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The former train station that once housed Clara's restaurant is one step closer to redevelopment

Site of Clara's restaurant and train station is one step closer to redevelopment
Posted at 6:00 AM, Jun 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-08 06:00:24-04

LANSING, Mich. — It's been sitting vacant since 2016 but the former Lansing train station that once housed Clara's restaurant could soon have new life.

Clara's Restaurant and train station property is slated for renovation.
Clara's Restaurant and train station property is slated for renovation.

The Gillespie Group bought the more than century-old building about five years ago and has been working on a plan to redevelop it since then.

Pat Gillespie of the Gillespie Group

“What the final use is, we don’t know but we’re talking to a whole bunch of retailers. We’re talking to some office and different restaurant users. Nothing is locked in stone yet," said developer Pat Gillespie.

In a proposed plan for the 5,900-square-foot property, developers say they have a letter of intent from Starbucks to lease about half of the space.

Clara's Restaurant, the site of the Downtown Lansing Depot Station

Gillespie says there is a lot of work to be done on the property like roof repairs, a complete HVAC over overhaul and installing insulation to make the space energy efficient.

Gillespie says there will also be outdoor patio spaces and a small park to attract pedestrian business.

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

Lansing’s City Council voted Monday night to amend a Brownfield tax plan originally approved for Gillespie's Block 600 Project just across Michigan Avenue to include the former train station.

Gillespie says the move will help to offset some of the costs associated with the renovations.

The developer says the move will help to offset some of the costs associated with revamping the former train station.

“Over the next 20 years, the difference that we’re going to pay in the new taxes compared to the old taxes we’ll be able to recapture a little bit every year to help try to pay back the original amount we put in to fix the building," he said.

The project is expected to cost almost $4 million dollars.

About 50 jobs would be created at the old train station site, 20 of which will be permanent positions.

Developers say the project is slated to start this fall and could be completed by next summer.

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Erica Murphy

Erica Murphy

1:21 PM, Mar 03, 2021

Your Neighborhood Reporter

Erica Murphy