The Quest for Answers on the Center City Ground Lease Payments // Alice Dreger

East Lansing’s City Council voted on Tuesday night to clarify the Center City District ground lease deal so the City can finally start getting paid for use of the public land. I explain the details of the deal in a  new report   up today at ELi . 

Readers of Public Response are often interested in the backstories of major stories, so I wanted to make sure you note you have the opportunity to see my correspondence with city officials and the developers in terms of trying … Read more →

The DDA’s Evergreen Avenue Debt: It’s Time to Think Creatively // Alice Dreger

Three of the EverGreen properties

Tomorrow night, Sept. 10, City Council will take up the question of whether to permanently rezone the DDA’s Evergreen Avenue properties (314-344 Evergreen on the east side) to B3. In a report published today at ELi, I explain what that would mean and list what are seen as the pros and cons of this rezoning: 

https://eastlansinginfo.org/content/rezone-big-redevelopment-near-park-complicated-question-coming-council

As a lot of Public Response readers know, these properties carry about $5.6 million in debt, a debt for with City taxpayers are ultimately responsible. 

That debt … Read more →

Council’s attempt to dictate lease terms // Brian Hagan

Michigan Lease Drafting and Landlord-Tenant Law clip

While we’re mindful that the general public is not always sympathetic to issues involving landlords and the city, we think it’s important to provide some perspective on Ordinance 1444; which will appear on the council’s business agenda at it’s meeting tomorrow (Tuesday, 12/4) night.  This ordinance is an example of council involving themselves in the contractual dealings of a private business.  Whether you’re business owner or not, you should be concerned that our council feels they have the right to do this.

For reference; … Read more →

Latest News on Lotto 1 Project // Eliot Singer

Center City Blueprint

In response to “ Fire Marshal Review Missing …”:

Failing to follow proper procedure is same-old, same-old, for East Lansing development projects. Council, city manager, city attorney, and planning department have long been way in over their heads trying to tackle big projects, especially since their number one objective is to get new buildings up, not to protect the public interest. Obviously, failing to check fire safety is incredibly irresponsible, but these are basically the same people (minus Triplett) who fast-tracked approval of St. Anne’s Lofts after the … Read more →

Meadows “just as surprised as everyone” // Eliot Singer

Mayor Mark Meadows wrote on July 24, “I was just as surprised as everyone to see that the developer was advertising the Grand River property as ‘student housing.’ The Grand River housing was approved as market rate housing and was to be advertised as available to anyone.”

https://eastlansinginfo.org/content/downtown-businesses-panicking-over-construction-related-downturn

Another wonderful example of an excuse-making professional politician having to choose between admitting he was in the know from the beginning or coming across as a moron.

Ruth Beier knew, she just doesn’t seem to … Read more →

Landmark: Deja Vu All Over Again // Eliot Singer

Public-private development in East Lansing is simple. Promise something to get lucrative tax breaks and bond financing. Then build what is most profitable, high priced student apartments and late night bars, which could have been built without tax giveaways or subsidized parking structures. Developers are never held accountable for bait and switch. No one is ever fired for aiding and abetting.

Next shoe to fall is the senior housing with the deck for the old folks with the Trump dye-jobs.

What amazes me is … Read more →

It’s official – the Landmark is “purpose-built student housing” // Alice Dreger

Landmark East Lansing - Student Housing!

The Center City District project was sold during East Lansing’s planning approval process as a project that would bring “market-rate rental housing” downtown. The claim by the project’s proponents was that the 12-story apartment building along Grand River Avenue would attract – in addition to MSU students – working adults whose downtown residency would in turn diversify retail and dining opportunities downtown.

The developer even produced a study purporting to support this claim, presenting it to East Lansing’s Planning Commission and City Council.

But now … Read more →

re: Response to Mr. Bellfy // Phil Bellfy

Reply to Ruth Beier:

There is no nice way to say this, but it is simply not true that​ “the property owners gave up valuable property so that the sidewalk could be widened to improve pedestrian safety.”

Number 1:  The sidewalk was not “widened to improve pedestrian safety.”​ Please look at the attached email which lays out the City’s rationale for replacing the retaining wall.  Here’s the relevant part of that email, and it should be noted that this is the oldest document I … Read more →

re: Response to Mr. Bellfy // Eliot Singer

Cronyism is not a “mistake.” Doing favors for those with connections is cronyism. No one familiar with government in general and East Lansing government in particular thinks retaining wall gate was an innocent mistake. That’s why it was called retaining wall gate in the first place.

Remember this happened in the context of even worse government misconduct with City Center II and St Anne’s Lofts and all the lies and cover up.

I said long ago the only way to restore credibility is accountability.

Read more →

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