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Old August 1st, 2005, 06:31 AM   #1
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Lazy, Lansing Summer Day: Sunday, July 31st

Here's a little some old, and a little something new. Hopefully, when all of the loft and retail projects come on line, it will lead to a vibrant downtown, even on a Sunday morning like this. Even more so, maybe we can get past the "manicured office park" look. The next tour I'll do is the much more vibrant and more quickly growing Eastside.

A General Map of the Area I walked and drove:

Most of this tour is taken from the largely scattered south downtown area.

A quick view over one of the many surface parking lots down on Hillsdale Street.

The Arbaugh Lofts and Shops (under renovation), and Grand Tower from Hillsdale Street over more surface lots.

The one oasis in south downtown, Reutter Park and it's fountain.

Cass State Office Building two blocks northwest of Reutter Park. The 7th floor was completely lost to arson and never rebuilt which is why it looks unfinished.


Hollister Building entrance off of Allegan Street. This building at the base of the Michigan National Tower was one of Lansing's first "high-rise" buildings. It was modernized, and lost all of the detailing around it's base, as you can see. Lofts will be constructed on the top two floors next year.

111 East Allegan. This building holds a Skyline Chili franchise on the ground floor with 11 or 13 lofts above (I can't remember).

Comprehensive view of the last view buildings shown above.

The heavily undertilized 100 south block of Grand Avenue. Hopefully, the small glass box and parking deck will eventually be torn down revealing the river below. The Ottawa Street Station in the distrance will be Lansing's first large-scale mixed use reuse, and will include riverfront promenade, retail, office space, and possible lofts and museums.

Just to the south on the 200 south block sits the recently vacated and historic Lansing City Club that now meets at MSU. This building is one of the oldest in the downtown core built in 1861. There are plans to either added a 4-5 story loft building on the river in back or tear it down altogether and replace it with mid-rise housing.

The grossly modified Fifth Third Bank Building. Once a beautiful historic mid-rise, it's nothing more than concrete and aluminum slabs.

Going a block south you can a quick glimpse of some colorful buildings, once vacant and one a university high-rise. The ivy-covered building in the foreground is home to a law-firm.

Stepping out onto Washtenaw. In the foreground one a loft and retail building, the empty blue-and-yellow-tiled (and currently vacant) Knapp's Centre Department Store Building, and in the back the Administrative and Classroom Building for Cooley Law School. Cooley is trying to consolidate as many of it's offices and classrooms as it can in this building vacating the historic Masonic Temple they've been using as a classroom building.

Accident Fund Company next door. It's a subsidiary of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan. Also a historic building, it was completely reclad and 6 floors were added to it in the late 80's.

An empty view of the corner shown above. If anyone ever renovates the Knapp Centre for residential use this view probably wouldn't hold.

A block south of Kazoo (Kalamazoo) and Washington Square is the renovation of the Arbaugh Lofts and Shops reuse. Once a department store, it's seeing new life. Actually, workers were hard at work on it today even on a Sunday morning.

In front of the Arbaugh you can spot another loft/retail conversion across the street. They were out finishing the black paint-job today.

The ugliest corner downtown at Lenawee and Washington Square at the bottom of the block. They really need to rescape this and get rid of the ugly surface lots right along Washington. For the rest of the blocks to be so dense, this is an unwelcomed sight coming off the freeway.

Closer inspection of this concrete monster's base. The SECU (State Employees Credit Union) sits on a slope so it has many different entry ways.

Also on Lenawee is the Capitol Park Apartments (it's actually H-shaped, this is the south face). For such and old building it's awfully plain and kind of ugly, but adds people to area, and life to Reutter Park on the weekends.

I got distracted and hit up Moores Park just south of downtown...

Then, I got even more distracted and followed the river on down to southwest Lansing...

...finally, I got my senses back and went back downtown

At Allegan and Washington lies a historic building that was modernized (it seems very few historic buildings down here weren't). All of the decorative cornices were removed when it was turned into a state office. Capitol Hall and Farnum Building rise behind.

The Capitol Hall is under renovation. The coffee shop at the base must be a little annoyed.

Further up Allegan is the newly refurbished and repainted Tower Parking Ramp and the rear of the Capitol View.

A closer view of Capitol View over the Capitol grounds. Another story can be added if demand warrants.

Up Capitol about a block away is the modern Lansing City Hall. The stone, Romanesque-styled City Hall and Post Office were demolished for this and another building. This new post office is rumored to be in it's last few years. It's filled to the brim, crammped and in a VERY valuable location. Rumor has it that the city wants to move a bit further north and build on a surface parking lot thus opening this up to a developer. The city wants a hotel on this site facing the Capitol.

Looking up Capitol at the church district. The Central United Methodist Church can see be seen in the foreground.

A time machine along Ottawa just a block east of the Central United Methodist.

Looking back up the street...

Looking back down the street...

Back on the square. The Washington Office Building is under renovation. I hear the base will be redone to open it back up like it used to be. A state department will occupy the top half of the building with the current tenants either keeping place or being moved down to the bottom floors. lol

Out of downtown JUST to the south lies the Cooley Gardens and Michigan Women's Hall of Justice. They both lie on a river bluff that rises over 40' above the Grand River on a bend.

The Gardens...

Sunken gardens...

A view of the river below. They have the bluff pretty well blocked off with trees and decorative gates, but not all of it is.

The Michigan Women's Hall of Fame

View of the central core from the gardens. Capitol Avenue terminates at the gardens as do most of the north-to-south downtown streets which meet the freeway and service drives.

Next door surrounding the Cooley Gardens on almost everyside accept the river side is the Oldsmobile Headquarters Building and the SPRAWLING Grand River Assembly Plant that takes up quite a few city blocks along the river and freeway.

Once again, the Eckert Station which anchors the southern end of this huge industrial complex and just north of Moores Park.

Across the river are the Fountain Place Apartments.

Lastly, two random pics of mayoral candidate billboards. These two men are the front runners, though incumbent mayor Tony Benavides is running far behind Bernero.

Old Vision

New Vision
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Old August 4th, 2005, 05:54 AM   #2
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Lmich great pics of lansing. I love seeing all of the develpoments Downtown. I cant wait to come back there and hopefully see some night time foot traffic. I had a question though I was reading about some company moving to delta twp. what was interesting was that in the move the company was making lansing would also recieve tax revenue from the company even though they are not in lansing proper. Does Lansing have a agreement with the townships surrounding it with taxes being shared among all communities. If that is the case what a great idea that is. If that could have happened in the Detroit Metro that would be amazing for all communities.
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Old August 4th, 2005, 07:18 AM   #3
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Actually, any Michigan city can do this if both parties agree. It's an annexation of sorts where both parties share taxes and responsibilities. This shared land actually counts as part of the City of Lansing. In fact, Lansing has "annexed" three very small areas since 2000.
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Old August 4th, 2005, 09:07 AM   #4
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Great pics, that Washington Building is a gem.
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