After more than a year of negotiations and support from the East Lansing City Council, the Center City District Project is now off the table.
City officials learned of the news last night.
There’s a lot of moving parts to this story but here’s a brief re-cap of what happened.
According to East Lansing officials, the development agreement between the city and the project’s developer called for a performance bond which would protect the city in the event that the developer couldn’t complete the project.
Although the developer agreed to this, he decided last minute that it wasn’t going to work out. So therefore, said no deal.
This project has been highly anticipated by more than just city residents.
Local food and retail stores like Noodles and Company and Clever Clover actually moved their businesses out of the original location to be near the development in an effort to grow business.
If you recall, plans for this project called for a 12-story apartment building on the 100-block of East Grand River, which included a Target store.
The space along Albert Avenue included a new parking garage, new retail space, and a 5-story apartment building for seniors.
East Lansing Mayor Pro Tem Ruth Beier says, she understands the challenge developers had with this bond, but the city has to protect itself from any future blight.
She isn’t however, considering this as a setback.
“I don’t think of this as a failure, I actually think of this as the city working the way it’s supposed to work. We wanted the development, it’s disappointing not to get a grocery store and the 55 and up housing and the new building but we didn’t want to put the city at financial risk no matter what. And so this system that we put in place actually worked,” says Beier.
We also reached out to the developer but did no hear back.
So what happens now is somewhat unclear.
However, Beier says there are a couple of options.
The first being that the city can leave the project as it is.
Second the developer can try to come up with another big plan that isn’t as massive so that he can afford the bond.
Or have the property owner propose a different development.