Center City District bond and TIF update // Alice Dreger

There’s good financial news emerging on the Center City District project — the strict cost-control measures put in place by now-Mayor Ruth Beier and her colleagues on Council in 2017 turn out to be stricter than we had realized. In 2017, the TIF was effectively reduced by Council from a $56M cap to a $50M cap!

Combined with the new valuation method from tax assessor David Lee for big apartment buildings, this means that the Center City TIF will pay off years earlier than … Read more →

Letter to the Brownfield Development Authority // Alice Dreger

I have steadily reported for East Lansing Info on the Center City District project from the day it was introduced, on many occasions with my colleague Chris Root. We have spent a lot of time using FOIA to document what has happened (and not happened) with regard to the public financing of this project.  Today I sent the attached letter (below) to the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority about their meeting which happens tomorrow (Thursday, July 9) at noon. I share it with readers of Public Response … Read more →

East Lansing City Bond Attorney // Eliot Singer

I see  in ELi  that some members of Council are (finally) questioning the continued use of the bond attorney. I would add, they also need to get rid of Baird as the city’s bond agent.

Better yet, time to stop allowing DDA/BRA to issue bonds and to stop allowing the city to issue bonds unless approved by voters. Just a reminder, the DPW building was built without voter-approved bonds (with cost overrun) after voters were promised, in approving sale of the old building, there would be no … Read more →

Albert Ave. // Alice Dreger

When the Center City District project was pitched, the idea was to institute a “woonerf” on Albert Ave. between About Road and MAC Ave. A woonerf is a European street style that has no markings and slopes from storefronts – basically there are no sidewalks, no lines, no lanes. In Europe, these are usually old-fashioned cobbled roads and everyone goes slowly on them. They’re not very welcoming to cars unless drivers are willing to go very slowly, and the visual cues tell drivers to … Read more →

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 →

High rises… (re: Development Updates around East Lansing) // Thomas Greer

Park Place Development - Proposed - East Lansing, Michigan

I was born and raised in East Lansing… Walking to dinner in downtown the other night,

6:45 to 7:00 PM bright sun in the west… not a sliver of it on any part of Albert Ave.. Dreary cold shadows… Is this Progress PEOPLE???  no sunlight making it to our streets  during How many months each year??? Do we really need this new development and especially these 12 story buildings How is this going to help the people of E.L. The TAX paying citizens of … 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 →

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