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“If ” appeared to be the operative word in an interview with Lansing Mayor Andy Schor about the fate of the proposed Red Cedar development project.
“There’s definitely a possibility” the proposal won’t make it across the finish line because of potential City Council opposition, Schor said Tuesday in an interview with City Pulse that will be posted on its website later this week.
Schor said ultimately the $242 million project to redevelop the old Red Cedar golf course on the east end of Michigan Avenue hinges on getting the support of six of the eight Council members. The city charter requires six votes because the property is parkland, he said.
First, it must get five votes to set a public hearing, which Schor said will be decided at next week’s meeting. He anticipates a vote on the proposal at the end of June.
The Council spent four hours Monday night reviewing the proposal by developers Frank Kass of Columbus, Ohio, and Joel Ferguson of Lansing.
Schor said the use of local labor remains a “big sticking point.” He said the developers have executed an agreement with labor to use local labor to the extent available. He cited two other major projects, the new McLaren Hospital and the Lansing Board of Water & Light’s new power plant, that could be under construction at the same time. Thus, there could a shortage of local labor, he said.
Schor declared himself satisfied with the developers’ commitment to use local labor, and he said representatives of local labor he has spoken to are as well. But some Council members have contended the agreement is not strong enough, he said.
Another issue with Council members is the selling price of the property. The city is asking about $2 million, well below the appraisal price of about $7 million. Schor said he is satisfied with the lower return because it, along with the city’s willingness to help bond for a portion of the developers’ investment, gives the city some say in what will be built there.
A third concern is developer Ferguson, who as a trustee at Michigan State University raised some people’s ire over comments in connection with the Larry Nassar scandal.
“He’s a minority partner,” Schor said. “Do I like some of the things he said? I don’t. But I’m not going to shut down a development that’s going to be good for the city because of things he said in a newspaper.
“This proposal is going to be the entryway to the city. It’s going to have hotels, restaurants, green space with trails and music and an ice skating rink, housing for senior and students.
“Do I like all of it? I don’t love all of it, but I believe it’s going to be a very good development in a space that is not being used and won’t be used.”
If the Council approves it.