SkyVue Development


SkyVue is a $77 million dollar project on Michigan Avenue that will contain shops, parking, restaurants, and apartments which are aimed at students and young professionals. The development will bring in more than 1,000 residents, and bring a resurgence of business to the nearby Frandor Shopping Center as well as, complement the Red Cedar project. The SkyVue development is planned to break ground in November and is expected to be completed in 2017.

More Information about the Project

Improvement Ideas


    Why Modern Living Does Not Correlate to Futuristic Liveability   


    Author:     Katherine Bouma   


    Principle:     Housing Inequality   



Within the city of East Lansing, developers have recently been creating a more appealing technique in attracting residents. By creating a modernistic, enticing apartment complex with many amenities, developers seek to create huge profit margins for their development. Rising property values and university housing prices contribute to these astronomical housing prices. This current development is ideal for individuals with unlimited funding. The reality is most students cannot afford to live in these apartments. A 2 bedroom 2 bath apartment starts at $885 per month. For many college students, the appeal is great, yet not many can afford such a high price of living. If students want cheap housing, they have to travel far down Abbott and settle with run down and distant living. I have not seen one new apartment complex being built close to campus for an affordable rate. With most students relying on student loans and grants, very few have the resources to have good housing options. Creating a development with more inclusivity for students would better benefit the community than a high end, exclusive environment.


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    Green Roof   


    Author:     Brendan Carney   


    Principle:     Ecology   



As cities expand they often destroy the nature around the city and fail to replace it. Trees are cut down and habitats are destroyed to make room for new buildings. So, the community loses the nature that it once supported. The implementation of green roofs allows for buildings to replace the nature that was destroyed by using the roof of the building as a garden of sorts. Green roofs are contained green spaces on top of manmade structures. The benefits of a green roof include the beautification of a building, storm water containment, and insulation purposes.

The SkyVue development would benefit tremendously from the addition of a green roof. The addition would allow for cleaner air, lower heating and cooling costs, and a space for tenants to relax and enjoy the health benefits that only nature can provide. This would also allow the building to utilize the unused space on the roof top. The landlord could even give tenants the option to plant gardens on the green roof. This would attract tenants who are interested in having access to a garden and will facilitate a greater sense of community among tenants. The use of green roofs is popular in Europe and the trend is slowly spreading to America as people realize the immense benefits of the roofs. SkyVue has the opportunity to introduce Americans to the concept of a green roof to bridge a gap between man-made structures and nature, to replace the nature that was once there, and to prove that housing and nature don’t have to be two separate concepts.




    Utilizing City Space in a Positive Way   


    Author:     Kendra Hungerford   


    Principle:     Smart Growth   



Smart use entails using land for mixed use purposes and giving community members the feeling that their ideas are being considered in the development of the community. The Skyvue development was a multi-million dollar project dedicated to creating another luxury apartment complex in the Lansing area for students and young professionals. The Skyvue development, meant to generate more business for the Frandor Shopping Center, will also offer retail space for rent, open to possible local businesses. This provides locals with the opportunity to make a small piece of this place their own. This complex is also multi-faceted in that it is a residence and retail center in one complex. If successful, Skyvue could attract innovative and successful young professionals and provide them with the resources that could make them want to stay.

However, by gating in the terraces and fireplaces, the developers of Skyvue limited the people that were able to utilize the area, granting access to only those who live in the apartments. This simple design element has the power to express the notion that outsiders are not welcome there. This could potentially limit the amount of people willing to utilize the structure, therefore giving it the potential to fail By removing the gates, creating a small park or square, the land inside the complex could be opened up creating a place for community members to spend their time and giving them a sense of community belonging, while also allowing businesses to prosper in innovation and financial success.




    SkyDeck Hangout   


    Author:     Gejsi Rada   


    Principle:     Mixed Use   



SkyVue Development is a project that is aimed at attracting the young professionals in East Lansing to live in this luxury high rise structure, and keep their ideas and creativity for use in the city. While this is a good idea, that's all it is, just an idea. There is no place for these young creative minds living in the structure to meet up and express themselves without dispersing to various parts of the city.
A rooftop hangout would be the ideal setting for these people to gather and share their expressive ideas. Perhaps one that is open to the public that could even have a bar and grill and be used as a legitimate business. People would flock to this idealized scene of being in one of the tallest buildings in the city, enjoying a nice meal that overlooks the Red Cedar and the beauty of Michigan State's campus.




    Avoiding Luxury Apartments in a College Town   


    Author:     Garrett Brown   


    Principle:     Smart Growth   



The Skyvue apartments were developed in order to give the student population new luxurious apartments with amenities that are unmatched in any other housing option. With this, the pricing of these apartments were skyrocketed to make the invested money back. However with this option not many students can afford to live in, students had to keep going elsewhere. As the demand of other cheaper alternative apartments increased, the cost went up as well. Skyvue caused an inflation amongst student living options, hurting the students pockets as a result. As a result, Skyvue dropped their pricing by nearly $200 a month per person this year in hopes of filling the rooms. Even with the price drop and being way past the leasing season, Skyvue has only filled 60% of their rooms and are mostly filled with non-student residents in East Lansing. As a developer, we should look at this failure and how to avoid this problem again. Instead of building super luxurious apartments with an unrealistic price tag, developers in East Lansing need to cater to the students affordability. By instead building apartments not quite to the extent of Skyvue and cutting out certain amenities, the price tag of these apartments will be realistic and the complex will be filled. The goal of Skyvue was also to benefit local businesses, and with such a small amount actually living in Skyvue for next year this goal is failed. Building realistic apartment complexes in a college town is the only way to ensure success and reach the goals set out for the project.




    Adding Green Space to a Concrete Jungle   


    Author:     Kate Den Houter   


    Principle:     Connection to Nature and Ecology   



The SkyVue Development is a $90 million apartment complex located next to the Frandor Shopping Center that opened this past August. The massive building is approximately 667,000 square feet and is 9 stories tall with 333 apartments. The project is projected to attract approximately 900 new residents to the area, comprised mostly of college students and young professionals. Skyvue boasts itself as offering luxury amenities, including two enclosed (not for the public) courtyards, outdoor fireplaces, a 40-person hot tub, a fitness center and much more.

However, if you were to pass by this building you would notice that there is little to no green space. Located near Frandor, which is already considered to be a massive sea of concrete, the SkyVue Apartments further perpetuates a lack of nature in the area. Given that the construction costs racked up to be around $90 million, I find it hard to believe that no one ever thought to incorporate more green space into the project. With that being said, I believe that there are several ways the SkyVue development could integrate more of a connection with nature into the complex. One specific way that they could add more green space would be to create a rooftop garden. Not only is this a way to utilize space that would otherwise go unused, but rooftop gardens have been shown to improve air quality (reduce CO2 emissions), delay storm runoff, insulate buildings, and strengthen community ties.


Improvement 2


    Rethinking the Intentions Behind New Housing Developments   


    Author:     Benjamin Roth   


    Principle:     Housing Affordability   



East Lansing has been littered with new residential developments in recent years. A surge in international student admission, rising university housing prices, and rising area property values have combined to over-inflate the prices of housing for East Lansing residents and off-campus students. The majority of the new developments are built with a profit motive above all else, spurred by factors that are not sustainable or reflective of the entire area’s housing needs. Rather than striking a middle ground on pricing, new developments like SkyVue (which, I might add, is not sufficiently convenient of a location) are playing to high-end markets that are not nearly as present as they’d hope. Including affordable units can give opportunity to people of all income levels to participate in the current state of affairs in East Lansing. It is necessary for creating and maintaining a productive, lively, cohesive community. Instead, affordability has been systematically ignored by developers and planners. When creating a vision for the future of the city, we must take these factors into account, otherwise everybody loses — developers included.


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    Making Apartments into Functioning Neighborhoods   


    Author:     Benjamin Roth   


    Principle:     Inclusivity in Design   



Vibrant neighborhoods ideally consist of a cross-section of people of various backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, and income levels. These differences foster important social dynamics, like creativity, a sense of belonging and importance, and mutual respect. These dynamics, in turn, aid in the the creation of important pillars of civic life, like social awareness and political involvement, through a common sense of purpose and identity.

Our concepts and frameworks for constructing inclusive, vibrant neighborhoods and social environments are frequently forgotten when designing apartment buildings. Apartment blocks function as de facto neighborhoods, but rarely do they incentivize interaction between residents. Instead of atomizing people and limiting opportunity for connection, apartment design should be rethought to include shared space for residents. Concepts like integrated courtyards, or outdoor areas in general, give people a taste of natural connectedness normally not present within the concrete walls of an apartment building. Shared walkways, open spaces with natural light, and community meeting space are all equally important, and are very necessary for creating a happy, functional, shared community.

Developers frequently attempt to design interesting looking buildings. While this is a good start, it doesn’t naturally produce functional space. SkyVue is quite contemporary and interesting, but it isn’t overly functional or innovative. Indeed, it is simply a modern-looking traditional apartment block. Our modern resources allow us to re-think the way that we construct new developments and the purposes behind their construction. Instead of simply changing the materials we use, we can reassess our intentions to produce more robust, resilient, inclusive environments that lend themselves to happier inhabitants and more involved citizens.


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    The East Lansing Epidemic: Unaffordable Housing   


    Author:     Hunter Kulka   


    Principle:     Housing Inequality   



Gentrification is the process of renovating areas to make them more refined and typically more beneficial to more affluent residents. This process can raise housing prices and cause those with lower incomes to have to relocate to an area that is more affordable. This can have a severe impact on a college students in a town like East Lansing. In recent years, East Lansing has become a hotspot for developers to come in and build high end luxury apartments. This uptick in high end apartments have over taken the affordable housing options for students.

The current price for a 2 bedroom 2 bathroom unit at Skyvue is $885 per person. Majority of students must work to put themselves through school and cover their costs of living. If the average student made $10 an hour it would take them working close to 100 hours a month just to pay their rent. If the students want to pay less for rent then they must travel a significantly larger distance to get to their classes than those who can afford to pay these high rent prices. In order to reduce the inequality in the East Lansing housing market we must see a decrease in prices to a more affordable level. Skyvue should be the start of this trend and should reduce the cost of their apartments to an affordable level.


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    Solar Powered Roof   


    Author:     Marilyn Hecht   


    Principle:     Ecology and Sustainability of a City   



One aspect of creating a better city is through the focus on sustainability and ecology increasing the lifespan of not only the city infrastructure, but the health of the people as well. In the Skyvue Development, there could be further improvement when it comes to the sustainability of the building. Instead of having a roof with access for the people, they should install solar panels to help produce energy for the residents, ultimately decreasing cost and energy. MSU followed this suit with the new parking lot on the south side of campus near the Clinical Center. These panels produce energy for the campus while also serving a use in the community. Skyvue can imitate this method by installing these panels on the roof to help residents have decreased costs and keep a city more sustainable.


Solar power roof


    A systematic modern approach to cohere the community   


    Author:     Colin Liang   


    Principle:     Using technology to improve community involvement intelligently   



The Skyvue project connects the Frandor shopping center with the MSU campus, its location nature establish its importance to the city of Lansing; with the cost of around $70 million dollars, Skyvue is intended to absorb some of the housing markets from East Lansing, if done successfully, the project would draw great attention from the campus and the city. My idea for the project is a systematic approach to advance the public infrastructure and facilities using technology and intelligent urban planning concepts to provide ease and a better experience for residents and community visitors. Parking facilities should be tailored and customized to accommodate the needs of the neighborhood; an intelligent structure infused with high-technology in order to maximize the efficiency and to minimize the waste during the operation. Special streetscaping designs would be applied, the designs should integrate the aesthetics and functionality to be user-friendly, users should be able to fully enjoy the community with high walkability.
The Skyvue project is rather experimental, but it is feasible. By bringing in various types of businesses and commerce, the real estate cash flows and the return are highly visible. I can see the project being highly regarded for breaking ground of the true meaning of smart city concept for the city of Lansing. It visualizes how future cities would utilize the physical structure to improve community involvement instead of using the traditionally-used humanity contents, the concept incentivizes people to get connected and involved by fulfilling what they truly need and desire for what a good community should be.


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    Build a Better Frandor Shopping Center   


    Author:     Suzanna Smentowski   


    Principle:     Economic Impact of Small Business   



Frandor and the area around the SkyVue development was once a bustling shopping center, but times have changed and the revenue coming out of this space is not what it used to be. While some additions have been made to this space in the past few years (Blaze Pizza, T.J. Maxx, and Ulta Beauty), the developing a better-designed shopping center in the land surrounded the Skyvue apartments would attract more people to the complex and help to create a better market for the city of East Lansing. As a model, city planners can look at the Eastwood Towne Center (see image) for inspiration. This area incorporates walkable spaces with well-manicured lots. There’s a large selection of shops and restaurants as well as apartment buildings in the area. SkyVue is a large, modern looking complex in an area that is well past its prime. By reworking the shopping center to be more modern and better taken care of to match the level of prestige of SkyVue, it would start to attract the public’s eye and encourage potential small businesses and retailers to lease a space in the center – creating the potential to benefit the economy of the city. Having shops and restaurants close to any housing development makes a location more desirable. By building up a better designed shopping center, it would not only encourage more people to shop there, but it would also encourage more people to move to these apartments and possibly prompt the development of more of the surrounding area.


Eastwood towne center


    Livability of a Space   


    Author:     Kristina Gerding   


    Principle:     Livability   



The livability of a place can mean different things for different people. For some, livability may be very practical and based on physical attributes that make a place clean and safe to live. For others, livability of an area may be broader and more complicated such as community presence and feelings of belonging. The Skyvue development includes one to four-bedroom apartments and provides modern living for students. As mentioned on the Skyvue website, the building offers “a stronger sense of community to study and hang out with friends while meeting new friends along the way.” And although the apartments are modern and appealing to younger students, the question of livability remains. Skyvue offers many communal meeting areas to try and promote a sense of community in the apartment. The high cost of living at Skyvue excludes certain members of the community and therefore takes away this sense of community some may find crucial in their idea of livability. If Skyvue is to be successful in creating a livable space, it needs to encompass what all may consider livable. Not just a new building with many amenities, but a space for inclusion and community.




    Mixed-Use Buildings Improve Accessibility   


    Author:     Kelsey Storemski   


    Principle:     Accessibility   



The new SkyVue development in Lansing is an expensive and exclusive living space that serves a small portion of the area’s upper class students and professionals who can afford their high rent. It is a massive and beautiful building with a small rim of greenery surrounding it. However, It is awkwardly placed in a developing area of Frandor, which is in close proximity to the Frandor shopping area and the busy street of Michigan Ave. The building fits a typical mindset of city gentrification that serves to further the divide between the rich, middle class, and poor demographic of Lansing. The building itself lacks substantial mixed-use elements, is not inclusive or publicly accessible, it does not fit in with the local architecture, and is not compact because it is surrounded by large, open areas that have yet to be developed.

SkyVue can solve many of these issues by converting some of its living space so that businesses can open shop there. They can also add a small public square equipped with trees, local art, and a playground next to SkyVue that would have a small set of buildings for businesses. These buildings can start small and eventually be expanded upon. These business areas would cater to profitable ventures such as bars, technology start-ups, popular stores, and small corporate firms. The employees of these businesses will also be encouraged to live in SkyVue because of their proximity. If financial ability is limited, SkyVue can present this initiative to city council and can try to obtain private and public funding. The benefit of these ideas is very comprehensive; greater inclusivity, compact design, greater connection to the city’s culture, and improved economic development.




    Residents of Skyvue Connect   


    Author:     Kaitlin Rudnick   


    Principle:     Connectivity   



Skyvue is a beautiful, newly built apartment complex that was recently built on Michigan Avenue. The building itself is a couple shades of blue, white and grey. It is a beautiful building that definitely draws your attention to it. It also takes one’s eyes away from the eye sore of Frandor which is the shopping complex behind it. I was actually considering living at Skyvue because I currently live in their sister apartment, Campus Village. The amenities that they have are outstanding. To start, they have a gym that all residents can use. They also have a great fireplace area with seating surrounding it so residents can connect. While they have a ton of great amenities they are lacking some as a whole. With having a high rise building the builders could have done more to connect the building as a whole with the residents. I would create a bigger hangout space within the first floor of the building. I would create more study rooms for those to connect. I would create a bigger gym with athletic classes so more can come together. While they have a nice outdoor fireplace area, I think it could be bigger to accommodate the nine stories of residents that live there.



    Quit the Price of Luxury   


    Author:     Vanessa Velazquez   


    Principle:     Housing Inequality   



The Greater Lansing area has a common fault when it comes to housing. In East Lansing, housing is increasingly more expensive when looking at areas that are closer to Michigan State's campus. Lansing has a similar issue where you can tell the wealth distribution of the area depending on what side of Lansing you are. This SkyVue development is adding to this issue by having expensive rates of rent while it borders East Lansing and Lansing; but more importantly, it is falls into the expensive rent range due to it's proximity to MSU campus. This development needs to actually target to the majority audience of the area, part-time working college students and the ignored low income residents of Lansing. This is a classic case of gentrification, this means that the Greater Lansing area has been promoting development in the areas that will bring in the "proper audience", individuals or families in a higher socio-economic class. Making this development more cost appropriate to individuals who are actually in the city already can help bridge the gap between Lansing and East Lansing residents, help people find opportunity due to their new affordable housing, and lastly this can ultimately lead to positive cultural and social impacts.


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    Let All Development be Smart Development   


    Author:     Vanessa Velazquez   


    Principle:     Smart Growth   



The housing development on Michigan Avenue has the potential to build the community with a lasting affect. It's goal now is to bring a resurgence of business to the Frandor Shopping Center, while also provides their residents with their own shops, restaurants, parks, etc. This idea is great but could be better through focusing on this idea of smart growth. Smart growth looks at the community to focuses on how this development can help what is needed in this community needs. These developers should ask themselves what do these students and young professionals need since this is their target audience. Students need transportation to campus, besides the CATA what else can this building be used for that promotes accessible transportation to campus; a bike area with air pumps and other necessities. Their current goal of providing a park for the residents is a smart way to promote community engagement. Housing Developments need to be thought of as more than just providing housing, but homes where the residents and community members can grow as individuals and a community.


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