In today’s Ask ELi to Investigate, we bring answers to reader questions about two construction sites.
Hello! I noticed that the old, empty office building at the corner of Cowley Ave. and Michigan Ave. was swiftly demolished in the past few days. Do you know what will be going in there in its place? Thanks!
The property address is 1200 Michigan Ave. in East Lansing. Asked about what’s happening there, East Lansing Building and Code Administrator Scott Weaver told ELi by email, “The East Lansing Building Division had issued a dangerous building letter to the owners and have been in close communication with them. The owners were very cooperative; they recognized that the building needed to come down.”
The “dangerous building” ordinance basically allows the City to require demolition of derelict properties in order to ensure public safety. Sometimes owners cooperate – as in this case – and sometimes they fight the orders.
East Lansing Planning and Zoning Administrator Peter Menser responded to our reader’s question: “I can confirm we haven’t seen anything regarding a development proposal for that property. If that happens we will be sure to share with you.”
The owner of the property is Thomas Stegeman in Ann Arbor. His company is called Campus Realty, and he also owns the two properties just west of this one, including an old white house and the Wycoff Wellness Center building.
While the business of Campus Realty appears to be chiefly student housing, the East Lansing market for student housing has softened with a lot of new construction. The market for office and retail space is also soft.
So, what will happen to this property – or these three properties, since they share an owner – remains to be seen.
Why does 314 Evergreen Ave. have a hole in the roof and windows busted out?
This property and the two just north of it are set to be demolished. They are owned by East Lansing’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and, as ELi has reported, the DDA has agreed to lease the vacant land to MSUFCU’s contractor, Granger Construction, so that MSUFCU has somewhere to park their crane for construction of their new office building at the corner of Albert Avenue and Abbot Road.
In advance of demolition, the East Lansing Fire Department has been using 314 Evergreen Ave. to practice their work of firefighting and rescue. Firefighters broke the windows and the roof.
The demolition of the properties and the construction of the MSUFCU building have been delayed for reasons that have not been made public. We have questions into the City and MSUFCU about the reasons for the delays. We will update this story when we have answers.
Update, Aug. 11, 6:45 pm: MSUFCU’s CEO April Clobes got back to us and wrote: “I am still waiting for further details, but it looks to be a delay with the demolition of the properties behind our site that is the DDA site. That demo is now scheduled for 8/23. We anticipate our site to begin work the end of August/early September. We have begun the work to prep the site for construction and the site does have the construction fence in place.”
Update: Aug. 16, 5:30 p.m.: Mikell Frey, Communications Director for the City of East Lansing, got back to us to say: “The utilities were disconnected by Consumers Energy the week of August 2, 2021. Granger Construction [MSUFCU’s contractor] and their subcontractors are continuing to work through pre-demolition activities and expect that the buildings will be removed soon.”