Multiple-use housing on the rise in EL
Political science sophomore Frankie Salamida wakes up every day three stories above downtown East Lansing — three stories above a pharmacy, a restaurant and an ice cream shop, right across the street from MSU.
Salamida is one of many students who live in a multi-use building, one that has both commercial space and living space. In particular, she lives in , above the former storefront on M.A.C. Avenue.
“I love it, it’s really convenient to be in the center and be able to go to CVS right downstairs, the parking garage is right there, too,” Salamida said. “I can just walk to campus. My classes are 10 minutes away (by) walking, usually.”
East Lansing is home to a number of multi-use buildings, and the city has been adding more as of late.
The 300 Grand apartment building on Grand River Avenue opened to tenants within the last year and is still being worked on, and Trowbridge Lofts came in mid-2015. The Residences, which hosts HopCat on its first floor, opened only a .
“When you have housing that’s conveniently located near campus, certainly it benefits the people who might work or go to school at MSU,” East Lansing director of Tim Dempsey said. “It’s close to public transit, downtown is very walkable, (there’s) access to services, access to other community amenities.”
On top of these new arrivals, two new projects intended to replace blighted buildings on Grand River Avenue are slated to be multi-use buildings.
, LLC, which owns or manages several multi-use buildings in East Lansing, plans to build a five-story multi-use building at , the site of the recently demolished .
Dempsey said the city also has plans in the approval process to construct a 12-story multi-use building at the former bank building at , which will feature retail, hotel and apartment space.
Dempsey said an advantage for the city with multi-use housing is the captive audience provided by the residents, who will likely patronize downtown businesses and generate additional tax revenue, which can be used to improve infrastructure among other benefits.
Some effects of multi-use housing are not based in finances or proximity.
Human biology senior Evan Arbit lived in , an apartment complex above Taco Bell, during his sophomore and junior year
Arbit said he loved living in a central location close to both his classes and East Lansing’s bar scene, but had complaints about the consequences of living above a business.
“It was good, it was a nice place to live, but I can’t tell you how many times we had the fire alarm go off because Taco Bell had a grease fire,” Arbit said. “At all hours of the night they would ring the alarm and we’d all have to go outside and wait for the fire department to come. That really sucked.”
Dempsey said multi-use buildings are not only becoming popular in East Lansing, but in the rest of the country as well.
“This is clearly a trend nationally,” Dempsey said. “I think a lot of urban planners and architects and designers have realized that it’s a pretty ideal way to create dynamic downtowns, dynamic neighborhoods and mixed-use development has really surged.”
Cron Management did not respond to the request for comment by the time of publication.