Redevelopment of REO Town industrial complex takes step forward

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Developers plan to turn the industrial complex at 735 Hazel St. into mix of apartments and office spaces.

Helen Korneffel

Developers plan to turn the industrial complex at 735 Hazel St. into mix of apartments and office spaces.

A 100-year-old industrial complex near Lansing’s REO Town could soon become a mix of apartments and offices.

Lansing City Council on Oct. 8 approved a brownfield tax incentive plan to reimburse the developer for environmental cleanup costs related to the site at 735 Hazel St. Project developers expect the first phase of the project to cost about $14.5 million.

The incentive package would reimburse the developer about $5.8 million over 30 years for costs associated with cleaning up the property. That money would be generated by increased property tax revenue from the project.

Work could start by February.

The property includes three, interconnected buildings with over 100 years of industrial use. Soil and groundwater pollutants at the site will be removed as part of the project.

“Taking so much history of Lansing’s industrial past and kind of reforming that into a 2.0 version of it for the city is very exciting,” said Brent Forsberg, president of T.A. Forsberg Inc. and one of three principals of Urban Systems, the project’s developer. “We are providing a spot for local businesses to thrive, collaborate and grow together, and we’re mixing it in with some really cool housing that is in the same building. It creates an environment where you can work, live and play all in the same area.”

Urban Systems is working on several projects in the city.

“The really nice thing about this plan is that it is preserving a historical building instead of tearing it down,” Lansing resident Loretta Staway said. “The philosophy Brent Forsberg is working from is making communities liveable and neighborhoods connected.”

One goal of developing the Hazel Street property is to connect REO Town to downtown Lansing and beyond. Developers hope the newly designed complex will improve the aesthetic of the area and raise neighboring property values.

“Having a mix-use project like this in an area where not much is going on can only improve the area,” said Eric Helzer, managing member of Advanced Redevelopment Solutions, a economic development consultant on the project. “When you start adding in hundreds of people to an area, you revitalize the area, and I think the mayor said it best when he said that this is a project that will create positive change for this part of town.”

Advanced Redevelopment Solutions advises governmental bodies about how to structure incentive programs for development projects.

“The property is only about eight minutes by foot from REO Town,” Lansing resident Kathy Miles said. “The plan was created to bridge that gap and bring the communities together, which will be a positive change.”

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