Ask ELi: Will The Abbot Be Open On Time? UPDATED

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Updated on Aug. 24, 2020:

Chris Oakley, Convexity’s Director of Design, tells ELi that The Abbot received the Temporary Certificate of Occupancy today at 4 p.m. and that move-in of tenants will start tomorrow.

The following story was published on Aug. 10, 2020:

When the topping-off ceremony for The Abbott happened in late February, the expectation was that the new apartment building would be open with plenty of time to spare. The estimate given then was for a June 25 completion date.

But that was before the pandemic led to Governor Gretchen Whitmer shutting-down construction here for almost two months.

Now, the fall semester is approaching and the building at the corner of Abbot Road and Grand River Avenue isn’t finished. ELi readers are asking whether it will be open in time to house the people who have rented apartments there for the fall MSU semester.

The developer of the project, DRW Convexity, has not responded to several recent inquiries from ELi.

Back in March, representatives said the building’s 196 apartments were about 95% leased.

Responding to a question about the status, East Lansing’s Director of Planning Tom Fehrenbach said on Friday, “The developers are still planning to complete the project on time and our inspectors have been readily available for inspections as work has been completed and ready for inspection. Our top priority is the safety of the residents of the building and a certificate of occupancy will not be issued until the project meets all code requirements.”

Fehrenbach added, “If they are not able to finish the project by their deadline, they will need to implement a communications plan for their residents.”

Speaking through the City’s communications department, East Lansing’ building inspector Scott Weaver clarified that a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy is “likely to be issued” so long as “all life safety requirements are met.”

It is common with big projects like this for temporary certificates of occupancy to be issued so that occupancy can occur before every line of code is met. This happened, for example, with the Center City project, The Hub, and the Bailey Center. (This doesn’t always lead to the best experience for residents.)

Back in March, DRW Convexity told ELi the anchor retail tenant on the first floor of The Abbot will be a Walgreen pharmacy.

The Graduate Hotel (left) is now expected to be open next spring.

Next door to The Abbot, The Graduate Hotel also continues to be constructed. The hotel is not expected to be opened until Spring 2021.

The delay at The Abbot related to the coronavirus shut-down means the construction of DRW Convexity’s affordable housing project a block away will also be delayed, since the timing of these are connected practically in terms of construction staging and legally in terms of what is required to be built when according to signed agreements.

Construction of the affordable housing rental apartment building had been expected to commence in late spring of this year.

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