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Lmichigan

Major Office Complex Approved for Rural DeWitt

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If they'd have moved to downtown Lansing, this would have easily been the tallest building in the city. 750,000 square feet is A LOT of office space for a single company. This would have been a signature tower.

Major Office Complex Approved for Rural DeWitt

Tony Tagliavia

Amid an almost entirely rural landscape in DeWitt Township lies land now slated to host as much as 750,000 square feet of office space for Delta Township-based Auto-Owners Insurance.

The DeWitt Township Board of Trustees approved a zoning change making way for the development Monday night. The development as approved would come in two phases: One in 2010, another possible in 2016.

http://www.wilx.com/home/headlines/4231631.html

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Without knowing the facts, I have to blame Benevides/Bernero. Did Lansing not market sites well enough, or offer any incentives? It seems like a company of that size would want to have a prominent downtown location.

By the way, didnt Auto Owners just add a large addition to their campus a couple years ago?

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Actually, plenty of large companies/corporation choose campus over downtown locations. Jackson National Life just a few years back chose that rural/natural site in Alaiedon Township, because it had freeway access. I imagine this must be at the 69/DeWitt interchange, or the 69/Airport interchange and that's why they are choosing that.

Yeah, this would be the fault of both Benavides and Bernero, as they'd been talking about moving months before Bernero was in office, though, he should have pursued them from day 1. I can't say that he didn't, but you'd think we'd heard something if they did.

For comparison, the Penobscot Building in downtown Detroit is 700,000 something square feet. But, they could have went the low-rise route, still, like Constitution Hall in downtown Lansing. Barely over 100 feet tall and 6-stories, the thing is over 500,000 square feet.

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First of all, a project of this size has certainly been in the works for years before the current mayor took office. Also, if you look at what Auto Owners has done in the past, it would have been impossible to convince them that Downtown was the right choice for them. At their complex on Creyts and St. Joe they purchased many acres and developed not just an office complex, but condominiums, office complexes, a hotel...quite a few more acres than are available in the downtown area. While I agree it would be great to see such large company supporting the downtown area, I think it is important to think of the larger economic effect such a company can have on our area. When a company like Auto Owner's expands, it can do nothing but help the entire region. And PS, I have absolutely no affiliation with Auto Owners whatsoever.

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I did forget that Auto Owners had much more than their offices on the west side.

So what is the fate of the Sheraton Hotel?

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No one is implying it would be better that Auto Owners leave if they don't go to a more centralized location, but this move just seems ridiculous, and exactly what smart growth is supposed to try and prevent. They aren't reusing infastructure, they are simply stretching it further. It's the definition of sprawl. Forget downtown, again, they could have easily found a place in East Lansing or even in some undeveloped part of Lansing, or even Okemos. Instead, they are going to rural De Witt Township.

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