by Kyna Garrett
Lansing Star StaffWriter
The Red Cedar Renaissance project is still in its early stages, as it continues to battle difficulties with development of the site.
The project involves LEAP, Ferguson Development and Continental Real Estate of Columbus, Ohio, in an effort to build a residential and commercial space in the old Red Cedar Golf Course, which sits on the polluted Montgomery Drain off of Michigan Avenue.
According to Ingham County Drain Commissioner Patrick Lindemann, “The Red Cedar Renaissance takes place in the heart of what is called the Montgomery Drain. It is one of the most polluted discharges from the Red Cedar River.”
Lindemann said the drain, which has existed since 1902, has gone through many evolutions and could cause problems with flooding while developing the site, though he hopes to work with the water and incorporate it in the development.
“In order to fix that pollution problem, we would rebuild the drain and bring it up to today’s standards,” Lindemann said. “In order to do that, it requires ripping up a whole bunch of land and redoing the drain in such a way that may be interfering with any development that would have to take place later.”
Lindemann said building up the site into a residential and commercial area while also rebuilding the drain would save money.
CEO of Continental Real Estate Frank Kass spoke at a meeting on Feb. 12 with other developers announcing plans for the site. According to Kass, the site has natural barriers like the Montgomery Drain to work with, which he claims is more beneficial than having nothing to work with at all.
“There’s going to be water running through the site because that’s the way the water flows,” Kass said at the meeting, regarding the Montgomery Drain at the site.
The plans include building undergraduate student housing at the farthest east side of the site closest to campus and a hospital at the far west corner of the site, according to Kass.
He announced at the meeting that the buildings will have a modern, older look, but nothing will be too out of place.
“We’ll have a world class hotel, tremendous housing and great restaurants,” said Developer Joel Ferguson.
Ferguson said the site is still in the preparation stage, and he expects it to take a long time. According to the City Pulse, father and son Leo and Chris Jerome, former developers of the project, have since dropped out of the project and are suing Continental Real Estate Co. and Ferguson Development, LCC for stealing their plans for the Red Cedar Renaissance project, originally called the Capital Gateway.
LEAP Director of Business Development Steve Willobee said Lindemann is working with LEAP to resolve flooding issues in the land before beginning construction, He also said they are taking all factors into consideration for the project.
Lindemann said he hopes the finished project will attract residents from all over Lansing and encourage residents to enjoy themselves and spend their money.
“It’s going to be a destination for people to go to and enjoy themselves,” Lindeman said.
He said he thinks the site, once it is complete, will be a focal point of Michigan Avenue and will be a project far beyond urban renewal.
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