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 →

Will the Chappelle Indictment Change City Hall? // Alice Dreger

It’s painful that Jim Cuddeback, the founder of Public Response, is not alive to read  the news  that real estate developer Scott Chappelle has been indicted for tax and bank fraud. When it was impossible for citizen watchdogs to convince any local news organization to report the truth about Chappelle’s history, Public Response provided the space to educate the community.

Eliot Singer, above all, worked doggedly to track and expose what was really going on with the developer with whom the City was looking to partner … Read more →

Selling and redeveloping city’s Evergreen properties is not financially necessary // Eliot Singer

Three of the EverGreen properties

With a new Council and an apparent willingness to look beyond the DDA for solutions to the Evergreen properties quagmire, I am going to revive my analysis from several years ago that it is not financially imperative to sell and redevelop the city’s Evergreen properties, which were originally bought with the intent of tearing them down and replacing with a massive parking garage.

Recall that the properties were bought 10 years ago for more than 3 times their assessed market value, at a time … 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 →

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 →

Mourning Loss of Mackerel Sky // Eliot Singer

Mackerel Sky - East Lansing - Street Shot

I was saddened to see that Mackerel Sky will be closing, after celebrating 30 years. I met Tom and Linda in 1980, right after we first moved to Michigan, when they were co-owners of Brother Gambit, back when downtown East Lansing had a vibrant small, locally-owned, business community, which we regularly patronized, despite, at the time, living in west Lansing. There was still such a community, as well as vibrant historic neighborhoods and the top local school system, when we chose to buy a … 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 →

Property Taxes Still Not Paid for Dublin Square // Eliot Singer

Dublin Square building - East Lansing

According to City of East Lansing Assessment and Tax information, 327 Abbott Road, LLC, has yet to pay its summer 2018 real property taxes of $41,779.30, now plus interest, since August 31. This is the real property for Dublin Square.

Authentic Properties, LLC, owes $11,010.80 in summer 2018 personal property taxes, plus interest.

I have not checked whether past taxes referred to Ingham County have been paid, but the point is moot.

It is a violation of the city charter to do business with … Read more →

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