Lansing Lugnuts’ stadium proposes a $22 million upgrade including apartments

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The city of Lansing is mandated to renovate the Cooley Law School Stadium that houses Lansing’s minor league baseball stadium, but a local developer proposes a $22 million plan that would add a restaurant and apartments directly outside the stadium.

City officials announced last Wednesday, March 12 that the proposal would include renovations to the stadium and residential apartments overlooking the outfield.

The plan is set to take place over the next two seasons, The Lansing State Journal reports. It will be completely ready to open in 2016 on opening day, Lansing Lugnuts General Manager Nick Grueser said.

Grueser said the project would take place in two phases, the first floor of the stadium complete by opening day in 2015, and floors two through five complete by 2016.

Grueser said $11 million issued from the city would go toward public stadium renovations and the other $11 million will go toward the private residential apartments adjacent to the outfield, the entire project considered a mix-use development.

The Gillespie-Group, a private development company, would build the apartments above the outfield and a bar-and-grill restaurant, according to Group Vice President Rachel Michaud.

The Gillespie-Group is still finalizing plans with their architect, but is planning 80 residential units in the apartment structure, Michaud said.

“The final unit plans in the rental structure would be about $900 to $1,200 a month,” Michaud said.

The Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) is also working closely with developing teams to renovate the stadium, MLive reports.

Michaud said the idea was born because the Lansing Lugnuts are planning a renewal of their lease contract with the Cooley Law School Stadium.

The city of Lansing owns the stadium, Grueser said. He said the maintenance of the stadium is the city’s responsibility.

According to MLive, Lansing pays $800,000 a year in bonds for the publicly owned stadium and receives $350,000 a year from the Lugnuts’ lease agreement.

“The best way to think of [the project] is in two different parts,” Grueser said. “It’s a complete renovation and overhaul in and around the stadium.”

According to Grueser, the proposal will also include remodeled bathrooms, concessions, suites and seats, The Lansing State Journal reports.

The $11 million will help upgrade bleachers to theatre-style seats, install a new field and a new locker room and clubhouse, Grueser said.

Grueser also said there would be a brand new $1 million scoreboard paid with private dollars, which will be the Lugnuts’ responsibility.

“I think [the project] is a bit of a game-changer,” Michaud said. “The more successful the commercial portions are, the more people will want to be around town.”

Both Michaud and Grueser said the final renovation would energize downtown Lansing for those looking for living and entertainment outlets.

Grueser said Lansing residents are worried about broken windows from baseballs with the apartments so close to the stadium, however, but said the concept has been done before.

The concept of having an apartment in the outfield is pretty unique, but their affiliate’s stadium, the Rogers Centre, has the same concept with a hotel, Grueser said.

“The biggest obstacle of the project is the timing around a baseball season,” he said. “We are in the process of working with timelines.”

Construction will break ground by September 2014, according to Grueser.

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