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Monday, March 18,2013

Kids in the Hall

Davenport deal stalls, LCC offers cash for Oliver Towers property

by Nyssa Rabinowitz
Monday, Oct. 10 — A proposed land trade between the city of Lansing and Davenport University involving the downtown Oliver Towers property failed to make it out of a City Council committee tonight, stalling the deal indefinitely.

During tonight’s Committee of the Whole meeting, the Council voted 4-4 on moving the proposal before the full Council, where it was scheduled to set a public hearing for Oct. 17 tonight.

At-Large Council members Brian Jeffries, Derrick Quinney and Carol Wood and 1st Ward Councilman Eric Hewitt voted against the motion after a presentation from Lansing Community College. LCC is against the proposal because it wants to buy the Oliver Towers property and LCC officials offered cash for the property tonight.

LCC Board of Trustees Chairman Larry Meyer presented Mayor Virg Bernero and the Council a letter earlier today offering to pay $2.52 million for the property in question. The letter says the college would pay for the property as is, and would demolish the eight-story Oliver Towers structure.

“For a city that is looking for cash, we feel this presents an opportunity to the Council to say: ‘Let’s weigh our options,’” LCC Vice President Lisa Webb Sharpe told the Council. “The college is willing to pay what is the appraised value for the property.”

Webb Sharpe asked the Council to reconsider their current pending deal with Davenport University, which would give Davenport control of the block of land containing Oliver Towers.

The proposed development agreement between the city and Davenport would trade 3.01 acres on the block surrounded by Seymour and Capitol avenues and Shiawassee and Ionia streets downtown for Davenport’s campus at the corner of Kalamazoo and Cherry streets, 2.72 acres worth nearly $2.34 million. In addition to Oliver Towers, the lot in question also contains a parking lot, which LCC leases from the city for $175,000 a year. The Council is one of four entities that needs to approve the agreement, and at least six members need to say yes, according to City Charter rules for disposing city property.
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