Proposed development calls for demolition of first Biggby location

As graduate student Fida Chang walks down Delta Street off Grand River Avenue, he looks over at the Biggby Coffee in front of him. 

When Chang was writing his dissertation, he recalls spending many long nights in the small shop which started the now large chain. However a new proposal in East Lansing could level the historical building.

The proposal, issued by East Lansing Development, LLC and Parkview Condos, LLC, would demolish the original Biggby Coffee building and reoccupy the space with a six-story, mixed-use building. The building would stretch over two sites on either side of Delta Street and connect in an arch over the road.

"The new building will feature a coffee shop on the first floor, two stories of parking and four residential floors," East Lansing Community Development Analyst Timothy R. Schmitt said.

Although Schmitt said no name has been given for the new coffee shop, the early mockups show the Biggby logo and storefront.

Both plots of land are zoned B-2 by the city of East Lansing. While the B-2 zone is appropriated for Retail Sales Business, Schmitt said the zoning code allows for mixed-use buildings with a special use permit issued by the city.

East Lansing has seen a surge of new mixed-use buildings in recent years. The city approved the building of The Residences on Ann Street, the five-story St. Anne Project and more recently, the Trowbridge Plaza redevelopment.

"Clearly there is a market for these types of buildings," Schmitt said. "anytime you can mix uses it is a good thing."

With four out of six floors allocated to housing, the Delta Street area would see and increase in population and in the eyes of nearby shops— customers.

"Aside from the extra people in the building itself, the new structure will bring people this way," Crunchy's Burgers and Beer bartender Sam Olson said. The bar is next to the current Biggby. "This big new building will be something to check out," Olson said. 

There is some controversy over the demolition, however. The small building on Grand River Avenue is the original Biggby Coffee, which was founded in 1995 by MSU alumni Bob Fish and Mary Roszel.

"It is a little bit different because people want to preserve historical things," Chang said. "But with the suitable housing and new coffee shop ... It's a bit of a trade off." he said.

The proposal heads to the East Lansing planning commission on May 28 for discussion.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The State News.