By Ryan Squanda
The Lansing Star
LANSING — Sometimes when it rains it pours. But in the case of Lansing’s city hall building – which has served Michigan’s capital city for the better part of 60 years – it pours right through the windows.
This is a sight seen all too often at the Lansing City Hall, and it’s a big reason why its days housing Lansing’s governing offices may be numbered.
“It’s showing its age and the mechanics of the building are terribly outdated,” said Randy Hannan, executive assistant to Mayor Virg Bernero. “So we’re taking a serious look at either looking for a new building or retrofitting our current one.”
In addition to the fact that the building is terribly outdated, Hannan added that there are a third fewer employees working in the City Hall building today than 10 years ago, in which case the city hall may not need all the space it currently has.
And it’s for these two reasons that the city is taking the beginning steps to analyze what it would take to get the process of improving the City Hall off the ground.
“It is possible that we sell the building,” Hannan said, bringing up just one of the city’s many options. “We believe that the land is very valuable… Strategically it’s very valuable with the Capitol Building right across the street.”
In the event that Lansing does decide to sell the current building and move elsewhere, Hannan says proceeds would then be used toward the construction of the new building. Because of the high cost that would likely be associated with a new city hall building, this would likely be an attempt to defray the costs and burden upon taxpayers.
As for where the city hall would move, Hannan says there are a number of places where this could be done, most of them ranging from vacant lots downtown to city owned land in the city’s outskirts, such as parks.
Even if the city decides to stay in its current location, there would likely still be a burden upon taxpayers, Hannan said.
According to Hannan, in a 1998 study, surveyors found the cost to renovate the city hall building would be around $28 million. Compare that to today’s dollars and the cost to restore Lansing’s City Hall would be $40 million.
So in the question of whether or not to move to a new location, the overall $40 million cost to renovate the current city hall is the benchmark the city is comparing it against, Hannan said.