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 →

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 →

Review of the Cost of Redevelopment Financial Missteps // Eliot Singer

City Hall, East Lansing

I have heard from a number of people asking me to review the history of the costly pursuit of redevelopment in East Lansing, in case anyone wishes to challenge the “not our fault” party line from city hall with regards to financial troubles. This is a summary, based on previous analysis.

1) Somewhat more than 20 years ago, Meadows, Singh, Jester, et al hired “Ted Almighty” Staton as city manager and gave him bonuses for bringing in development. Staton was an advocate of a … Read more →

Library Lot Ann Arbor vs Lot 1 East Lansing // Eliot Singer

Lot 1, Eat Lansing, pre-development

http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2018/06/ann_arbor_inks_deal_to_sell_do.html

Here’s latest on the controversial sale of the Ann Arbor Library Lot to Core Spaces for $10 million.

The Library Lot is 0.8 acres.

East Lansing Lot 1 was 1.35 acres.

If East Lansing had followed the city charter and asked voters to allow sale of Lot 1 and sold for a comparable per-acre value, the city would have received $16,875,000.

On paper, based on value of the recent sales of the private properties for the Harbor Bay project, Lot 1 would … Read more →

Ostrom and O’Regan Granular Enough? (re: Proposals For Budget Reductions) // Sheila Taylor

In their March 7 post, Ostrom and O’Regan called for a granular look at the proposed budget, then made a cost-saving proposal of their own.  I appreciate the considerable work they have done, respect their intentions, and presume many of their suggestions are worth considering (though I suspect that even taken together, they would not fill the financial gap our city faces). I have a problem with their proposal, however, because they misunderstand how the library is funded.

At one time, the city budget included … Read more →

Proposals For Budget Reductions // Kriss Ostrom and Daphne O’Regan

The budget cuts mentioned in City documents rely excessively on cuts to public safety and merely tinker around the edges of other city services and staff reductions at City Hall. Kriss Ostrom and I propose the following cuts to the East Lansing budget. We have both been East Lansing residents for more than thirty years. Daphne served on the East Lansing School Board and on the School Board Finance Committee during several years of intense budget cutting. Kriss was the Head of Circulation in the … Read more →

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