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In the News: After 15 years, buildings may rise on blighted East Lansing block


The last businesses on the 100 block of West Grand River Avenue were forced out in 2008 to make way for what was supposed to be a $100 million mixed-use development.

It was overwhelming," said Leigh Beckmeyer, the general manager of Sushi Ya, which had been on the block for seven years.

"We had to find a new location, and that was pretty difficult. People were upset.”

Sushi Ya reopened a year later at 529 E. Grand River Ave. That $100 million development? It never happened.

“It was almost a little comical that they were pressing everyone to move out so quickly,” Beckmeyer said. “Years later, it’s still a sad excuse for what East Lansing could be. It became an eyesore."

There are two drab and empty buildings that still stand between the People’s Church and Abbot Road. The city has been entertaining plans to replace them for 15 years. Each of those plans failed. Financing never came through. Second and third chances didn't bear fruit.

This time may be different.

Chicago developer Convexity Properties has proposed another massive mixed-use project for the block: a 12-story hotel and luxury apartment complex, complete with a ballroom, retail space, a rooftop bar and pool.

"I'm more confident in this plan," said Mayor Mark Meadows. "The developer has more access to funding than any developer we've had before."

Read more at Lansing State Journal.