The Center City Project is a $132 million project proposed by Harbor Bay Real Estate Advisors set to take place along the 100 block of Albert Ave. in the heart of downtown East Lansing. The plans provide for a 22,000 sq ft., twelve-story apartment building with a small-format Target shopping center on the first floor. While including Target in the plans for this project was key, another major component of the plan is to include an additional $125 million twelve-story structure with retail space, a six level parking deck and six floors (271 units) of housing for people 55+ adjacent to the current construction site. The plans for the second development recently gained approval from the East Lansing Brownfield Redevelopment Authority for $52 million in rebate, however, it still awaits approval from the East Lansing Planning Commission and City Council.
Author: Aaron Litt
Principle: Ecology, Go Green:, Infrastructure Investment
A green roof is a concept that to my knowledge has not been utilized on any building across Michigan State's campus, or anywhere in East Lansing or greater Lansing. A green roof is a roof that is aligned with various plants, vegetation, and a water proof membrane. This provides a way to absorb rain water and treat the air of the area around the roof.
This concept could be very useful in helping combat the potential for flooding around the streets of downtown East Lansing, and provides an environmentally friendly aspect to the large building going up. If this were implemented it could also set the standard for other projects around greater Lansing to adopt similar environmentally friendly building aspects to limit pollution and create more efficient sources of energy, such as lining the roofs of buildings with solar panels. Adding a green roof to the City Center Project could provide the inspiration for other projects to follow suit.
Jobs with Residence Above
Author: Mai Vang
Principle: Housing Inequality
Having a Target below an apartment makes it super convenient for students to get their daily needs and school supplies. Opening up a Target on Grand River means more job opportunities. A great idea would be to offer or include a contract with terms concerning housing and a job opportunity. For example, if one were to work in a Target while also living in an apartment room upstairs, they could be given special advantages such as paying a lower rent cost. As a resident, they should also be granted free parking within the six floor parking structure. With these special advantages, residents with these special contracts with affordable housing included within their contracts wouldn’t have to worry much about safety. Everything they need will also be all accessible to them. With many homeless people roaming the streets of Grand River Avenue, doing this could help improve their lives for the better and decrease the number of homeless people along with the negative stigma against them.
Community Garden/Green Space
Author: Jose Gavina
Principle: The Biophilic City - Nature is Key!
Have a section dedicated to a garden/green space on the roof area above target where there is seating is something that would be beneficial towards both residents and people visiting the retail spaces. That would be a good spot for it since it would mix a retail area with nature. They could even mix the seating they provide with nature as shown in the photo below. Additionally, since there is the area that will be for residents that are 55+, this would be an activity that would let them interact with people of all ages since gardening is an activity that any age can enjoy! Furthermore, the green space is something that people walking by down on the sidewalk will be able to see, so it will catch their interest and make them stop and enjoy nature in the downtown area. A garden situated above a Target isn’t something one sees often. Because of that, it could potentially draw in a larger amount of people to the retail aspect of this project.
Implementing something like this would not be too difficult if there are enough residents that would participate in this project. Residents would be the ones planting in the garden, so the management would not have to worry about hiring a groundskeeper to make sure the garden stays healthy. All management would have to do is reserve a space for the garden and provide them with the necessary things to begin, and from there, the management would not have to do much for the most part as it would be a community effort to care for the garden. In order to find out if this is something that is feasible to do, they could send out a survey to the people that have already signed up to live there and try to find where the interest levels for a community garden are. If interest is high enough, they would have a good reason to implement it. Lastly, this will add a Green aspect to the Center City project, which will definitely be a welcomed addition.
Value of Small/Local Business
Author: Jose Gavina
Principle: Economic Impact of Small Business
Since Target is already set to come in, all of the other retail space they plan on having should go to ONLY small businesses since Target is already a huge company. Small businesses are a big part of the local economy, so the project needs to be able to support them instead of hurting them even more by giving them more competition in the form of bigger stores. Small businesses are put out of business most of the time because they cannot compete with the prices of bigger stores. However, there is not a store similar to target this close to campus, so that will be a good addition to those who cannot make it to Meijer or a similar store outside of East Lansing. The issue here is that if they add more big companies to the area that could take away from the business of nearby smaller stores. That is why it is important they really take into consideration who they give the remaining retail space to. The photo below shows a Walmart (big business) and a small business that was struggling because it was built near it.
Implementing this idea would require the cooperation of everyone who is in charge of deciding who to give the retail space to. Something they could do is have interested retailers give a presentation on why they believe they will be the best option for the community. Doing this will give them a way to remain fair as they will have facts to go off of. Furthermore, giving the community input on what retailers they would want to see would be great for two reasons. For one, the people in the community know what the community needs, so they will know what will work best so that no one business gets hurt economically because of the inclusion of another business. Second, this will be good for the new retailers since the people are getting input in what they want to see in the new development which means that they will technically already have a customer base since the interest will clearly be there.