By Trevor Darnell
Listen Up, Lansing Staff Reporter
Since 2000, the Oliver Towers Apartment Complex had been left vacant after being destroyed by a fire and had never brought back to life, until now. The George F. Eyde Family LLC purchased the lot with a $1.05 million deal to allow an $8 million rebuild of the complex for Lansing residents.
The family plans to turn the burned-down building into a complex with office space located on the first floor. Construction is scheduled to start in the fall of 2016 and is hoped to be finished sometime in 2017.
The location of the complex is just a block north of the Capitol at 310 N. Seymour Drive.
“This is a great thing for the city, now that nasty/abandoned building can finally be put to use. Thankfully, in a positive way that will help a lot of people that need housing,” said Alexandra Long, a current Lansing resident.
The plan is to make single-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments that will range in size between 400 and 800 square feet. Plus, there will be around 5,000 to 7,000 square feet on the first floor for office and retail space.
“Can you tell us the affordability and what the price points look like for this project?” asked Jessica Yorko, a Lansing City Council member.
Carl Dochemer, representative for the Oliver Towers Project at the meeting responded with, “I do not know the actual prices as of yet, but I know that they will be under $1,000.”
“Mr. Eyde suggested that these apartments be between $600 and $800, and he had said that between this, they become affordable for people that don’t normally get availability to live downtown. He wants to make them more environmental and more developmental for people living downtown. He wants most of these apartments to become affordable for as many as possible to help more people come work downtown,” said Vincent Delgado, a Lansing City Council member when speaking about the Oliver Towers Project.
The reaction to the deal was fairly positive.
“The Oliver Towers renovation project will be a great use for this space. We are eager to see this long-vacant former apartment complex transformed into a fresh, bustling, mixed-use building, adding additional housing options and new office space for innovative companies to the city’s downtown core,” said Bob Trezise, President and CEO of the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP).
“The George Eyde Family is excited to once again team up with the City of Lansing and work together to take a vacant building and breathe new life into it. Lansing is a great place to live and to work – Oliver Towers will soon offer both,” said Nick Eyde in a recent press release, who is the Project Developer of the Eyde Company.
The project is dependent upon future consideration and approval of economic incentives by the Lansing City Council.
“I couldn’t be more pleased to see this old, blighted structure get a new lease on life,” said Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero is a recent press release. “Being directly adjacent to the campus of Lansing Community College and just blocks from the State Capitol, Oliver Towers will once again be an asset to the city instead of an eyesore.”
Past attempts at purchasing the property have failed by a numerous amount of companies before success by the Eyde Family LLC.
In 2004, developer Pat Gillespie wanted to replace the building with townhouses that would be more upper-income living rather than the lower-inome living that will come out of it now. But rising costs and many delays made the plan too expensive, according to Lansing CityPulse.
In 2011, Davenport University wanted to swap its campus in Lansing with the city in exchange for the Towers. Officials from the university wanted to demolish the building and create a huge, multi-million dollar complex for a campus in place of the apartments. But, the City Council did not take the deal, leaving the building still vacant, CityPulse reported.
Finally, in 2011, the City Pulse reported that Brian Jeffries, a councilman, suggested selling the building to help “offset losses in police, fire and code enforcement officers.” The council rejected this idea.