With new buildings coming into Old Town this past year, Old Town has expanded its borders to the biggest it has ever been. Although why are these businesses heading to Old Town to start? One draw is that Old Town is known for being a very artistic and hipster type of town with many common coffee shops and young fashion-type of stores. Recently, two new establishments have opened known as The Grid Arcade and Bar that includes an arcade inside a bar, which is something different than what Old Town has had in the past. Also opening was the Ozone’s Brewhouse that recently opened last spring, which is located on 305 Beaver St.
Real Estate in Old Town is actually more affordable than what the consensus may seem. Single family homes range from $20,000 to the mid $90,000, with some exceptions. Now is the time to live in Old Town while interest rates are low according to Maggie Gerich.
The population of Old Town is something the neighborhood of Old Town pride themselves in. Reaching a goal of 100 percent occupancy is close to reach now, as a 4 percent vacancy rate is the current status. The feeling of community has been the main draw according to Vanessa Shafer, Old Town Commercial Association Executive Director.
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.
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.
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.
Once a bustling, prosperous community, North Lansing — known today as Old Town — fell into disarray in the second half of the 20th century. However, toward the end of the 20th century and into the 21st century, people in the community began to take an interest in the revitalization of the area, with the hope of restoring it to its former glory. Revitalization of downtown areas is not unique to Lansing. Ken Schroeppel, an expert in downtown revitalization as well as an assistant professor in urban planning at the University of Colorado Denver, said this phenomenon can be seen all over the country. “Up until World War II, cities were vibrant.
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.
The successful events and volunteer service in the past year has been nothing but amazing for the citizens of Old Town. However, it is ready for the next step of expanding. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Lansing’s unemployment rate has dropped nearly 10 percent over the past 10 years, however in cities like Detroit it remains at 12 percent. With families being brought in from the city because of how expensive it is to live there, Old Town must look toward to the future and expand. The main goal of Old Town business leadership for 2017 is deciding whether or not they should expand its boundary physically or the overall perception of it.