May 5 2009 12:00 AM
Lansing Gateway

Status: On hold Originally called Kalamazoo Gateway, this is another project by Gene Townsend. Plans for the — are you noticing a pattern — mixed-use building would make it 60,000 square feet, with its main selling point an energy efficient “green” design.

The building would wrap slightly around the corner of Cedar and Kalamazoo streets.

But this project isn’t happening any time soon. “There’s neither an anchor tenant or the availability of financing,” Townsend said. “It’s kind of a chicken and egg thing: without financing, there’s no point to seeking an anchor tenant.”

But last year the project did get off the ground. In order to build the Gateway, Townsend would have need to buy city parking lot 49 and purchase the Yellow Cab building just north of the parking lot. The purchase agreement for the parking lot was written, state entitlements were “roughed out but not submitted” and the availability of buying Yellow Cab is still on the table.

Townsend says that the hold of the project could be traced back to February 2008 when commercial foreclosures started and equity lenders began pulling back. “The whole equity lending world shifted a little more than a year ago,” Townsend said. “New construction wasn’t attractive.

We had to look at quality buildings that already existed and use the ones that we have more efficiently. The economy needs to reach a point, and then we can contemplate new commercial buildings. The emphasis now is on renovating existing ones. In my mind, that’s not a bad thing.”

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