PSA: Park at the Old Biggby’s, Risk Getting Towed

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Alice Dreger for ELi

Photo taken in 2018 when the original Biggby location was still open. Biggby is now in the building shown in the background, "300 Grand" (300 W. Grand River Ave.).

Earlier this week, a reader wrote in, “Do you know anything about the parking lot between Crunchy’s and the old Biggby’s coffee shop? I was shocked to see cars being ticketed and towed (!) on Sunday afternoon while the farmers’ market was on. I saw no signs about who could park there. Seemed terribly unfair and unfriendly of East Lansing. So much for encouraging downtown business! Thanks.”

The reader is talking about the parking lot of the original Biggby location, just west of Crunchy’s and just south of Valley Court Park. We can confirm that this is a private parking lot, not open to the general public.

Right across Delta Street from this property is “300 Grand,” an apartment building that now has a Biggby on the ground floor. DTN owns and operates 300 Grand, and DTN uses the old Biggby parking lot for ancillary parking.

Stay out of that parking lot, or you might indeed be towed at the order of DTN, even if you park there for a short time.

Owner and manager of Crunchy’s, Mike Krueger, whose customers sometime park in the lot, told ELi, “We are going to do something over social media to warn people as well and remind them that we will reimburse for a hour of parking off their bill if they park at the meters along Valley Court.”

Krueger is hoping the City will soon designate spots along Valley Court for curbside pickup at Crunchy’s, as City staff has done in the Bailey St. parking lot.

Krueger and others have previously explained that delivery services like Grubhub charge very high fees to restaurants, cutting into already-slim profit margins, and that it’s economically much better for local restaurants if customers opt for pick-up rather than delivery. (Everyone recognizes that food delivery may be necessary for some people with safety concerns or mobility problems.)

But if you go to pick-up food, be careful where you park.

Here’s something we found in the ELi Archives while working on this story:

The apartment building at 300 Grand received a tax increment financing (TIF) deal worth about $1.9 million to pay for the construction of underground private parking for the tenants of that private apartment building. For a total of about 20 years, taxes from that redevelopment will be used to reimburse the developer’s expenses.

This 2015 TIF plan was highly controversial, including at City Council. This was one of the TIF plans that later led to Council issuing a policy saying it would try to restrict TIF use to public infrastructure construction and environmental cleanup.

Disclosure: Crunchy’s is a sponsor of ELi’s and Mike Krueger serves on our Community Advisory Board.

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