MSU in talks with Park District developer for potential partnership
An MSU official confirmed Monday that the university is in talks with Park District developer Convexity Properties about potentially partnering with them on the redevelopment project.
MSU Vice President for Auxiliary Enterprises Vennie Gore said MSU’s main goal with the potential partnership is to acquire new housing for its visiting faculty and scholars, who are currently housed in Spartan Village. Gore said 1855 Place, an on-campus apartment complex that began construction in fall 2015 and is slated to open to students this fall, is the university’s intended housing replacement for students living in Spartan Village.
“Spartan Village was built in 1955 and it has seen its useful life, and so we’re going to be decommissioning over the next three to five years, so we need to find another location for visiting faculty (and) scholar housing and this is one potential site for us,” Gore said.
Gore said no additional locations are being looked at for housing options at this time.
East Lansing Info initially reported Friday that MSU is working with Chicago-based commercial real estate firm JLL to possibly arrange a deal for the blighted corner and rent 300-350 apartments to serve the same number of visiting faculty and staff. According to ELi, Gore first mentioned the deal at a Council of Neighborhood Presidents meeting at the Kellogg Center.
“That process is long and complicated, and we really have not started the official negotiation process," said Brian Carroll, a vice president for the Public Institutions practice at JLL. “Right now we’re still kind of feeling each other out and no terms have been floated, no documents have gone back and forth.”
Carroll said it’s currently not known whether any substantial changes would be made to Convexity’s site plan in wake of a partnership, as residential housing is already planned for the project. It’s also a possibility that the project will be built as is with MSU then leasing the needed housing, Carroll said.
“It’s difficult for us to say where the development will go because we haven’t really got into any of those discussion items with Convexity yet,” Carroll said. “There are a whole host of ways to deliver Michigan State University’s housing needs within this type of a partnership. One potential way is to lease those assets from the developer, and there’s a million ways to skin that cat.”
Gore said the new housing is MSU’s only need related to the potential deal, but he would not rule out the possibility of additional ventures being pursued within the project.
“You never know how these things go forward,” Gore said.
David Pierson, attorney for Convexity, was unable to comment at the time of publication.