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Are offices the best use of ground-level storefronts? Some in Old Town think not

With Old Town looking to expand in 2017, some residents are concerned with businesses renting and buying out recently-closed restaurants or retail stores near them and using the ground-level storefronts for office space. Old Town is filled with vibrant, exclusive, and unique shops. However, there has been some controversy when there is a vacant building that recently just closed, as some businesses tend to rent out that building for office space instead of letting other future shops rent or buy it out, according to some residents. Andrea Kerbuski, a frequent Old Town customer, wishes there were more different options such as quick restaurants and other different shops. She hopes that some businesses will try to transition office spaces to upstairs spaces to create more retail and restaurant space at the street level.

Great Lakes Artworks is an artist owned cooperative gallery located in Old Town. Photo by Kaley Fech.

Great Lakes Artworks more than just an art gallery; it’s an art cooperative

From the outside, Great Lakes Artworks may simply appear to a passerby as a place that sells art. After all, that’s technically what an art gallery is. Darrell Taylor, director of the University of Northern Iowa Gallery of Art, states that an art gallery is any space that seeks to present art forms.

Great Lakes Artworks fits this definition. However, it is also so much more than that. Great Lakes Artworks has been an artist owned cooperative gallery since 2011.

Old Town is known for being very artistic with its many paintings and murals.

Old Town looking to bring in young professionals

Paintings, murals, start-up businesses, and the club life, are just some of the few things that makes Lansing’s Old Town neighborhood one of the top places to expand young professional connections as they start their new careers.

Slow start for businesses makes for a strong finish

It is a Monday evening around 5 p.m. and Turner Street is very quiet. A few cars are passing by on the road. The Lamb’s Gate Antique shop owner is locking his door. There are scattered street wanderers, but the heart of little Old Town seems empty. Unlike most towns in the area, this is the norm for Old Town.

Old Town could see the effects of the shift back into the urban core

By Zachary Barnes
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

Old Town is subject to the population shift of millennials moving back into the urban core, after so many years of sprawl, because of its walkability and number of things to do. “What we seem to be observing is that young millennials seem to have different interests and life style choices,” said Rex LaMore, a member of Michigan State University’s Urban and Regional Planning faculty. “They want to be in interesting places where there are a lot of opportunity and things to do. So they are moving back into central cities.” Old Town offers an array of unique festivals, an assortment of different styles of restaurants, and many niche shops as well as shops for basic necessities.