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Wednesday, February 17,2010

Kids in the Hall

An aggregator of Lansing government happenings

by Neal McNamara
A proposal by the Lansing Economic Development Corp. to give tax incentives to a Sonic drive-thru restaurant in South Lansingnearly got breaded and deep-fried at last Thursday’s City Council Development and Planning Committee meeting.

New Fourth Ward Councilwoman Jessica Yorko — who does not watch TV or drive much — wondered what, exactly, is a “Sonic?” When she found out, she questioned whether the restaurant chain’s marketing was doing a number on the EDC.


The Sonic drive-thru would take up one of four acres on a site at the southern tip of Pennsylvania Avenue on the site of the Governor’s Inn, which is closed. The developer, Flint-based Miller-Apple, which owns a number of Applebee’s restaurants, is lined up to get a Brownfield TIF, pending Council approval. The Brownfield would capture the taxes of the new Sonic, which would mostly go to reimburse the developer’s costs. Miller- Apple also wants to construct other buildings on the remaining three acres, though no solid plans have come through.


Committee Chairman Brian Jeffries questioned the project, too. He pondered why the Governor’s Inn could not be kept because its taxable value is higher than what the Sonic building is projected to be.


Still, despite the salivating some did over Sonic’s commercials (there isn’t a Sonic within an hour of Lansing), Yorko was not quick to jump on the chain’s bandwagon.


“Marketing is marketing — you can make anything sound good,” she said.




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