Schor proposes old Center for the Arts property for a new Lansing city hall

Mayor abandons Masonic Temple plan for lack of Council support


THURSDAY, May 9 — Mayor Andy Schor announced today that he wants to build a new city hall on the site of the old Center for the Arts, 425 S. Grand Ave., on the corner of Lenawee Street.

The city-owned property has been a surface parking lot since the arts center, which housed BoarsHead Theatre, was torn down in 2012.

In announcing the new plan, Schor formally abandoned the goal of moving city hall to the old Masonic Temple, 217 S. Capitol Ave. The City Council rejected that proposal in March on a 4-4 vote, and Schor has been unable to convince a fifth member to vote for it since then.

The announcement was made on the site of the proposed location at a 10:30 a.m. press conference.

Schor said the proposed building would cost under $40 million, which matches a state grant the city received last year for a new city hall.

“It will not be more than $40 million, because that's all the money we have,” Schor said.

“You know, we're starting the work all over again,” Schor told City Pulse. “But we weren’t getting the votes in the first option, so we’re on to Plan B and we want the people to know that we’re moving forward,” Schor said.

“We've been looking at other properties, and in order to get this moving quickly, we need a property that we don't have to purchase,” Schor added. “That means looking at city properties, especially because that's where we have the space.”

Schor said there weren’t any viable options at buildings the city owns. Instead, he tried to reduce the city’s number of surface level lots by using one of them as the bedrock for Lansing’s next City Hall.

“One spot really showed as the best, which is the old BoarsHead property, or what we call ‘Lot One,’” Schor said. “Because this is a city property, we don't need any further votes from Council, because the money's already been appropriated.”

At present, the city doesn’t have firm plans for what the building’s designs and dimensions will be. Schor said there are options on the table, and that the city would “look at the vertical and horizontal footprints” to determine the best build.

Schor said all eight Council members have been notified of the decision ahead of his announcement today. He said Council members Jeremy Garza, Adam Hussain, Peter Spadafore and Ryan Kost supported the move.

Kost was one of the four members who voted against the Mason Temple plan. The others were Jeffrey Brown,  Tamera Carter and Trini Pehlivanoglu.

Kost was the first Council member to publicly oppose the Masonic Temple plan, citing various concerns, such as the building's age and the fact that it featured more space than the city needed, which Schor said was around 75,000 square feet.

He said Kost “liked the location and the upward build” possibilities that came with the 425 S. Grand Ave. location.

Schor, who announced the Masonic Temple building as his pick along with Boji Group CEO Ron Boji last September, said he also sees great potential in the new location.Boji Group owns the Masonic Temple, which is empty, and lobbied the legislature for the $40 million grant.

“It's in the Cherry Hill neighborhood, which is the city's only historic neighborhood. It'll be near The Ovation, it’ll be near the new housing that's going in,” Schor said. “So, this will be an active part of the city when it’s finished.”


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