Wednesday, November 25, 2020

City Center II developers propose plan to East Lansing

October 29, 2012

Although much of the former City Center II property’s fate still is uncertain, plans for roughly 25 percent of the property recently were proposed to the East Lansing Planning Commission.

Developers who own the portion of the property presented a proposal to the planning commission at its last meeting.

The plan, which features two four-story buildings with room for retail on the first floor, fits within the comprehensive plan for the city, but the planning commission expressed concerns about parking for the residents of the 92 apartment units outlined in the plan.

“One of the big issues is parking,” Director of Planning and Community Development Tim Dempsey said. “Because of the large number of apartment units and retail square footage, there needs to be sufficient parking … (That’s) something we have to evaluate more closely.”

Dempsey said a change in city ordinance could be a possibility to accommodate parking for the apartment units, as well as an off-site parking option.

The city currently is conducting a study analyzing parking in the downtown area, which planning commissioner and political theory and constitutional democracy senior Stephen Wooden said will help handle the allocation of parking for the proposed project.

Since the properties being discussed are privately owned by CADA Investments, LLC, and City Center II, LLC, the city isn’t responsible for funding the project.

The same lead developer was negotiating with the city to develop the entire area but was dropped last summer because of financial concerns.

“There’s no public money going into (the current project),” Wooden said. “It’s not required we ask for financial statements and records (from the developer); we can only look at it from a zoning and building perspective.”

Dempsey said there is a disconnect between the comprehensive plan and what was proposed.

“The draft (request for proposals) really talks about some anchor uses, whether that’s entertainment or retail — we don’t know what that is in this project,” Dempsey said.
“Retail is certainly consistent with that we’re looking for, but there hasn’t been a destination use identified in this current proposal … whether it’s a movie theater or a well-known
grocery store — something with a broad appeal to the community.”

As for the remaining parts of the city-owned property, the planning commission will be seeking proposals after the public comment period on the draft document is over, Dempsey said.

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