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Mixed-use complex to replace old downtown YMCA building

$25 million, 4-story plan offers 145 apartments, 7,000 sq. feet of commercial and retail space


$25 million, 4-story plan offers 145 apartments, 7,000 sq. feet of commercial and retail space

After years of stop and go attempts to develop the old downtown YMCA location, property owner Julie Lawton-Essa said Monday that she has financing for a four-story, $25 million apartment, commercial and retail development. The old Y, opened in 1951 and closed since 2003, will be torn down.

The new project, dubbed Metro Place, would be 122,130 square feet. Groundbreaking is projected in spring 2018.

It will have 145 apartments (30 studios, 69 one-bedroom and bath units, 29 two-bedroom and bath units and 17 two-bedroom and two-bath units). Approximately 6,925 square feet of commercial and retail space will be on the ground level, along with some apartments. The project also includes 154 surface parking places for apartment residents.

Lawton-Essa said the current, six-story building configuration would not support repurposing for apartments.

The project would preclude using the property for parking for the nearby Veterans Memorial Courthouse. That option was discussed by city and Ingham County officials as they consider whether to move 54-A District Court to the courthouse if the plan to convert City Hall to a hotel goes ahead.

Under the proposal, Lawton-Essa will voluntarily pay prevailing wage, which adds an additional $2 million to the project. “That’s important to us and to the city,” she said.

The apartments will be marketed to young professionals and their families, she said. With the new city hall proposed just down the street at the now vacant Lansing State Journal building, and Reutter Park less than a block away, she said she also expects the new living spaces will trigger a neighborhood revitalization, including food trucks.

Bob Trezise, CEO of Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP), confirmed the project was moving forward. “It is within a month of a huge redevelopment announcement,” he said. “It’s in the very final stage.”

He said Lawton-Essa will be using a Brownfield plan approved by City Council 10 years ago but never finalized in the development. The state has to approve that incentive, which would see the developer get some of its cost back.


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