The Center City Project is a $132 million project proposed by Harbor Bay Real Estate Advisors set to take place along the 100 block of Albert Ave. in the heart of downtown East Lansing. The plans provide for a 22,000 sq ft., twelve-story apartment building with a small-format Target shopping center on the first floor. While including Target in the plans for this project was key, another major component of the plan is to include an additional $125 million twelve-story structure with retail space, a six level parking deck and six floors (271 units) of housing for people 55+ adjacent to the current construction site. The plans for the second development recently gained approval from the East Lansing Brownfield Redevelopment Authority for $52 million in rebate, however, it still awaits approval from the East Lansing Planning Commission and City Council.
Author: Aaron Litt
Principle: Ecology, Go Green:, Infrastructure Investment
A green roof is a concept that to my knowledge has not been utilized on any building across Michigan State's campus, or anywhere in East Lansing or greater Lansing. A green roof is a roof that is aligned with various plants, vegetation, and a water proof membrane. This provides a way to absorb rain water and treat the air of the area around the roof.
This concept could be very useful in helping combat the potential for flooding around the streets of downtown East Lansing, and provides an environmentally friendly aspect to the large building going up. If this were implemented it could also set the standard for other projects around greater Lansing to adopt similar environmentally friendly building aspects to limit pollution and create more efficient sources of energy, such as lining the roofs of buildings with solar panels. Adding a green roof to the City Center Project could provide the inspiration for other projects to follow suit.
Jobs with Residence Above
Author: Mai Vang
Principle: Housing Inequality
Having a Target below an apartment makes it super convenient for students to get their daily needs and school supplies. Opening up a Target on Grand River means more job opportunities. A great idea would be to offer or include a contract with terms concerning housing and a job opportunity. For example, if one were to work in a Target while also living in an apartment room upstairs, they could be given special advantages such as paying a lower rent cost. As a resident, they should also be granted free parking within the six floor parking structure. With these special advantages, residents with these special contracts with affordable housing included within their contracts wouldn’t have to worry much about safety. Everything they need will also be all accessible to them. With many homeless people roaming the streets of Grand River Avenue, doing this could help improve their lives for the better and decrease the number of homeless people along with the negative stigma against them.
Community Garden/Green Space
Author: Jose Gavina
Principle: The Biophilic City - Nature is Key!
Have a section dedicated to a garden/green space on the roof area above target where there is seating is something that would be beneficial towards both residents and people visiting the retail spaces. That would be a good spot for it since it would mix a retail area with nature. They could even mix the seating they provide with nature as shown in the photo below. Additionally, since there is the area that will be for residents that are 55+, this would be an activity that would let them interact with people of all ages since gardening is an activity that any age can enjoy! Furthermore, the green space is something that people walking by down on the sidewalk will be able to see, so it will catch their interest and make them stop and enjoy nature in the downtown area. A garden situated above a Target isn’t something one sees often. Because of that, it could potentially draw in a larger amount of people to the retail aspect of this project.
Implementing something like this would not be too difficult if there are enough residents that would participate in this project. Residents would be the ones planting in the garden, so the management would not have to worry about hiring a groundskeeper to make sure the garden stays healthy. All management would have to do is reserve a space for the garden and provide them with the necessary things to begin, and from there, the management would not have to do much for the most part as it would be a community effort to care for the garden. In order to find out if this is something that is feasible to do, they could send out a survey to the people that have already signed up to live there and try to find where the interest levels for a community garden are. If interest is high enough, they would have a good reason to implement it. Lastly, this will add a Green aspect to the Center City project, which will definitely be a welcomed addition.
Value of Small/Local Business
Author: Jose Gavina
Principle: Economic Impact of Small Business
Since Target is already set to come in, all of the other retail space they plan on having should go to ONLY small businesses since Target is already a huge company. Small businesses are a big part of the local economy, so the project needs to be able to support them instead of hurting them even more by giving them more competition in the form of bigger stores. Small businesses are put out of business most of the time because they cannot compete with the prices of bigger stores. However, there is not a store similar to target this close to campus, so that will be a good addition to those who cannot make it to Meijer or a similar store outside of East Lansing. The issue here is that if they add more big companies to the area that could take away from the business of nearby smaller stores. That is why it is important they really take into consideration who they give the remaining retail space to. The photo below shows a Walmart (big business) and a small business that was struggling because it was built near it.
Implementing this idea would require the cooperation of everyone who is in charge of deciding who to give the retail space to. Something they could do is have interested retailers give a presentation on why they believe they will be the best option for the community. Doing this will give them a way to remain fair as they will have facts to go off of. Furthermore, giving the community input on what retailers they would want to see would be great for two reasons. For one, the people in the community know what the community needs, so they will know what will work best so that no one business gets hurt economically because of the inclusion of another business. Second, this will be good for the new retailers since the people are getting input in what they want to see in the new development which means that they will technically already have a customer base since the interest will clearly be there.
Author: Zainab Hanosh
Principle: Embracing religious diversity
The City Center Project, worth over $257 million, was proposed by Harbor Bay Real Estate Advisors and is set to take place along the 100 block of Albert Ave, in the heart of East Lansing. The structure, location and plan ideas including a small-format Target on the first floor are all incredible. An improvement idea for this project would be to create an interfaith reflection/prayer room for students that come from a variety of different religious, spiritual, and ethical practices. This room can offer a neutral welcoming place for people of all religious traditions to pray, meditate, worship, reflect, study and practice their faith.
Accommodating through architectural spaces creates a symbol of commitment to welcoming religious diversity. An interfaith room/space can bring together not only religiously students but non-religious as well. The space can create an opportunity for students who do not identify with a particular tradition to find opportunities to gather and reflect. This improvement idea would help increase the popularity of this project as it would be the first in the Greater Lansing area to have this type of room dedicated to their tenants.
Hire MSU Students
Author: Mike Grimes
Principle: Hire students to work at Center City Target
The Center City Project has made it clear they will only allow residents who are over 55 years of age. I believe that this is not the best idea as the location would be perfect for student living. I do understand that older residents would get annoyed with younger residents who may often make a lot of noise in their apartment. Although the people who choose to live in Center City Project apartments may not want to live next to college students, they will be choosing to live in this location because they value the college experience and want to feel the energy of the campus. The Target store on the first floor is going to be a common shopping place where residents of Center City apartments and students of Michigan State interact.
The Target store should make a strong effort to hire Michigan State students.
The location is walkable for many students who attend MSU and would be a great place to work. The residents of Center City would love to be able to engage with the younger generation. Target is a very large store and would benefit from hiring students for part-time jobs as team members. Hiring students would also bring money back into the community. Another benefit of hiring students would be that the money they earn stays in East Lansing. College students in most cases are not saving up for large purchases, but instead get jobs in college to be able to buy food and pay for tuition. The money they earn working at Target would be spent around East Lansing and would help the entire community prosper.
Retaining Culture Through Small Buisnesses
Author: Clare Kiley
Principle: small buisnesses
The City Center development will include both student housing apartments as well as senior housing, will have a parking structure, Target as well as additional retail space on Albert ave.. I think the new target has its pros as well as cons. It will offer a good place for students to easily get groceries right off campus as well as opening up many new job opportunities. However the culture of east lansing is held in its small unique businesses. The Target will take up the space that used to be owned by a number of small businesses.
My improvement idea is to make sure the additional retail space is given to small local business. This will help retain the east lansing culture that has been lost with the new development. Large corporations take away from the culture and feel of an area, making the community uninteresting and basic. With small businesses comes diversity of products and a uniqueness that contributes to the identity of an area.
Small Businesses, Big Jobs.
Author: Rumana Uddin
Principle: Building Businesses and Hiring Students
The City Center Project is perfectly located right in the heart of East Lansing. This grand apartment building is planned to have a Target with and a parking deck and six floors to it. While being a $132 million dollar project aimed at housing people 55 years and older, it can still be a way to cater towards people who are younger too, without having to house them. It is no secret that many students who attend college are looking for jobs that are close to where they live and go to school, in order to make their commute or walk to work as quick as can be. It is also no secret that many college students get part time jobs in order to be able to buy food or to pay rent, etc.
College students will always be on the hunt for jobs. Since this project is so beautifully located, it can be a great place to work for many students. They can go to work right after class or even before a class. Not only will this benefit students, it will be great for small businesses looking to hire workers who do not expect to take all day shifts or work every weekend. Small businesses are a great way to include variety in an area. The building is already set to include a huge business chain like Target, so it could also include little places and create a sense of comfort that can't come with bigger corporations. Small businesses and hiring students in those small businesses can bring about an energy that the residents will be able to enjoy and it is a unique energy that cannot be found in bigger brands.
Japanese Zen Garden
Author: Corrin Misak
Principle: Connection With Nature
A connection to nature provides a community an escape from the chaos of day to day life. The 12 story Center City Project will be implementing housing for people that are 55+ years of age, parking levels, and a retail store. By placing Target on the first floor the designers will effectively draw people in from the busy street as well as provide a convenience to the older residents. All of the activity is great for business and convenience, but what about relaxation? Residents will be living in an apartment complex off a busy downtown street, as well as above a popular retail store and a concrete parking garage. In order to maintain a balance in the environment, the community should be provided a peaceful place to connect with nature and escape from the artificial materials surrounding them.
An idea to create this would be a Japanese rock garden, also known as a "zen garden". A traditional rock garden consists of stones, water, trees, bushes, or moss to represent landscapes in nature which is surrounded by sand or gravel that is raked in various patterns to represent ripples in water. They were originally seen in Buddhist temples to assist in meditation and allow reflection on the meaning of life. They can be smaller in size and relatively low maintenance. For adults who are 55+ years of age, they may not be as inclined to care for a traditional garden and this would still allow those who enjoy gardening as a hobby to continue staying in touch with nature. It may also help them reflect and cope with understanding the meaning of life, which some of the older residents may be struggling with. I personally love what the Japanese gardens represent and how they can connect people to the Earth. The main problem with this idea though would be the placement and accessibility of the garden. Square footage is highly valued in such a popular area of Greater Lansing, so the best place to put this would be the roof. It wouldn't be accessible in the winters, but it would still provide residents a chance to remove themselves from the downtown scene and connect with nature for the other 3 seasons.
Author: Aaron Litt
Principle: Housing Inequality in a College Town
With the constriction of the brand new apartment building, Landmark, on Grand River, a new, urban, up to date housing option arises for the students of Michigan State. With this new housing option, rent costs also increase. These newer apartment buildings, based on both the up to date features and amenities that they provide, have these companies charging higher and higher rent each year. With this location specifically as well, the prime location of right along grand river, directly across from campus and right around the restaurants and bars that make up downtown East Lansing, allows the rent to be charged at a higher rate due to the demand it commands.
While these companies are fair in charging high amounts of rent for the amenities they provide and the demand that comes with the location, it creates a great inequality among students. Due to the high rent rates, only specific students are able to live in these houses because the average student cant afford over approximately $900 plus dollars a month. This causes many students to seek other housing options that aren't necessarily as modern or ideal based on location, because they simply can't afford it. With loans and all of the other expenses that come along with college, rent should be one that can be made affordable so all students have an equal opportunity to get as ideal of a housing situation as they can get.
The effect on small business
Author: Derrick Hayes
Principle: Economic Impact of Small Business
The City Center Project will do wonders for the students and consumers overall in the East Lansing area, but the effect this will have on the small businesses around campus and the East Lansing area will be felt. A lot of these small businesses rely on the students to come and shop there. Especially during game days in the fall, the influx of consumers is high and that is what keep them in business.
With the introduction of the Target and it being right across the street from the campus. It will have a huge negative impact on those small businesses. Anyone could go into this Target and get whatever they need and there will be no use in going to any other store because Target has everything. Also, the revenue that Target will bring in will cut into the small businesses revenue and that will cause problems for them. I know that this Target is supposed to be smaller in comparison to other Targets, but it will still have an impact on those small businesses and not in a good way.
Author: Isabella Davidson
Principle: community involvement
It is very helpful to the residents to be fortunate to have a target right below them. I think target should have a special discount for students in East Lansing. Having a target makes is conveinent. It will also help it be more affordable for essential needs of students they often struggle buying. If the target below also only hired MSU students looking for jobs the economy would improve as well as the communication between students.
The idea of a pact between the center city project would help everyone out at MSU and also make the new target a busy new hot commodity. Many students are looking for jobs but don't have great transportation so living below your job could help pay for many expenses, especially since schooling is so expensive.
Author: Michelle Ratchford
Principle: Sustainability, Nature, Infrastructure
The City Center project is highly anticipated by students and residents alike. It will be a conveniently located luxury apartment with a Target located below. This space will be very expensive to build and maintain, one way for them to combat the prices for the community is to utilize living or solar panel roofing.
A living roof in the space that is visible, above the target I believe, would be a great space for a living roof. It could help avoid flooding and runoff from rainwater while being energy efficient and cooling. Solar panels on the top of the apartments would be a way for the apartments and the target to keep prices down for the residents and community. Both methods would be very beneficial to the owners economically and to the community environmentally.
Adding a Green Space
Author: Theo Roberts
Principle: Incorporating Greenery
This Center City Project is the perfect opportunity for endless possibilities. Not only is it providing us, the students, with more availability for apartments, it is also coming with a Target store that campus and the public can use for their convenience. However, even though it is a great addition to Grand River and the city of East Lansing, it is kind of an eye sore. There is a simple way to solve that however, implementing a green space. One thing I had in mind was to add a green roof, my City Principle!
You simply cannot go wrong with a green roof. It comes with so many benefits like getting the community involved, improving the air quality and environment, and even makes for a good selfie with you and your friends! Adding a green roof (and even wall), can get the new residents living in the apartments to help out on the green roof. Students will be able to build and maintain the roof as well as plants flowers on it. With this improvement, East Lansing and especially Grand River will have finally have some greenery.