“Center City District” Development Proposal Unveiled in East Lansing

Redefining Mixed-Use Project to Enhance Albert Avenue and Provide Downtown Grocery Option

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Mayor Mark Meadows and the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) announced a major new mixed-use development proposed for the heart of East Lansing this morning. The development team consisting of East Lansing’s own Ballein Family and the Chicago-based developer, Harbor Bay Real Estate Advisors, are proposing to create the Center City District (CCD) along Albert Avenue, transforming the cultural thoroughfare of East Lansing’s Downtown into a pedestrian-focused lifestyle destination. 

The proposed Center City District, which will redevelop the Albert Avenue Parking Lot and the 100-200 block along East Grand River Avenue, consists of two residential towers with a combined 364 residential units: a twelve-story market-rate rental housing building along East Grand River Avenue (“Grand River Apartments”) on the south side of the block, and a six-story age-restricted, active living rental apartment building located on the north side of the block on Albert Avenue (“Albert Apartments”). The Albert Apartments tower will sit atop a proposed six-story parking garage with 22,000 square feet of street level retail. The Grand River Apartments tower is planned to include a large national retail/grocery tenant on the first floor. Parking will consist of dedicated parking for the retail and residential, as well as additional public parking for East Lansing.

We are excited to unveil such a diverse and complete downtown development aimed at embracing the City’s commitment to diverse housing and pedestrian-focused experiences for everyone,” said Mark Bell, CEO, Harbor Bay Real Estate Advisors. “Proposing a community-oriented development such as this, would not have occurred without the tireless effort and commitment of the Ballein Family, the City of East Lansing’s team, LEAP, and the leadership of Mayor Mark Meadows. As a first time developer in this area, we have been impressed by the passion of everyone involved to make this development a reality, and we share their passion. We want to particularly acknowledge the Ballein Family’s continued commitment as Downtown business leaders.” 

The total project cost is estimated at $132 million dollars and will create 400 to 500 temporary construction jobs and 75 to 100 new permanent jobs.

“This project proposal is about bringing a long-discussed vision for Downtown East Lansing to life,” said East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows. “Over the last 30 years, East Lansing leaders and residents have collectively sought to create a true main street, where diversity in all its forms coalesces in the heart of downtown. We are on the cusp of realizing this dream, and I want to say thank you to the Ballein Family and Harbor Bay Real Estate for their partnership and efforts in working to redevelop this critically important area of the city.”

Ultimately, the parking structure, Albert Avenue retail, and infrastructure improvements created through this development will be owned by the city, serving to generate ongoing revenue into the future. The project is contingent upon the support of East Lansing’s City Council, Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, Downtown Development Authority, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. 

“Big, urban, and walkable developments are essential to the region’s efforts to attract global talent and create excitement. This symbolizes what real big cities do!” said Bob Trezise, President and CEO of LEAP. “On behalf of LEAP’s Board, I would like to deeply congratulate the Ballein Family, Mark Bell and the Harbor Bay team, Mayor Mark Meadows, the East Lansing City Council, the entire City of East Lansing team, Brian Lefler (with Baird), and LEAP’s COO, Steve Willobee who worked together to lead this effort.”