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Thursday, January 20,2011

Kids in the Hall

Marshall Street Armory: It’s ‘historic’ now

by Andy Balaskovitz
Thursday, Jan. 20 — The Lansing City Council voted unanimously today to give the Marshall Street Armory “historic district” status.

Developer Pat Gillespie approached the city for the designation, which allows for up to 25 percent in state and federal tax credits on new construction to the site at 330 Marshall St. on Lansing’s east side.

Bill Rieske, an assistant planning manager with the city, has said that while the designation offers incentives for developers to rehab old buildings, it also comes with a more stringent regulatory process. Gillespie would need any changes approved by the Historic District Commission first.

Twenty percent of the incentives come from the federal government, on top of another 5 percent from the state.

“It’s a stronger incentive (to rehab old buildings), monetarily,” Rieske said. “But it does come with some regulation.”

At-Large Councilman Brian Jeffries said the city merely grants the status to the armory and does not get involved with the incentive package. The breaks are good only on “qualified exterior improvements,” he said.

“This recognizes that this location is an historically significant property. It does not approve any additional incentives (for Gillespie) from the city,” Jeffries said.

The armory is the city’s eighth historic district. Others include the Ottawa Street Station, the Ranney Building at 208 S. Washington Ave. and the Prudden/Motor Wheel Factory historic districts.

In other business, the Council voted to shuffle across downtown Monday evening in coordination with Mayor Virg Bernero’s State of the City address.

The City Council will convene in the Council Chambers on the 10th floor at City Hall on Monday at 5 p.m. They will then take a recess and reconvene at the Knapp’s building, 300 S. Washington Square, where Bernero is scheduled to deliver his State of the City speech at 7 p.m.


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