Two new hotels and a potential apartment complex coming to Eastwood Towne Center could be the foundation of economic growth for the area, as the lifestyle center on the northwest side of Lansing Township continues plans for expansion.
Lansing Township Supervisor Diontrae Hayes said last month that a Holiday Inn and a Hilton Homewood Suites would be constructed behind the NCG Eastwood Cinema. The new plans would already add to the two hotels currently located in the Eastwood complex: a Hyatt Place, which opened last May, and a Fairfield Inn & Suites expected to open later this spring.
The Hilton Homewood Suites, part of an Eastwood expansion plan sponsored by the township known as The Heights, has already been under construction since late 2016 will accommodate travelers staying for extended periods of time. According to Hayes, the Holiday Inn will break ground later this spring and will be located west of the Hyatt Place and the Fairfield, kitty-corner to the NCG.
“If somebody who’s a researcher, who’s coming to do a stint at Michigan State for three weeks, they may not want to stay in a traditional hotel. If you go to a (Hilton) Homewood suite, it’s designed for someone who wants to stay long-term,” Hayes said. “And the Holiday Inn is set to break ground this spring.”
In addition to the hotels in the area, Hayes said DTN Management has been in talks with the township about breaking ground on a new apartment complex, since its other Eastwood complex, The Vista, has been at full capacity.
Hayes said, however, there are no agreements in writing to break ground on a second complex.
“It’s 200 or 300 apartments that they’re looking to add behind the Hyatt because they’ve had so much success with The Vista at Eastwood that it’s fully occupied,” Hayes said. DTN “wants to capitalize on that market, they want to be where all the action is.”
According to Hayes, the township is confident in its ability to to purpose the land at Eastwood because of analysis of the area’s economic growth in recent years and the demographics the businesses in the area serves.
“This is a data-driven process,” Hayes said. “People don’t invest millions of dollars into hotels if they don’t think they’re going to be successful or if they don’t feel like they’ll have the revenue base to sustain it because sustainability is the name of the game.”
The data Hayes is citing comes from the Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau, which indicates a demand for an increase in lodging. According to the GLCVB, it’s estimated over 4.8 million people will visit the Greater Lansing area, resulting in over $25 million to be collected in state tax revenue and approximately $504 million added to the Greater Lansing gross domestic product, or GDP.
Most of the tax revenue generated from tourists in the area comes from fuel, lodging, and food.
According to the Open Data Network, the GDP in all of the major metropolitan areas in Michigan have recovered from pre-Great Recession levels when GDP per capita dropped to its lowest levels in the 21st century.
In just one year the township has seen a 27.76 percent increase in total revenue, according to the 2016 Municipal Financial Summary, from roughly $11.55 million to approximately $14.75 million.
As Eastwood continues to grow, however, Lansing Township has also seen a 15.63 percent increase in total expenditures, with the largest change coming from, “community and economic development.” In 2015 the township spent $643,764 in urban development projects, but expenditures skyrocketed to over $2,540,362 — a 294.61 percent increase.
Sam Schultz, a planner for the Lansing Township Planning & Development Department said the increase in spending is a result of the upcoming projects for Eastwood.
“As far as Eastwood goes, yeah it is growing,” Schultz said. “We are investigating options for adding additional housing units and filling space under the parking garage, which will likely be more restaurant users and business users.”
Since 2015, a number of businesses have opened in the shopping center including a sports bar, a wine bar, a Mexican restaurant, a pastry shop and other small businesses.
“People are learning what they did wrong 10 years ago,” Hayes said. “And are trying to avoid those mistakes from happening again.”