The city of East Lansing will begin a housing study Dec. 1 to see if there is a market for different types of housing such as town houses and condominiums.
The idea for the study came from past city council discussions and other boards and commissions, said Angela Cheney, an analyst for community and economic development.
First, we had a big group meeting, involving a city council member, planning members and the assistant city manager, Cheney said. We talked about housing issues, and we found there was a need for information to tell us what the market supports for housing in the downtown area.
The study will be used as a guide to show the types of housing in the city now and what the market is demanding, Cheney said. If there is a need for condominiums or high rise housing, the study will show it.
The study will be conducted by the Green Group, a professional consulting company. It will perform the study over 60 days.
Cheney said the company is well respected and has experience clustering and classifying demographic research for cities and municipalities.
I dont think this will create any negativity between students and residents, Cheney said. It will just give us a clearer picture of what the nonstudents are looking for.
East Lansing City Manager Ted Staton said merchants will benefit as well as residents. The housing study is similar to a study completed five years ago for downtown retail. The Retail Enhancement Study showed the city was ready for big stores like Urban Outfitters and Gap, Staton said.
I think it wouldve been useful if we had done the study five or 10 years ago, but it doesnt mean it isnt timely now, Staton said. In part, what the study hopes to show is that there is a need for mixed housing in downtown East Lansing.
Besides the 39 condos that will be available along with the City Center project, developers may find construction of other types of housing like high rises to be in higher demand than individual buildings. The second phase of the projects construction could begin as soon as next spring. Construction of the centers parking garage, located between Charles Street and Albert and M.A.C. avenues, has already begun.
Private development industry would determine what type of housing, probably high rise or town homes (is needed), Staton said. I dont want to suggest only one type of housing, that would be up to developers and the study.
East Lansing City Councilmember Sam Singh said the $17,500 study will show if there is an interest from young professionals, retired couples or large families.
We want to be able to have correct research completed and see if people are willing to have condos, Singh said. Ive heard a lot of alumni want to move back to East Lansing, and we want them to live comfortably.
Singh said merchants believe the more people concentrated in downtown helps business, and the merchants are positive about the study.