|By Gretchen Cochran|
Accident Fund ramp approved for federal stimulus bonds
The last major piece of one of one of the biggest development projects in Lansing’s history is closer to being in place.
The Ingham County Board of Commissioners was expected to authorize bond financing Tuesday night for the construction of a six-story, $31 million parking building as part of the new world headquarters of the Accident Fund Insurance Co. of America.
The ramp at Grand Avenue and Shiawassee Street will be part of the seven-acre campus the insurer is creating, along with the 10-story Ottawa Power Station it is restoring and a glass-fronted building it is constructing next to it. The Christman Co., which is managing the project, will own the complex and lease it to the Accident Fund.
Designing the 1,000-space parking structure to complement the nearly seven-decadeold plant was a challenge, said Paul Jacob, Christman’s project manager. The brick power station exudes stability and sturdiness so the architects, HOK of St. Louis, designed a ramp in contrast, one that would appear light and airy, and avoid taking attention from the historic plant.
A 100-foot space between the new office addition and the proposed parking ramp will preserve the view across the river to the new City Market as one drives toward the river on Ionia Street.
“We tried to create a green foundation for the whole campus,” Jacob said. To preserve a sense of openness, an 80-foot swath of grass will skirt Grand Avenue. In general, the campus plan keeps in mind that the property serves as a transitional space between denser downtown development west of the complex and the park land north and east of it.
The main entrance to the ramp will be on Grand, but a smaller entry point will be on Shiawassee, between Grand and the Shiawassee bridge. Traffic will be controlled on Shiawassee with a right-turn-in, rightturn-out-only mechanism, according to plans created by parking consultant Carl Walker, Inc.
The pre-cast concrete ramp will be grounded on three corners with stairway towers framed in glass, similar to the glass facades of the new office building. The sixstory building could feel imposing, so in addition to the towers, the ramp’s north side will have a terraced effect by making each floor progressively smaller. The tiered face also reflects the shape of the former power plant.
The parking ramp will
The east side of the
Lighting for the ramp
“LED lighting is
No solar energy use is
But there will be one more evaluation of building plans
Christman is known for
But Brad Williams, CEO
A ramp in Austin,
“They are doing
Overall, Wilmore and Williams had high praise for the work Christman has done on the project.
“They are doing nice
But there are still a number of steps to be taken before financing for the parking building is assured.
As in every phase of
Any loan requires back up in case the recipient defaults.
The Accident Fund is providing a letter of credit, and the collateral will be the ramp plus the lease agreement with Christman.
Neither the city nor the county holds any liability in this deal, Trezise assured.
“We can’t lend them
Trezise predicted the