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Developer signs deal to build $276 million project in Lansing

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Developers signed an agreement to build a quarter-billion dollar housing and retail complex in Lansing today.

Now they just have to figure out how to build it in a floodplain.

The Red Cedar Renaissance project is intended to transform an old golf course on Lansing’s east side into shopping and dining mecca with a mix of apartments and parkland. 

Developers plan to spend $200 million on the project. Another $76 million is earmarked for dealing with the problem that has long stalled development plans:  flooding.

Lansing’s old Red Cedar golf course routinely flooded. Runoff from surrounding properties and the Red Cedar River occasionally overflowing its banks have limited the property’s uses.

Columbus, Ohio developer Frank Kass says over the next year and half his company will try to come up with an engineering solution that would lift the development above the floodplain and treat the runoff to reduce pollution.

Kass says his company has experience elevating individual buildings over floodplains, though an entire project is a different story.

“We’ve not done an entire site that’s under floodplain,” says Kass, “So this is really new territory for everyone involved.”

There are still several hurdles the Red Cedar Renaissance must overcome before construction can begin.

For example, the Lansing City Council must sign off on the agreement signed this week.

Still, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero is excited that a project that has long been simmering appears finally to be heating up.

“New housing opportunities. New retail opportunities. Major development along Michigan Avenue helping to close the gap between the State Capitol and Michigan State University," says Bernero, will help "create what I call ‘Miracle Mile.”   

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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