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Business owners wary of East Lansing development

Posted at 8:10 PM, Jan 16, 2020

LANSING, Mich. — Several new high rise apartment buildings recently opened and more are in the works in East Lansing.

The HUB is the latest one to open across from Michigan State University's campus.

And the same developers are hoping to build two taller buildings.

Some business owners nearby think there's already enough.

"It seems weird coming into town and seeing all these buildings," said Jeff Cooper, a co-owner of Campus Barbers on Grand River Avenue.

Cooper has lived in East Lansing for 30 years and said he supports some of the many changes in town.

"It is what it is, I know... progress. I'd like it to stay," said Cooper. "It's a great opportunity for that, students seem to love it."

East Lansing Mayor Ruth Beier said the plan for skyscrapers was thought out.

"What we wanted was more density because downtown is not very big. For us to attract the kind of retail we want and the type of office we want, we need the people there," said Beier.

The developers behind the HUB want to put up two more buildings on Bogue Street, however, these are planned to be 14 stories high which is taller than what current zoning laws allow.

"Just because the HUB wants to build another building, doesn't mean they will be able to do that," said Beier.

Mayor Beier said the city is doing a housing study to figure out how many more apartments are needed.

"There is going to be a point where we have enough apartments and we will start looking for other things. We might very well be there," she said.

Cooper is hoping that's the case because East Lansing is losing some of its charm.

"East Lansing's charm has been a lot of individually owned businesses instead of all the chains," said Cooper.

Beier said they don't want too much student housing available off-campus because they don't want to leave MSU with empty dorms.

She said city council members might not approve zoning changes for another complex because they had so many questions about the first HUB project.

That discussion is expected to happen during the February 25th meeting.

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