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City Council greenlights Red Cedar project

Developers pay $2.22 million for site of $252 million plan


MONDAY, April 22 — Developers are one step closer to construction at the former Red Cedar Golf Course after the Lansing City Council voted 7-1 tonight to approve a development plan and tax incentives for the project.

Only At-large member Peter Spadafore opted to vote against the long-sought agreement with Continental-Ferguson LLC. to transform the abandoned golf course along Michigan Avenue into a mixed-use, $250 million, super-development.

“I think every argument made against this has truly been put to bed,” said Councilman Adam Hussain.

The Council for months has weighed a repeatedly shifting proposal from developers Joel Ferguson, of Lansing, and Frank Kass, of Columbus, Ohio. It aims to redevelop the vacant parcel into market-rate and student housing, a hotel, a senior care facility, an amphitheater and various retail and restaurant space.

The agreement, which is the seventh iteration of the proposed deal, includes selling the land for $2.22 million. Voters gave the city permission in 2011 to sell the 12-acre parkland.

Developers estimate the project will create about 400 full-time jobs by the time it opens in 2023. The project also calls for tax-increment financing to make it possible.

Plans call for about $196 million in private investment alongside a 30-year Brownfield plan that will cover about $54 million in infrastructure and soil cleanup from years of various chemical treatment at the former golf course. Bonds will be backed by developers and repaid through eventual property taxes on the site.

As the proposed agreement shifted over the last several months, at least half of the City Council had leaned against the project. But as developers continued to address their concerns, those objections waned and support for the “gamechanger” of a project materialized at the Council dais  Monday.

Some Council members were previously discouraged over the spread of student housing and the uncertain plan for market-rate apartments at the redevelopment project. Developers have since confirmed that their one- and two-bedroom units will be geared toward “multi-generational” tenants and not marketed toward students.

Another clause guarantees that 30 percent of the market-rate apartments will be built into two-bedroom units.

“We have to move forward,” added Councilwoman Patricia Spitzley., whose vote was up in the air a few weeks ago. “This project has the support of the business, environmental and labor communities. As an At-large Council member, I have to look at all of that.”

Spadafore, however, remained underwhelmed with the overall impact the project would have on the city.

“I have a philosophical objection to using a brownfield tax capture on green space,” Spadafore added. “There are real examples of brownfields throughout our city that need this type of incentive to encourage growth in the core of Lansing. This is not one of them.”

Visit lansingcitypulse.com for continued coverage as the development project moves forward.


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