Newman Lofts cultivates older community in East Lansing

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Newman Lofts pamphlet and March calendar of events for residents in the lobby. Picture taken on March 25, 2024.

While the streets of Albert Avenue fill with college students at 9 p.m. on a Friday night, Ed Mazlish gets ready for bed right across the street. He lives in Newman Lofts, East Lansing’s premiere 55 plus apartment complex, located in the heart of Michigan State University’s college town.

“You know, sometimes there’s noise and I have to tune it out,” Mazlish said. “But the building itself is quiet. I never hear my neighbors.”

Ed Mazlish poses for a picture inside a Newman Lofts office. Picture taken on March 27, 2024.

Built in 2019 as the sister property to Landmark, assistant property manager Jennifer Ganser said Newman Lofts was constructed under a leasing stipulation with the city of East Lansing to provide a certain percentage of housing to this age demographic. She said one of the draws of the complex is the university right next door.

“(Residents) like being a part of the, you know, the student atmosphere downtown and they like being close to the restaurants and things like that,” Ganser said.

MSU alumni and current resident Elizabeth Marazita has lived in the complex since 2020. She said the walkability of the surrounding city reminds her of New York.

“I live in the Manhattan of East Lansing,” Marazita said. “That’s how I look at it.”

Elizabeth Marazita poses for a picture in one of the gathering spaces inside Newman Lofts. Picture taken on March 27, 2024.

Mazlish, another New York native, moved into Newman Lofts in 2023 to be closer to his son who had just enrolled in MSU from out of state. He said he enjoys seeing college students out and about in the city.

“As a New Yorker, I like the hustle and bustle,” Mazlish said. “I like knowing that people are alive and out enjoying themselves, engaging in commerce, engaging in fun, doing things that they want to do.”

Ganser said they market themselves as “55 and up active living” because they don’t provide the typical amenities of a retirement home and want to be more inclusive to a larger demographic.

“We have a good variety of residents here, some that are on the younger end, 55, that are still working or they work from home,” Ganser said. “And then we do have a lot of retired (people). We have, on the older end, some that like the feel of a senior living type atmosphere.”

View of Newman Lofts units from the inside terrace. Picture taken on March 27, 2024.

She added that when it comes to noise around the complex at night, some residents view it as nostalgic rather than a nuisance.

“I’ve had residents point down there and say, you know, that that brings me back to when I used to hang out there,” Gasner said. “For them, they’re living it up.”

Marazita has lived in different units throughout the building, but said one of her rooms overlooked Harper’s Restaurant and Brewpub, formerly Dooley’s, which was the first place she ever went out and ordered a beer when she attended MSU.

“In terms of what happens after ten, I’m not in those lines with half naked people,” Marazita said. “If I could look like that again, I would, but no it does not bother me. There’s a time and season for everything and it seems that people are respectful and safe.”

Marazita said the connection between Newman Lofts and the university is strong and she doesn’t feel like there’s a divide between the younger and older generations.

“I think the whole design of the city council, why they approved for Newman to be integrated, was the very concept of having multi age diversity,” Marazita said.

Michigan State University related photographs hanging in one of the gathering spaces inside Newman Lofts. Picture taken on March 27, 2024.

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