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Lansing mayor re-ups plans to relocate City Hall

Flickr - MI SHPO /

Lansing's mayor is looking into moving City Hall.

Developers have until March 8 to submit plans for relocating City Hall, including Lansing's district court and the city's detention center.

And companies are invited to give ideas for redeveloping the existing City Hall location across the street from Michigan's Capitol. Mayor Andy Schor says he hopes proceeds from that redevelopment will partly cover the cost of more modern municipal facilities.

"I'd love to see something that is an economic development engine for the city," Schor said, adding that housing, hotel or restaurant space could work well at the current City Hall lot on West Michigan Avenue.

Previously, Schor has considered renovating City Hall, but now says he believes relocation makes the most financial sense.

The 11-story building needs between $60 million and $80 million in repairs, Schor said, adding that its compartmentalized layout isn't user-friendly.

A new building could have dedicated parking and a "one-stop shop" customer service center on the ground floor, he suggested.

"Right now, if you want to get your building permit, you have to go over to code compliance in the parking garage," Schor said. "If you want to pay your parking ticket, you have to go to a different parking garage to parking services. If you want to, you know, pay your taxes or come to the city clerk, then you have to come to City Hall. It's very spread out where you do your business with the city."

Last year, Schor sought proposals from a master developer to help the city take a birds-eye view of projects including a performing arts center and a rebuilt, relocated or renovated City Hall.

The city selected River Caddis as that developer, but the firm's work no longer includes City Hall, Schor said.

Schor's predecessor, former Mayor Virg Bernero, chose a developer in 2017 who wanted to build a hotel with retail space at the site of the existing City Hall and to move city facilities to the former Lansing State Journal building on Lenawee Street. But those plans fell through without the City Council's support.

Schor plans to convene a selection committee that will recommend a City Hall relocation proposal by April 2022.

A supermajority on the Lansing City Council would need to approve any plans for the long-term transfer of the current City Hall property. Tax incentives for that project would likely require council approval, as well.