$7M mixed-use development proposed for E. Michigan Ave.

This article was originally published in the Lansing State Journal

LANSING – Developer Scott Gillespie is planning to build a $7 million residential and retail development on East Michigan Avenue, about two blocks from a similar project already under construction.

A rendering of the proposed four-story Provident Place mixed-used project.

The four-story Provident Place will feature 33 residential units and 9,500 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, Gillespie announced at a press conference Friday morning.

Two vacant buildings, at 2216 and 2224 East Michigan Ave., will be demolished to make way for the project.

“This is the key area,” said Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero. “We call it the ‘miracle mile’ and it is living up to that nickname… It is going to be spectacular.”

The project joins East Town, formerly called East Town Flats, as one of several projects in the corridor that connects downtown Lansing with East Lansing and Michigan State University.

East Town is set for completion this summer. That four-story mixed-use development is also backed by Gillespie.

“It shows our commitment to the area,” he said of the new project.

Lansing mayor Virg Bernero speaks to the media after a press conference on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017 at a redevelopment site on Michigan Ave. The site, on the corner of East Michigan Ave. and South Hayford Ave., is planned for a four-story mixed-use that will include 33 residential units and first floor commercial space.

Although the area has numerous new housing projects currently in development, Gillespie said this building will feature market-rate apartments aimed at millennials and other permanent residents, as opposed to students. The studio and one- and two-bedroom apartments will start at $775 per month and top out around $1,200, he said.

Nancy Mahlow, head of the Eastside Neighborhood Association, said she likes the building’s exterior, which emulates the haphazard appearance of smaller buildings constructed side-by-side.

“I’m very excited,” she said. “I was very proud to have (Gillespie) in our neighborhood. He keeps us informed. I think (it’s) going to be really positive for Michigan Avenue and, most importantly, our neighborhood.”

A key component of the project was the approval Friday morning of brownfield incentives by the city’s Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.

Gillespie will fund site cleanup costs upfront in exchange for $1.7 million spread out over 19 years, officials said, pending approval from the full city council.

The project also will rely on state funding to help with site cleanup and to remove underground fuel storage tanks from the property.

Developer Scott Gillespie speaks during a press conference on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017 at a redevelopment site on the corner of East Michigan and South Hayford Avenues. The planned four-story mixed-use building will include 33 residential units and first floor commercial space.

“Tax incentives have become somewhat of a political football around the state and country,” Bernero said, before launching into a passionate defense of development programs such as brownfield incentives and historic tax credits.

“There’s no problem getting development in the ring around the city,” he said. “The problem is getting new development in the city, in the core city… (it) takes a lot more work, a lot more effort and a lot more money.

“What do cities have? They have decaying infrastructure. They have aging housing stock. They have old buildings. They have contaminated sites. And that’s what these incentives were specifically designed to address.”

“I’m not excited just because (residents will) pay the city income tax,” he said. “They’re going to call Lansing home, they’re going to make this neighborhood stronger. That’s what these economic incentives are about.”

The project is expected to be completed by fall of 2018.

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