Dec. 12 2013 12:00 AM

Development heavyweights taking reins of Red Cedar Golf Course project

From left: Joel Ferguson, Pat Lindemann, Frank Kass, Virg Bernero and Bob Trezise

This story was updated on Dec. 13.

Thursday, Dec. 12 — Lansing developer Joel Ferguson announced a partnership today with an Ohio-based firm to transform the former Red Cedar Golf Course on Lansing’s east side into a mixed-use and recreational hub bridging the city and Michigan State University.

Ferguson is working with Frank Kass, CEO of Columbus-based Continental Real Estate Companies. The two met at a mutual friends’ birthday party in Arizona recently, Ferguson said today, and by last spring the two started hashing out plans for the golf course.

“We want this development to be a game-changer for Lansing,” Ferguson said at a press conference today.

The $125 million Red Cedar Renaissance project is expected to break ground in the spring. The developers are seeking potential occupants for the site, which will likely include a hotel, Kass said. Previous plans have shown rental housing for students and professionals, and the developers hope to add retail and a restaurant to the mix. Ferguson said today that Sparrow Health System also is interested in property on the site.

Original plans, called the Capitol Gateway, were drawn up by Ferguson and Chris Jerome, whose family owns former car dealerships adjacent to and across the street from the golf course. Ferguson said about Chris Jerome being out of the project: "This is our team. We're focused on where we're going. That's all I'm going to say." 

Ingham County Drain Commissioner Pat Lindemann has crews working on site assessing the property’s infrastructure as he redesigns it to curb polluted water discharges in the Red Cedar River.

In the coming months, three public charrette planning sessions will be held to gather input from the community on how the project should work. Much of the project is also subject to City Council approval, such as a comprehensive development agreement and the sale of the property from the city to the developers.

In 2011 and 2012, Lansing voters approved the sale of the property, which is dedicated parkland.

Mayor Virg Bernero called Kass’ firm a “national powerhouse” for its redevelopment work. Today’s press conference featured Continental’s signature $125 million redevelopment along the riverfront in Pittsburgh.

“This is one of the most exciting projects in the Midwest, if not America,” Kass said.