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Historic downtown Lansing train station that once housed Clara's set to be renovated

Posted at 8:10 PM, Apr 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-07 10:03:35-04

LANSING, Mich. — A 113-year-old Lansing landmark is set to be revitalized.

The train station that became Clara’s Restaurant will be redeveloped into a mixed use space after the restaurant closed its doors in 2016.

The city of Lansing and the Lansing Brownfield Redevelopment Authority are working with the Gillespie Group for the project.

The Gillespie Group has asked the city to extend a brownfield plan for the Block 600 development across Michigan Avenue to include the train station site. The expansion was set to go to the City Council on Monday.

Gillespie Group has been renovating Lansing properties for over a decade. Pat Gillespie, the president of the group, says this time it’s personal.

“Most of our people are from this area and we take a lot of pride in Lansing and the Stadium District," he said. "It's very prideful for us to be able to bring it back to life.”

Exactly how the property will be updated is still up in the air.

“Between the train car and the building, there will be at least two uses," said Gillespie. "We’ve talked about everything from entertainment, to a restaurant, to an office."

Mayor Andy Schor says the renovation aligns with his plan to restore historic sites across Lansing.

"We’re excited to see that being redeveloped and being another piece of the exciting stadium district," said Schor. "We’re trying to develop areas all throughout the city.”

Clara's Restaurant closed its doors in 2016.
Clara's Restaurant closed its doors in 2016.

For some longtime residents, Clara’s Restaurant stirs fond memories.

“For me it was the Easter brunch. I mean, it’s something we all did," said longtime resident Tom Crawford. " We sat at the same table and you saw the same people. All it’s going to do is add to that wonderful potential of the Michigan Avenue corridor.”

Gillespie says he hopes to begin the project later this year and wrap it up in 2022.

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Erica Murphy

Erica Murphy

1:21 PM, Mar 03, 2021

Your Neighborhood Reporter

Erica Murphy