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Mayor Stephens says new MSUFCU will help downtown businesses

Posted at 10:32 PM, Mar 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-27 22:32:32-04

EAST LANSING, Mich. — MSU Federal Credit Union developers have a plan in the works to build an office building in the heart of downtown

“MSUFCU is a really vital part of our economy," said City Manager George Lahanas. "It’s a strong East Lansing company. It’s a great employer in the

MSUFCU office building will be right next to Dublin Square
The north wall of the credit union will face the patio of Dublin Square.

The proposed development will be built right next to Dublin Square's outdoor patio.

“On the corner of Abbot and Albert road there’s a parking lot there and that will be used for the construction of the building,” Lahanas said.

The only thing stopping the project from moving forward was a lack of space.

“When you’re developing and building in your downtown, there’s not much room for things,” Lahana's said.

The owner of Dublin Square Paul Vlhakis expressed his concern to the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) about construction equipment encroaching on his property, possibly causing a safety hazard and hurting business.

“The main concern was the crane and any kind of overhang,” said Mayor Aaron Stephens.

The DDA came up with a solution to demolish two houses and an apartment complex to make room.

DDA approves demolition of three public properties to make room for MSUFCU
Pictured is one of the houses that will be demolished. This house is vacated.

“This just seemed like a fairly symbiotic solution," Stephens said. "They needed a staging location to make sure they could construct in a safe way.”

Lahanas said getting rid of the buildings was an easy decision.

“That land that we’re holding is for future development and at some point we were intending to take those houses and that small apartment building down anyway," Lahana's said. "And this actually just sort of moves that along.”

The three properties will be used as temporary storage space while the development is being built.

“They’re going to pay for half the cost of demolition which is $100,000 that they’re paying," Lahanas said. "And then, they’re also going to be assisting us with a lease payment for the land for the next 18 months while they’re utilizing it.”

The city is working on a plan for a future development of another office building in the spaces where the houses and apartments are.

Mayor Stephens said the project of building the bank, employing more people downtown and eventually developing the empty lots into more offices will help local businesses.

“To have people working downtown, the after 5 crowd going out for food afterwards or getting coffee or lunch so it really helps I think to make our downtown more resilient,” said Lahanas.

“This is going to help the business, this is going to help our downtown succeed and it’s going to lead to a lot of diversity of options in East Lansing,” Stephens said.

Stephens also said this is part of transforming the downtown area from what was once known as a college town to something for everyone.

“Typically, we think of East Lansing downtown as a bunch of college bars and that’s just not how it is anymore and this just proves that,” he said.

MSUFCU developers are expecting construction to begin this summer.

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