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Lmichigan

Lazy, Lansing Summer Day: Part I

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Here's a little some old, and a little something new. Hopefully, when all of the loft and retail projects come on line, it will lead to a vibrant downtown, even on a Sunday morning like this. Even more so, maybe we can get past the "manicured office park" look. The next tour I'll do is the much more vibrant and more quickly growing Eastside.

A General Map of the Area I walked and drove:

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Most of this tour is taken from the largely scattered south downtown area.

A quick view over one of the many surface parking lots down on Hillsdale Street.

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The Arbaugh Lofts and Shops (under renovation), and Grand Tower from Hillsdale Street over more surface lots.

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The one oasis in south downtown, Reutter Park and it's fountain.

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Cass State Office Building two blocks northwest of Reutter Park. The 7th floor was completely lost to arson and never rebuilt which is why it looks unfinished.

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Capitol

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Hollister Building entrance off of Allegan Street. This building at the base of the Michigan National Tower was one of Lansing's first "high-rise" buildings. It was modernized, and lost all of the detailing around it's base, as you can see. Lofts will be constructed on the top two floors next year.

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111 East Allegan. This building holds a Skyline Chili franchise on the ground floor with 11 or 13 lofts above (I can't remember).

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Comprehensive view of the last view buildings shown above.

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The heavily undertilized 100 south block of Grand Avenue. Hopefully, the small glass box and parking deck will eventually be torn down revealing the river below. The Ottawa Street Station in the distrance will be Lansing's first large-scale mixed use reuse, and will include riverfront promenade, retail, office space, and possible lofts and museums.

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Just to the south on the 200 south block sits the recently vacated and historic Lansing City Club that now meets at MSU. This building is one of the oldest in the downtown core built in 1861. There are plans to either added a 4-5 story loft building on the river in back or tear it down altogether and replace it with mid-rise housing.

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The grossly modified Fifth Third Bank Building. Once a beautiful historic mid-rise, it's nothing more than concrete and aluminum slabs.

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Going a block south you can a quick glimpse of some colorful buildings, once vacant and one a university high-rise. The ivy-covered building in the foreground is home to a law-firm.

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Stepping out onto Washtenaw. In the foreground one a loft and retail building, the empty blue-and-yellow-tiled (and currently vacant) Knapp's Centre Department Store Building, and in the back the Administrative and Classroom Building for Cooley Law School. Cooley is trying to consolidate as many of it's offices and classrooms as it can in this building vacating the historic Masonic Temple they've been using as a classroom building.

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Accident Fund Company next door. It's a subsidiary of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan. Also a historic building, it was completely reclad and 6 floors were added to it in the late 80's.

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An empty view of the corner shown above. If anyone ever renovates the Knapp Centre for residential use this view probably wouldn't hold.

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A block south of Kazoo (Kalamazoo) and Washington Square is the renovation of the Arbaugh Lofts and Shops reuse. Once a department store, it's seeing new life. Actually, workers were hard at work on it today even on a Sunday morning.

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In front of the Arbaugh you can spot another loft/retail conversion across the street. They were out finishing the black paint-job today.

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The ugliest corner downtown at Lenawee and Washington Square at the bottom of the block. They really need to rescape this and get rid of the ugly surface lots right along Washington. For the rest of the blocks to be so dense, this is an unwelcomed sight coming off the freeway.

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Closer inspection of this concrete monster's base. The SECU (State Employees Credit Union) sits on a slope so it has many different entry ways.

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Also on Lenawee is the Capitol Park Apartments (it's actually H-shaped, this is the south face). For such and old building it's awfully plain and kind of ugly, but adds people to area, and life to Reutter Park on the weekends.

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I got distracted and hit up Moores Park just south of downtown...

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Then, I got even more distracted and followed the river on down to southwest Lansing...

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...finally, I got my senses back and went back downtown

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At Allegan and Washington lies a historic building that was modernized (it seems very few historic buildings down here weren't). All of the decorative cornices were removed when it was turned into a state office. Capitol Hall and Farnum Building rise behind.

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The Capitol Hall is under renovation. The coffee shop at the base must be a little annoyed.

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Further up Allegan is the newly refurbished and repainted Tower Parking Ramp and the rear of the Capitol View.

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A closer view of Capitol View over the Capitol grounds. Another story can be added if demand warrants.

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Up Capitol about a block away is the modern Lansing City Hall. The stone, Romanesque-styled City Hall and Post Office were demolished for this and another building. This new post office is rumored to be in it's last few years. It's filled to the brim, crammped and in a VERY valuable location. Rumor has it that the city wants to move a bit further north and build on a surface parking lot thus opening this up to a developer. The city wants a hotel on this site facing the Capitol.

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Part II...

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At Allegan and Washington lies a historic building that was modernized (it seems very few historic buildings down here weren't). All of the decorative cornices were removed when it was turned into a state office. Capitol Hall and Farnum Building rise behind.

7124__washington_square_at_allegan_street.jpg

Up Capitol about a block away is the modern Lansing City Hall. The stone, Romanesque-styled City Hall and Post Office were demolished for this and another building. This new post office is rumored to be in it's last few years. It's filled to the brim, crammped and in a VERY valuable location. Rumor has it that the city wants to move a bit further north and build on a surface parking lot thus opening this up to a developer. The city wants a hotel on this site facing the Capitol.

7128__lansing_city_hall.jpg

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Wow and I thought East Lansing was the only reason to go to the Capitol! I definitely have to make my way to Lansing while the weather is nice and wander around. Thanks.

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Hood, thanks for the correction on the Landmark Building. I was almost certain there were state or city offices that occupied most of the building. Also, I'm pretty sure it was once a much more oppulent building. You can almost just tell by looking at some of the blank areas on it that it had some decorative parts to it.

As for the City Hall I was talking about the general area. As you know the old city hall and post office building were slightly to the north of the current city hall.

As for the rumors, now that the city is struggling, I am almost certain that this talk of a new city hall has quieted down even more than it already is. Tentative plans (I think they are shown in the cities master plan model) called for the new City Hall to be built on the parking lot or at the site of the vacant Oliver Towers. The city then wanted to put up for sale the current city hall of at least the land.

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The Landmark building did have state offices in it from about a year after Woolworths closure up to late last year or early this year. It could be very interesting to see what happens after the Accident fund is done doing it's thing, could be a prime canidate for ground floor retail/dining and loft or apartments on the upper floors. With office vacancies still high I think you will see more owners look into that option for their buildings.

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Yeah, with the Hollister about to undergo renovation just across the street, I wouldn't be surprised if the Boji snatched this one up, too. They seem to want to buy up all of the properties around the Michigan National Tower.

It would be cool if a tower could be built into the Landmark Building preserving most of the building as is. They could make these floors the retail promenade, and put a condo/apartment tower in the middle.

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Good idea, but with all the open land and surface lots around downtown it is extremely unlikely, but the possibilities of the building being used as-is are great.

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Nice tour so far! (I haven't looked at part 2 yet)

What's the building in the foreground of the picture with the caption "...finally, I got my senses back and went back downtown"? It looks pretty nice, and I don't recall seeing it before.

Also, who uses the Tower Parking Ramp? I didn't realize there was another ramp adjacent Capitol View. Seems like quite a bit of parking on one block. And from some angles that building doesn't look half-bad (although, still a little bland).

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I agree that there is a ton of parking on that block, however I would rather have too many ramps than too many surface lots...though they have drawbacks as well. I think capitol view is not bad architecturally, but I am disappointed that it does not live up to the standards of the renderings. The renderings make it look many times better than the final product.

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Dnast, it's the reclad 101 South Washington Square, which has an upscale restaurant on it's first floor. Actually, this is it's third incarnation and second recladding. It was once an historic building, but was reclad with some ugly glass in either the late 60's or 70's.

Yeah, though Capitol View could have been better, it's not half bad. And, workers of the Michigan National Tower, some state employees, and some Cooley Law School students use the tower parking deck. The new Townsend Street Parking Structure will be used almost exclusively for the workers in Capitol View and the Accident Fund Company Building. That was the deal they worked out before it was built.

As I think I've said before, two floors of office or residential space can be added to the top so when that happens there will be even less space for public parking. But the thing is huge; over 1,200 spots.

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