Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

LanCity

Old Town

28 posts in this topic

Driving through old town today I noticed a handful of buildings are being worked on. I think this area has a ton of potential. Anybody got any news?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I know there is some stuff going on but I'n not sure on any specifics. Does anyone know whats going on north of Grand River east of larch, by that "alamo" building. I seen a crane back there awhile ago and not it's looking like they are developing or preparing to develop something. The only thing I could think of is maybe an industrial park.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only thing going on near the old Alamo restaurant building is some intense sewer separation work with lots of heavy machinery. It seems like there is road and sewer work going on everywhere in central Lansing, at the moment.

I was just in Old Town today.

1. The current expansion of On the Grand is nearly complete. They are really working hard on it.

2. Recently, another renovation was started on the westside of Turner on a building that's been vacant for years. Here is a picture:

118395637_a62c96dea8_o.jpg

They've taken down some of the facade on the one that reads "available" in this picture. I'd assume they are going to restore the building's to what they used to look like, as it's obviously been "modernized" at the base.

3. The building across the street that is adding two more stories is coming along nicely. Here's how it looked almost exactly two months ago,

118395635_0374064830_o.jpg

4. The Grand River Bridge is also starting to go over the river. Currently, they are working east-to-west.

5. Pruess Animal House is going pretty quickly. They are still working mostly on the interior, but an artist has been outside nearly everyday now painting a great looking mural east facade of the building facing Larch.

6. All of the historic styled street lights are in along Grand River and it's looking brighter than ever. Grand River used to be so dark going through Old Town, even after the revitalization of the street, because of the dimmer and modern overhead lights.

I'm sure there is more to come in the future. Hopefully, Mr. Karp is still working through the plans for his low-rise. Though construction work has torn up Grand River and the areas around Old Town, there was still a fair amount of pedestrian traffic, and the restaurants, as usual, looked to be busy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lmich: How old are those buildings? I would guess 1870s or late 1860s. Very nice brick work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I assume you're talking about the ones in the first picture?

Actually, those are late 1870's.

BTW, Hood, I just found searching through the cities property look-up site that Richard Karp has been buying up quite a few properties in Old Town. This bodes well as Karp is very urban-minded.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I assume you're talking about the ones in the first picture?

Actually, those are late 1870's.

BTW, Hood, I just found searching through the cities property look-up site that Richard Karp has been buying up quite a few properties in Old Town. This bodes well as Karp is very urban-minded.

I see this area popping in the next year or so... between the activity with all the festivals, and the land values increasing as a result of development taking place I think we'll see a very vibrant old town.

Its only a matter of time until the old mustang bar and 200 east grand river find great destination restaurants (something I think Old Town is sorely lacking) and with new housing there, and more on the way a bunch of these smaller, vacant buildings will soon be put to use.

Examples like the cash checking store on GR and 1221 N Turner are setting the trend, I have a feeling people who aren't already will be falling all over themselves to develop in old town.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1221 Turner is the building being rehabbed that you posted a picture of that says "Available," I don't know anything about a check cashing store.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


The check cashing store is on Grand River next door to the antique furniture store.

BTW, I got out to take some pictures today, so I'll be posting more here of the progress, and some random photos of the area.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Updates:

1200 block of Turner Street with 1221 under reconstruction

156028984_f153cb5128_o.jpg

1214 Turner Street. I thought this was a two-story expansion as when they had the wood up, they had cut out windows near the top, but I guess it's just the second level of the loft. I kind of hope they do more in terms of exterior detail, because it's very plain looking.

156028985_3ebe1d6250_o.jpg

Detail

156028986_b7c74c1471_o.jpg

Portable Feast and Creole Gallery (not sure of the name of the building) - http://lansing.com/creolegallery/

156028987_b148e87b95_o.jpg

Bare Bones Studio - http://www.barebonestudios.com/

156028988_04a925f398_o.jpg

On the Grand Condominium expansion wrapping up.

156028989_636ada636c_o.jpg

Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau, the interior is just as nice as the outside.

156041027_f0a1faa718_o.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I definately agree that something more needs to be done with 1214 Turner, as is it's pretty ugly. They seem to be taking their time at On The Grand, never the less I think that this strip of rowhouses does more for Old Town than anything else. I would love to see more rowhouse blocks like this put up around downtown and Old Town. I think these are far better than ones like Printers Row, whicjh are obviously a single building, On The Grand has a more authentic feel, like it fits right into the streetscape.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's interesting, because On the Grand, to me, looks more cartoonish and less authentic. They are really nice on the inside, though. I really wish, though, that they would have bought the land on the other side of the street to really fill in the area. Unfortunately (IMO), the Red Cedar Friends (Quakers) bought the site a few months back for their meeting house/church. They said it will be historic-styled, but it will only be one floor, really not the best use for the site, IMO. And, the area just to the north of the condos is just terrible looking. It almost looks rural from the condos up to North Street (only about a block).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that the church is a wrong use for that site, especially an insignificant one. As for the area north of there, it looks more ghetto than rural to me, a lot of dilapidated buildings and houses, vacant lots, ect... I don't really know if it's better to clean it up or try to seperate it from Old Town. As for On The Grand, the reason I think it looks more authentic is that Printers Row is and looks like a single townhouse building, where On The Grand almost looks like you could tear out any of the individual units and it would still exist, I also like that they used more brick.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I seen in the council agenda this week that Lingg Brewer, the guy who proposed to build that 6 story building in EL, has applied for an OPRA for that building.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I saw that, too. We're talking about the check-cashing place on the 300 east block of Grand River.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I listed and sold the check cashing store in early May.

The property sold very quickly, and there was actually a three way bidding war.

Lingg's plan is to but two units upstairs and rehab the commercial on the first floor. He was also looking into the feasibility of a 'garden unit', but I am not sure if he is still proceeding with that or not. Next time I see him, I'll ask, since he is about 20 feet from my office. The check cashing store is closed and and currently in the process of vacating. Fred, the check cashing store owner, just got tired of the business and decided to invest in some hotels with some family members. I can't say that I blame him, the clientele was always trying to pull 'a fast one', and that would get a little old.

Jon Sears is well underway on demolition of the property on Turner street. He ran into a few slowups as the facade alteration, done some years back, compromised the floor foundation joists, so he has to cut them all out and start over. I think Jon is 'pumping the brakes on the project', but as I know him, things move faster than he likes to let on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jon Sears is well underway on demolition of the property on Turner street. He ran into a few slowups as the facade alteration, done some years back, compromised the floor foundation joists, so he has to cut them all out and start over. I think Jon is 'pumping the brakes on the project', but as I know him, things move faster than he likes to let on.

What property is he working with?

Also, is there anything new with your loft project?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jon Sears is doing the rehab of 1221 Turner. He also rehabbed the building that my office is in, 302 East Grand River (directly across the street from the check cashing store), and also 124 Island Avenue (REO Town).

Updates for my building....... well, working on logistical planning for construction, like getting a lane shut down on Larch and who all we have to get the okay from. Signed contracts with Design+ out of Grand Rapids for architectural and renderings, ditched some others I was working with locally, using Kincaid Design for the construction management. Getting ducks in order to set down with neighboring property owners to discuss construction with them, and hoping that no one will be that much of a hindrance. I have a suspicion that 2 of the four may be a problem, but we'll see on that.

Real estate business has picked up considerably, I'm the busiest I have been in 3 years, so its baby steps forward, as I have to juggle both.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Its great to hear that things are moving along, I can't wait until both this and Stadium District are going up. Has the design been finalized yet and do you know when construction may begin? Also one thing that I've been wondering, it the entire building going to steel or concrete, or something like Stonehouse where the first floor is steel/concrete and the upper ones are wood frame?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jon Sears is well underway on demolition of the property on Turner street. He ran into a few slowups as the facade alteration, done some years back, compromised the floor foundation joists, so he has to cut them all out and start over. I think Jon is 'pumping the brakes on the project', but as I know him, things move faster than he likes to let on.

When you mean demolition, do you just mean the facade demolition of 1221, or do you mean taking down the whole building? I can't imagine it would be the latter as it would seem it would be very tricky not to damage the buildings on either side, and especially the occupied Lansing CVB Building (BTW, does anyone know the original name of this building?).

Updates for my building....... well, working on logistical planning for construction, like getting a lane shut down on Larch and who all we have to get the okay from. Signed contracts with Design+ out of Grand Rapids for architectural and renderings, ditched some others I was working with locally, using Kincaid Design for the construction management. Getting ducks in order to set down with neighboring property owners to discuss construction with them, and hoping that no one will be that much of a hindrance. I have a suspicion that 2 of the four may be a problem, but we'll see on that.

Though not a huge concern of mine, you do realize that Larch is already squeezed almost directly right in front of your Larch building, right? Does this mean that Larch at Michigan will be at one lane for a longer distance than it is currently?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BTW, if anyone watched city council, last night, it appears that Terry Terry is finally getting closer to the long pending renovation of the former Mustang Bar building. His plans include two loft apartments, and he's hoping for a ground floor destination restaurant, something that Old Town has been wanting for years. He's currently asking for a rezoning, and the city is holding him up on something (I think it may be the OPRA).

On a side note, and just a little complaint, but though I'm really liking the new, historic-styled lighting in Old Town, I'm kind of disappointed that they didn't put in vegetation, or small trees in the block just east of Cedar Street. This block has always looked very sterile, and I was hoping that when they put in the new lighting that they would have included some saplings like they did just on the block west.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By demo, I meant interior demo. Sorry for the confusion.

As far as Terry Terry's project goes......I'll believe it when I see it. He has been trying for years to get a restaurant to take the space, however, that effort is more lip service than anything. For many many years he was offering rent at 6.00 a square foot, but the restaurant had to do the build out, and there was no option to purchase. Even conservatively that was probably 500k for the building, let alone equipment and furnishings. Oh, and Terry wanted to reserve the basement and the 2nd story for other uses. The guy is delusional.

I looked into buying the building myself, but then after meeting with him, found that he was not interested in selling. Of all projects in Old Town, and seeing Terry Terry's building (his current place, inside and out), I am most skeptical of his plans. If the project does move forward, I hate to say, but will most likely be a very disappointing end product, unless he has come into some money, class, and style, all of which I am very doubting.

I would say, look to Jon Sears at 1221, Karp at Turner and Grand, Tom Arnold at 200 East Grand River, and Lingg Brewer at 300 East Grand River to be the catalysts for the next wave of Old Town rehab. Robert Busby's second story addition, should help too!

As far as the mini debate over Printer's Row vs. Condos on the Grand, I personally break them into 3. Phase 1 of 'On the Grand' is head and shoulders the best. Each unit is unique and customized, and the amenties are absolutley top notch. Then I would move to Printers Row, Gene Townsend has a very nice project, the quality appears to be there, and the layouts are very very good. The 2 car garage helps a ton too! Lastly, Phase 2 of 'On the Grand', the floor plans are a little weird, and the garage is now 2 cars, but that is 2 cars deep, not side by side. Also, the construction is not up to the par of phase 1, wood frame instead of concrete, no radiant heat, and no customization of units, they are all the same. Also, the deal killer..... the laundry is now in the garage, excellent when you want to do laundry in the winter.

Construction for my building should be concrete and steel for the parking and first floor, and wood for the residential units.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some upcoming Old Town projects, as they'll be moving through city council for public hearings:

June 12: 1011 North Washington Square. Harvest Music + Sound Design, who is currently located on south cedar, bought the old PTA building and will be redeveloping it into their new offices. This will be recording studios and office space. The architecture of the building is unique for the area, but from what I hear the inside needs extensive work, especially to get it to the lofty standards the Harvest has. The cool thing about this project is that it brings the building from a tax exempt user into a tax paying one AND brings tons more "artist" traffic into the Old Town area. I think thats what kept the buyers in Lansing rather than Royal Oak or Novi.

June 19: 1221 N Turner. The aforementioned John Sears project. With the quality of John's other building on Island avenue I know he'll do this one top notch. This and the mustang will really complete a major section of Turner that needs to be redeveloped and put to productive use. I think you're going to see a lot more interest in the vacant buildings across the street once these two get done. I, obviously, don't share fisher191's pessimism on the Mustang Bar. Truth be told, the market for redevelopment hasn't be right in Old Town, atleast not compared to the way it is now, so just because there was a former unwillingness to do much in the past doesn't exactly mean there isn't a profitable market for doing it now. Now that Old Town is starting to get to the tipping point people are going to see that they're leaving a lot on the table by not putting these buildings to productive use.

June 26: 317 E. Grand River. The Lingg Brewer Building. As its been said, two more lofts and improved commercial space. I know Pablo of Pablo's Panderia really wants to expand (like into the comfort station) but is kinda locked where he's at right now. This might provide him a little more space if he was interested in it. This building has horrifically out of date utilities and needs a lot of work just to be brought up to code.

I've heard of a couple new construction projects in Old Town that might be on the horizon beyond just Richard Karp's well covered project. I think this is more of a sign that Old Town is starting to turn the corner... obviously there has been moderate interest in the historic structures and finding room for redevelopment but now that there is interest in building new... watch out, this area is ready to POP and pop BIG! Its a very exciting time in Old Town.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've heard of a couple new construction projects in Old Town that might be on the horizon beyond just Richard Karp's well covered project. I think this is more of a sign that Old Town is starting to turn the corner... obviously there has been moderate interest in the historic structures and finding room for redevelopment but now that there is interest in building new... watch out, this area is ready to POP and pop BIG! Its a very exciting time in Old Town.

Any details?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LanCity, how exactly are you involved in Old Town? I suspect your a resident or business owner, maybe..?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.