By Grant Essenmacher
Lansing Township News Staff Reporter
With just under five square miles of land, Lansing Township has only 8,126 residents according to the 2010 U.S Census. The residential areas of the township have become obsolete and big business chains have moved in.
The contrast between large commercial shopping areas and the smaller, less developed residential areas of Lansing Township is stark. Many chain businesses have relocated to the township, while apartment complexes and smaller neighborhoods have become more popular.
Jason Mullen, a Lansing Township resident and frequent shopper at Eastwood Towne Center, has noticed the difference between the two.
“Many of us enjoy living here due to how close those big stores and restaurants are. I think a lot of people here appreciate the proximity of stores that have things we need,” Mullen said.
Mullen frequently shops and eats at one of the larger outdoor shopping areas, Eastwood Towne Center, in Lansing Township.
“The nice thing about Eastwood is they have everything. Restaurants, movie theaters, and regular shopping, they have it all,” Mullen said.
Eastwood also attracts many people from outside the Lansing Township area, according to the Eastwood Towne Center Property General Manager Emily Desrochers.
“The city of Lansing’s mix of college educated, higher-end wage earners have found Eastwood Towne Center’s mini-urban center appealing for shopping, dining and entertainment,” Desrochers said.
Desrochers also discussed how Eastwood is constantly trying to improve the community in terms of different stores relocating to Lansing Township.
“Eastwood’s mix of retailers, eateries and services build off of each other and help create a unique experience for people to visit and spend the day,” Desrochers said. “We are always working to enhance the unique mix of exclusive retailers and restaurants.”
While the closer residential areas around Eastwood consist of more apartments and rundown areas that hold around 5,000 people, if you expand to a larger five-mile radius, you will find a whopping 152,641 people, according to Desrochers.
This has contributed to the movement of people from outside Lansing Township visiting Eastwood, as the shopping center sits on the edge of Lansing Township and Lansing. This kind of shopping behavior is not uncommon and is actually benefiting Lansing Township, according to Michigan State University Urban Affairs expert Laura Reese.
“The chain stores are going locate there because of the larger market. It could be that township residents have to pay taxes. But, the stores pay property taxes back to the township which helps for services in the more rundown areas,” Reese said. “The big advantage to township residents is jobs and taxes.”
Reese also commented on the fact that the Lansing area is much better off in terms of public transportation than other major cities, which helps get shoppers to Eastwood.
“The Lansing area is better off than say Detroit for public transportation which helps the shopping market. In order to have a successful shopping market, you have to get people there,” Reese said.
So while the more upscale Eastwood Towne Center may look odd in a less developed area outside of Lansing, in the end it being there is helping the citizens of Lansing Township.
“If you ask any citizen of Lansing Township, I’m sure they would say they enjoy having Eastwood here,” Mullen said.