Administrative error will delay Park District at least a month
An administrative error by City of East Lansing staff will delay the $154 million Park District redevelopment project for at least a month, following the error’s discovery and announcement last Thursday.
The city must formally terminate a brownfield plan from 2008 slated for the Park District site before new developers 100 Grand River LLC can capture a $10 million Michigan Business Tax credit from the Michigan Strategic Fund.
Mayor Mark Meadows has said the developers cannot complete the project without the credit.
A $10 million Michigan Business Tax credit was awarded to the previous developers Strathmore Development Co., CADA Investment Group and City Center LLC for their former plans for Park District after its brownfield plan was approved in 2008. That plan has since expired.
100 Grand River LLC was planning on appearing before the MSF at its July 25 board meeting, but now intends to appear at the Aug. 22 meeting following the expected resolution of the issue, East Lansing community and economic development administrator Lori Mullins said via email.
Mullins also confirmed the Michigan Economic Development Corporation has been made aware of the deficiency.
City Manager George Lahanas was unconcerned with the error, calling it an “administrative oops” it would have to work through and underscored it was not detrimental to the project.
“My understanding was in April the MEDC changed their procedures on this, so I just think it's just something our staff weren’t familiar with, we haven’t had to void out a brownfield plan before,” Lahanas said. “Also the developer and their legal team wasn’t familiar with it.”
The procedure requires a 30 day notice to previous developers who are allowed a public hearing to discuss the issue. Notices have been sent to the previous developers for a public hearing scheduled to take place July 27 at city council.
Council is expected to take action and terminate the previous brownfield plan that night while approving the “new” brownfield by the current developers immediately after, City Manager George Lahanas said.
“The developer intends to complete demolition of the buildings as soon as possible and start construction in the spring of 2018,” Mullins wrote in an email. “Their construction start date is not expected to be impacted by the termination requirement.”
The city is working with the developer on the demolition schedule, Mullins wrote.
“At this point it appears that asbestos removal and utility disconnection will proceed this summer and the building demolition will now begin in late August or September,” Mullins wrote.
Demolition was previously slated to begin within 10 days of the MSF approval, giving it an early August start.
“I think any impact would be negligible,” Lahanas said. “We’re actually having our Great Lakes Folk Festival the second week of August so we’re not looking for them to be mid-demolition with dust and debris everywhere at that point, so I think this will be a negligible impact on the demolition.”