June 7 2013 12:00 AM

Jackson National Life Insurance Co. will use it for office space, sources say

Sources say Jackson National Life Insurance Co. will use the former Barnes and Noble space in East Lansing for office space. Sam Inglot/City Pulse

Friday, June 7 — Jackson National Life Insurance Co. will use the vacant building last used for a Barnes & Noble bookstore on Grand River Avenue in East Lansing for office space, multiple sources say.

Interior renovations started two weeks ago, a construction worker said today at the site. He said the building, which was a Jacobson's Department Store before Barnes and Noble, is scheduled for occupancy on Aug. 1. He confirmed that the construction is for office space. When asked if Jackson National is moving in, he said that is a “pretty good rumor.”

An employee at East Lansing City Hall said she heard Jackson National is moving in. Other sources have also told City Pulse recently that the insurance company will use the space, at least temporarily.

Inside the 35,000-square-foot building, renovations are underway. Two escalators inside have been removed. Brown paper covers the windows facing Grand River Avenue and Charles Street.

A Jackson National spokesman neither confirmed nor denied whether the company plans to use the space for additional offices.

“I can’t comment on that at this juncture,” spokesman Matt Gring said. “In the normal course of business, we look at different options and alternatives for real estate space on an ongoing basis.”

Last month, the insurance company announced a $100 million expansion at its Lansing headquarters near Alaiedon Township. “Other than that, we have nothing to announce,” Gring said.

East Lansing Planning Director Tim Dempsey said in an interview today that the building is “likely to be office space.” He declined to confirm whether Jackson National will be the next occupant.

It is unclear whether the next occupant will be permanent or temporary. Dempsey said Moore Trosper Construction Co., which is in charge of the renovations, was asked by the owner of the building to not reveal who is moving in. Dempsey said an announcement about the building could come as early as next week.

The building, at 333 E. Grand River Ave., is owned by City Center Partners II LLC. The resident agent of the company is Steven Roznowski, who is CEO and chairman of Lansing-based Christman Co.

Roznowski and a Christman spokeswoman could not immediately be reached for comment.

Barnes and Noble closed on Dec. 31, 2011. The building has been vacant ever since.