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Downtown Raddison in trouble?

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The LSJ reported today that the Raddison hotel in Downtown Lansing may be forced to close unless the city waives $17 million in debt, see the story here. The city loos like it will forgive the debt, which I agree with since it would allow the city to give financial assistance to a new hotel. But after the Raddison never turning a profit in nearly 20 years, why would anyone want to invest in a new downtown hotel? I think the reason the Raddison never turned a profit is because it was built amidst the worst years for downtown, downtown is just now beginning to be attractive again. I think that the Raddison will begin to turn a profit within the next 5 years, probably sooner. There may even come a time in the near future where there is a shortage of downtown rooms, and when the Lansing Center is finnaly expanded there will be a strong need for more hotel space.

What does everyone else think about this announcment.

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I think it's rediculous how the city throws away taxpayer money. That grant that they got and gave to the Radisson could have been used for more beneficial things to the residents of the city, such as schools.

I also think the Radisson will never pay back the million dollars that the article talked about. They haven't made a single payment on the 3 million dollars, which in turn ballooned to 17 million by interest. They have other debtors that will collect before the city ever gets a chance to see the money.

This is a good case why downtown development is not always the smartest way to use the city budget.

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As for the grant, if they didn't get a hotel, they would of gotten no grants. Grants are for specific projects and are VERY strict as for their uses.

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Guys, it is as simple as this:

The city got dubbed years ago, and now we are paying for it in the future. The leaders that signed a "deal with the devil" with the Radisson were not thinking ahead AT ALL. Now, we must pay for it.

Do not fear, their is NO WAY the current city government is going to seek the full payback in no uncertain terms closing the hotel. We were taken for a ride years ago, and now we must pay for it.

It is a sad deal, but a necessary one.

Man, I can't believe how incredibly short-sighted the council was in 1985, and how they even agreed not to help other hotels start up. That handicapped the city for years. The silver lining here, though, is that we will no longer be bound by this.

This set up why there is only one downtown hotel in a city this size. It's embarrassing.

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Oh, thats not even the beggining of the idiotic council's mistakes. Does any one here remember the proposal for Embassy Suites at the site currently occupied by Oldsmobile Park. It was going to be a quite large hotel, my dad remembers it as being at least 10 floors, for an Embassy Suites thas probably about 400 rooms minimum. And if any of you have been in or stayed at an Embassy Suites, you know how great they are, I love their atriums, they alone can make for a more attractive convention center, which is the main draw for a downtown hotel. The Raiddison itself could be the reason for it's problems, it's poorly maintained with premium rates. I wouldn't mind it if the Raddison did close, then a new hotel would definatly move in. But the key is still a Lansing Center expansion, which won't work without a new hotel and visa versa.

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That is one place (rare, huh?) where I wouldn't be so confident of a replacement, as you. Even a few months down may kill the market. You can't shut down downtown's only hotel, even if it is only for a few months.

It is terrible and embarrassing what Radisson did to Lansing. ALL of Lansing's hotels are either in the suburbs, or at the very edges of the city with the exception of the dinky former Motel 6 down on Washington, which doesn't even count, IMO. For a capital city, that is embarrassing.

To me, the Radisson Hotel isn't all that bad, and is decently maintained for being the cities only downtown hotel. What makes it bad is what it did in the past, and that it's really only a mediocre hotel.

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From my experience it is not very well maintained on the interior, when I was there for a wedding reception last spring the railings were loose and almost falling off, bolts and screws were exposed. windows were dirty and the carpet was turning grey, I'm very suprised to see that Raddison still allows the hotel to carry it's name. I agree with you on the Deluxe Inn, it is only a "business" hotel ;) .

In the midst of this Raddison discussion, which hotel do you think would make a nice addition to downtown, also how large, tall and where do you think it should be (this is assuming the 250,000 sq. ft. Lansing Center addition is completed.) I think a Mariott or Omni would be appropriate, 400+ rooms would be good, and about 25-30 floors. As for location I would go with Grand & Michigan, regardless of the Raddison's objections. Either on the location of the surface lot and the adjacent abandoned building or on the location of the Grand View Building and the North Grand Ramp. I prefer the latter of the two sites but the Grand View building would be very expensive, and the other location would be cheap, just a dilapidated surface lot and abandoned building.

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I think a Mariott or Omni would be appropriate, 400+ rooms would be good, and about 25-30 floors.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I don't think anybody is thinking of building more than 15 floors in downtown right now. There is simply too much open space to build up. Building up is more expensive than building out, and it is too easy for a hotel to simply buy up a couple surface lots and work it that way.

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But, to be honest, there are very few very large parking lots left in downtown proper, which is everything east of Capitol. Everything to the west is pretty unbuildable because it is owned by the state, so those huge surface lots are out of the question.

I don't think we will see anything over 15 stories, anyway, but it will be because of demand, not because the sites downtown are too large.

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If a new hotel is built I can almost guaruntee it will be taller than 15 floors, unless it's an Embassy Suites. Anything else would be building taller than 15 floors, almost all new downtown hotels are between 20 and 30 floors, look at GR. The only way a new hotel would be feasable would be if the Lansing Center is expanded, which will happen but may take awhile. If the expansion is completed it would put Lansing on track to attract a whole new class of conventions and shows. Then the next step would be a performing arts center, a new CENTRAL downtown location for Impression 5 and R. E. Olds museum's, that would do wonders for downtown development in all aspects, I expect all of these things to be done within 15 years, hopefully less.

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That could never be done in 15 years. Plus demand will determine the height of a hotel, not the size of the city, and Grand Rapids is much larger than Lansing, so that is a poor comparison. I wonder if the Lansing Center Expansion will be actually done in 10 years.

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If there is nothing else I believe it's that a new convention center expansion will take place within the next 10 years with and adjacent hotel. I'm much more skeptical about light rail, though.

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That could never be done in 15 years.  Plus demand will determine the height of a hotel, not the size of the city, and Grand Rapids is much larger than Lansing, so that is a poor comparison.  I wonder if the Lansing Center Expansion will be actually done in 10 years.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I can almost guaruntee all of that will happen in 15 years. Both the museums have to move, they are talking like they are ready to move now and they are currently exploring their options. A performing arts center was supposed to be built by now, they had designs and even renderings prepared for a $40 million performing arts center in 2001, i don't know what happened but I'm guessing the $15 million from the state fell through, to the best of my knowledge the city is still pursuing it. As for the Lansing Center being expanded and a hotel built, it's just a matter of time, and the hotel will have to be at least 400 rooms to support that kind of expansion, thats over 100 rooms larger than the under construction Mariott in GR, thats like 23 floors I think. As for comparing GR to Lansing, you can't really, Lansing's downtown has a larger market to appeal to and a greater chance of success in the long run, but no Van Andel, DeVos or Meijers to jumpstart massive development. One of the keys for a successful downtown is a Liberal population, Gr does not have this and in spite of that has had a greatly successful downtown, there is no reason why Lansing's downtown can't be at least as successful as GR's, I could go on forever on that subject.

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Actually, Lansing's going to have a very hard time in the convention business. The fact is that Grand Rapids and Detroit have a monopoly on the convention industry in Michigan. They are both larger, and both have larger convention centers, and more amenities. What Lansing can hope to do is to attrack smaller conventions. But, first, an expanded Lansing Center needs to be built.

A little off the subject, but I still have the small and old newspaper clipping/rendering of the proposed expansion. It's not very clear, at all, but I'll try to scan it. The expansion actually looks really nice, and matches the rest of the center.

As for the Performing Arts Center, what happened was simply that Hollister took the job with the state. The proposal was essentially put on hold because Benavides has nowhere near the interest in the performing arts center as Hollister had. Hollister single-handedly kept the proposal afloat, and just didn't have enough time to implement it. If he wouldn't have taken the job, I would put money that the center would either be under construction at this time, or what at least be in the end of the planning phase.

I remember specifically the LSJ asking Benavides about this when he first came into office, and he simply brushed it off as a frill, an extra, that the city couldn't afford to pursue.

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Lansing could easily take away business from GR, besauce of Lansing's prime location and keep in mind as massive as Devos Place is it only has like 160,000 sq ft of exibition space, the Lansing Center currently has 71,000 sq ft I would assume most of the expansion would be devoted to exibition space, does your article say anything about that? But mt main point is that Lansing should be able to put quite a dent in GR's convention business and even a little in Detroit's if the expansion happens. Being the capitol and having a central location are great assets that need to be capitalized on.

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Being the capitol and having a central location are great assets that need to be capitalized on.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yeah but Detroit has a lot for the attendees to do while they are there, such as attend a baseball game at Comerica Park, a football game at Ford Field, a hockey game at Joe Louis, a theater show at the Fox, plus much more. Grand Rapids is much larger than Lansing, and has a much larger airport to prove that. Attendees for large conferences can fly in to Detroit and Grand Rapids much easier than they can to Lansing.

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Yeah, Lansing's centralized location doesn't mean much when you have two much larger metros squeezed in on each side of you. Actually, that's why no one Michigan city is booming, they are all too close for comfort. :) The other two cities simply have better infastructure and amenities.

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I don't think many business travelers have time to do much, especially not enough time to see a game or anything like that, and Lansing has no excuse why it shouldn't have it's fare share of things to do and I'm confident Lansing will improve it's entertainment in the near future. As for airports, Lansing has a long way to go but there were over 650,000 passengers in 2004, compared to 2 million in GR, Lansing should top out at over 1 million passengers, as Lansings metro is a little over half the size of GR's. My point is that Lansing is no where near it's potential, I don't even see any reason why Lansing's metro can't grow at a faster rate than GR's, and Lansing's airport should easily pull in a lot of Howell and Ann Arbor passengers who often want to avoid Detroit if there isn't a big price difference. Lansing needs to get it's act together, as a city and as a metro, things are really lagging around here, many things could and should be better.

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I'm late to the conversation. I haven't been here in a while...

Anway, I wouldn't put too much into attracting conventions. I've read too much about cities heavily investing in expansions with little more in terms of attendance to show for it.

Also, it might not be the case for travelers on regular business trips, but a city's anemities and attractions definitely get used for conference attendees. Take a look at Microsoft's recent PDC 2005 conference. Just the other day I was reading about the procedures for attendees to visit Universal Studios in Cali. for free with free shuttles to the studio/amusement park every 15 minutes, for example. Nobody's going to spend their entire days sitting in auditoriums. And if they do, there's still no reason to do it in a medium-small city when there's good chance it'll be a lot more convenient in an established convention city.

That being said, there's no telling what will be possible in 15 years. While the city still has a ways to go and even though many people still complain, I don't think there were very many people back in the earily 90s thinking there would even remotely be a renewed general interest in downtown Detroit. Even Flint has received about $200 million of investment in the last 3-4 years not including some projects that are still on the way in the greater downtown area, and I'm pretty sure nobody called that one way back in 1990.

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I agree that you just can't predict or underestimate what can happen in a relatively short period of time. When they built the Amway Grand in Grand Rapids many thought it was a joke, GR was an ultra-conservative sleepy town that just so happened to have a lot of people. Now it is a gleaming example of what a mid-sized midwestern city can be, and I often paralell Lansing to GR because I think Lansing could actually,over time, become as nice as GR.

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So, the city has decided to approve the deal with the Raddison. Unfortunately they decided to allow the owners to dictate the terms of the deal and the city will not be able to give any reasonable amount of help to another downtown hotel until at least 2013. The deal isn't completely clear to me, but it will be somwhere between 2013 and 2018 that the city will be freed of the contract terms. The new deal reads that the city can only give 15% of the funding for a new downtown hotel and only if it is over 250 rooms has a resturaunt and 15,00 sq. ft. minimum of conference space the hotel would also have to be the same "class" of hotel as the Raddison. This deal is null if the owners do not pay the city $300,000 immediately and $100,000 next year and the year after. The city got screwed on this deal and downtown will be paying the price for at least 8 years, this is another example of our short-sighted city government. And FYI, councilmembers Leeman, Allen and Bauer voted against this deal because of the "no subsidarity" clause, at least they were smart enough to see the deal for what it was.

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The council took the cowards way out. Instead of MAKING the hotel deal with them again, they grin and bared it.

Bauer and Leeman has always been my two favorite council memebrs. They are the only two that don't seem to be sheep. Ms. Bauer ALWAYS answers my emails back, if even a little late at times.

I can't believe they continue to let the Radisson lead them by the balls, for lack of a better term. They could have easily fought this out, if even in court, to get a better deal.

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Something different definately should of been done. I'm hoping that there are some new faces on the council come November, at least John Pollard, he really seems to stay on top of things.

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He does, but he is the most arrogant of the grandstanders I've ever seen. It's almost like watching a bad reality TV show if you watch council TV. Though, I did overlook that.

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I'm sure he will learn to tame it down a bit if he is elected. If he doesn't he won't likely be re-elected, the reason he grandstands now would probably be to make sure that council listens, if he were a member he would be heard without having to yell.

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