FRIDAY, Nov. 6 — Lansing developer Scott Gillespie of the Gillespie Co. joined Lansing leaders this morning to announce a new, $6 million retail and apartment project in the 2000 block of Michigan Avenue.


“This has been a dream,” Gillespie said of the plan, which includes tearing down the buildings located between 2002 and 2016 E. Michigan Ave. That includes the iconic Emil’s Italian Restaurant, which closed its doors at the end of October. The two buildings on the far east of the block will remain in tact.


In place of those buildings, Gillespie will build a four-story building, including 39 apartments and retail space. The project was approved Friday morning by the Lansing Brownfield Redevelopment Authority. Gillespie sought a 20-year Brownfield incentive. The project, called East Town Flats, now goes to the Lansing City Council for review and approval. Construction is expected to begin in spring 2016 and be completed by 2017.


“We are witnessing the rebirth of eastside,” Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero said Friday morning, noting Michigan Ave. was the area’s “miracle mile.”


And the excitement over the project is not just limited to elected officials and the developer.


Joan Nelson, executive director of the Allen Neighborhood Center, said that she was pleased by Gillespie’s plans to attract food establishments to the new building. The block has long served as home to food-related businesses that served east side residents.


“I’m excited,” she said. “This block has been the commercial heart of the eastside for decades and decades.”


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