Aug. 17 2009 12:00 AM
Lansing Community College officials came to City Council at Thursday's Committee of the Whole meeting with another offer to buy the city-owned North Capitol Avenue parking ramp. The college was hoping the Council would vote to set a public hearing, which would be the first step in approving the sale of the ramp.

But that didn't happen.

By a 1-4 vote, the resolution to set a public hearing failed. Fourth Ward Councilman Tim Kaltenbach was the lone “yea” vote, with At-Large Council members Brian Jeffries and Carol Wood, First Ward Councilman Eric Hewitt and Vice-President A'Lynne Robinson voting no. At-large Councilwoman Kathie Dunbar, Second Ward councilwoman Sandy Allen and President Derrick Quinney were absent.

The reason for his no vote, Jeffries said, was because the deal Council is being asked to approve is the same one presented last fall by LCC.

On the table is the same $2.7 million sale price and the same offer to lease the city its office space on the first floor at $12 per square foot. After turning down that deal last September, Jeffries negotiated a deal with LCC president Brent Knight that would have raised the sale price to $2.8 million, cut the city's future rent down to $6 per square foot and passed ownership of Schoolcraft Road (which is just south of Saginaw Street between Grand and Capitol avenues) to the college. Jeffries called it a "$300,000 swing" in favor of the city.

Sometime after that, Robinson, Wood, Jeffries and Hewitt signed a letter to the administration of Mayor Virg Bernero indicating they'd support the Jeffries-negotiated deal. But Knight apparently had second thoughts, resulting in LCC’s reversion to its initial offer of $2.7 million. Since then, Jeffries said he has tried multiple times through multiple avenues to secure a meeting with Knight.

Whatever the reason, without a change in the deal, there isn't likely to be a change in the votes.

"We won't move forward on a public hearing until there is a better deal," he said.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter