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Central Lansing Development Tour - May 20, 2007

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It was a cloudy day, and I'm still getting used to my camera. I didn't notice until after I'd taken almost all of my photos that there was a huge smudge, which accounts for quite a bit of the poor quality. I was shooting into the sun, alot, but maybe it was the smudged that increased the "washed out" effect?


109 South Washington Square - constructed in 1856, this structure started a renovation, last year, into the Capitol Lofts, I believe. I'm not sure when it will be completed, if it hasn't already been. It was renovated by Diamons in the Rough development, who's leader is one of the partners in the 219 Grand condo tower that will be mentioned later. The building contains groundfloor retail (one of which has been there for decades), and was cleaned, given new windows, and a reconstructed cornice.


The structure sits near the "Four Corners" region of downtown at Michigan Avenue and Washington Square from which all Lansing addresses begin.



The Hollister Building, Lansing's oldest 'high-rise' constructed in 1898 (expanded in 1901), is a former office block that is being restored and renovated for mixed-use including retaining the groundfloor tenants, bringing in an upscale restaurant, keeping a few of the upper floors as office space, and the other few turned into residential.



The completed renovations of the Ranney and Rosenbaum Buildings, which were completed stripped of their modern facades to reveal interesting buildings beneath. The Ranney know has a coffeeshop on the groundfloor with quality office space on the upper floors. The Rosenbaum (to the right) houses the new Tavern on the Square bar, and has a balcony, and most of it sits deep into the site creating a covered outdoor patio area.


On the same block lies one of the Michigan Walk of Fame plaques, this one dedicated to Rose Parks, a long-time state resident and famous civil rights initiator.


Across the street lies the renovated structure at 227 South Washington Square, which held the landmark Parthenon Restaurant for many years, and was most recently renovated as The Firm bar and nightclub. The buildings date back to 1885.


Looking West down Allegan where it crosses Washington Square. Allegan is turning into an important downtown sidestreet in its own right with the Boji's having bought up quite a few blocks of it east of the Capitol and renovating properties along it.


Another little known building is currently being renovated. 110 East Allegan, built in 1915 and owned by one of the people at the Boji Group, is being renovated into 4 apartment units, with ground floor retail.


Off along Grand Avenue, which paralells the Grand River, removed from the core lies a district populated by parking lots and office buildings. Along this route lies the former Lansing City Club building, constructed in 1861, which is to be demolished for a 12 to 20 story condo tower known as 219 Grand. It, and its historic neighbor, are wedged between the Brustalist South Grand Parking Structure and the 15-story Grand Tower, a state office building.


Here, you can see the two over a series of parking lots. The building on the right (name unknown) was constructed in 1915, but updated so many times since then you may as well refer to its as a new building.


Behind all of these buildings and structures lies the westbank of the Grand River in an embarrassing state. You'd never know the river was behind, here, if you didn't know anything about the city. The area is used as a backhouse for each of these structures, and includes strange trails. Some of these structures overhang the river, at parts, and the homeless leave beneath these, along with an assorment of river animals (i.e. beavers, muskrats, ....)



A strange area behind the City Club of unknown usage.


The back of the South Grand Parking Structure built into and overhanging the Grand River.


Looking back southward the unremarkable Kalamazoo Street Bridge, currently be used as a stage for the sewer seperation project going on along Kalamazoo Street, west of the bridge.


Behind the Grandview Plaza Office Building, also built directly into the bank of the river. A now closed boardwalk behind it offered a path to the neighboring parking garage.


The boardwalk below offered access to the river for fishermen. Now, it's used mostly as a summertime sleeping spot for the homeless who live along the river.


Along the east bank, and what I believe to be a former warehouse, the River Plaza Building was constructed in 1918, and renovated many times after that. Most recently, it's major tenant was the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, which is scheduled to move to the Stadium District just down the road when it is completed.


The River Trail and 'modernized' Michigan Avenue Bridge. I'd love to see this reconstructed to make it more visually appealing.


The Riverwalk Theatre lies to the south.



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Why can't I post two photo tours in a row?

Back up on Grand, you get another unappealing view of business district over a surface lot at the prominent corner of Grand and Michigan just waiting to be redeveloped.


Lastly, to end, to Michigan Avenue, currently under reconstruction. It will be given a new streetscape with more greenery. The intersection at Washington Square (the Four Corners) will be given a traffic circle with a decorative fountain in the middle.




She ain't pretty, particularly for a capital city of a large state, but she's trying.

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