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Walter French Junior High School building to be converted into affordable housing units

Posted at 3:55 PM, Sep 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-13 15:57:15-04

LANSING, Mich. — Between the boarded up doors and spray paint, it’s no surprise why the Walter French Junior High School building has become an eyesore, but soon, the building will have a new purpose that may help improve Lansing's south side.

The 176,000 square foot former Walter French Junior High School building on south Cedar Street has been vacant since 2015, after a fire at the location.

“This has contributed to a lot of the blight that residents have been saying has been an issue in south Lansing,” said state Rep. Sarah Anthony.

But the future for the building seems to be quite promising. There are plans to convert it into 76 affordable housing units.

“We’re going to have over 70 units, right in an important place in the city by a bus stop where people can get to work, and we’re happy to help and be a part of this process," said Lansing Mayor Andy Schor.

The redevelopment is being spearheaded by the Capital Area Housing Partnership.

Plans for the $25 million redevelopment project became finalized after the city of Lansing provided the organization with a 20-year, 4 percent tax break to create more affordable housing.

“They have a good reputation, it’s local company, and I think that’s a good thing for the city,” said Brian Jackson, a member of the Lansing City Council.

We’re told the project has gotten a lot of support, including some from the state level.

“I’m really excited we were able to get this revitalization and placemaking grant,” Schor said. “We advocated and was able to get $5 million, so it’s a great partnership.”

Construction will begin soon, and the expected completion date is set for fall 2024.

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