Old Town and Lansing: a sibling relationship

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Buildings of downtown Lansing can be seen in the distance while standing along Grand River. Photo by Zachary Swiecicki

By Zachary Swiecicki
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

Old Town Lansing.  Even in its own name, Old Town has to share Lansing.  The same can be said at most intersections in Old Town.  Buildings in downtown Lansing can be seen down almost any road in Old Town that leads south towards the Capitol Building.

For some, seeing downtown Lansing means more possibilities to help grow Old Town.  For others, downtown Lansing only steals business and is seen a competitor.


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Map of the quickest route from Old Town to downtown Lansing.


Old Town Commerical Association director, Austin Ashley, offered his views on Old Town’s relationship with downtown Lansing.


“Old Town has more retail than downtown (Lansing), but this serves to be a differentiator, not a divider,” Ashley said.  “I don’t feel that Old Town is in the ‘shadow’ of downtown (Lansing). There are very few instances of overlap, and those instances serve us more than they hurt us … they give the consumer options to fulfill their needs.”


Five citizens of Old Town and five citizens of downtown Lansing were asked if they think both communities benefit from the other’s presence.  Four of the five citizens in Old Town answered yes and agreed that Lansing’s ability to draw large numbers of people was a large positive factor for Old Town.  All five of the Lansing citizens answered yes and each interviewee mentioned that Old Town offered a different selection of businesses and restaurants.


“Part of Old Town’s success is in being a neighborhood with different offerings from East Lansing, Downtown Lansing — unique as part of the whole metro Lansing region,” Ashley said.



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Buildings of downtown Lansing can be seen from Center Street. Photo by Zachary Swiecicki


Despite only being less than two miles away, downtown Lansing and Old Town are two very different communities.  They both offer different attractions and will look to work together in the future.


“Being the state capital, Lansing brings many people from across the state to our unique shopping destination,” Ashley said.  “Old Town is a creative community full of boutiques, galleries, and restaurants that create an experience like none other. Our small business owners are the ones with the dreams turned reality that really give Old Town its ability to ‘stand out’ in the crowd.”

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