bonds that we’ll be selling to do the improvements.”

The money the city makes from these bonds will go toward the public part of the project, the rest of the costs of construction will come from the developer.

Lahanas said all these steps are done to ensure the public is protected from any financial loss.

“All of these steps protect the public, to make sure that once they start tearing up parking lot and all the way up to the time it’s completed, that the public is protected and we’re not on the hook for anything we shouldn’t be on the hook for.”

According to Lahanas, buliding construction could start as early as September or October of this year.

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