Kristen M. Clark

East Village plans downsized

By Kristen Daum

The State News


The East Village redevelopment has been cut in half.


Officials from the San Diego-based Pierce Company Inc. announced Thursday they will no longer be pursuing property east of Stoddard Avenue.


But changing the plans doesn't deter The Pierce Company or East Lansing from their mutual goal of a redeveloped East Village.


The project originally involved a mix of retail, residential and entertainment properties in the 35-acre region bounded by East Grand River Avenue, Hagadorn Road, Bogue Street and the Red Cedar River by 2011.


Prime Housing Group's refusal to sell its seven properties in the region made officials downsize their intentions for the project, said Fred Pierce, president and CEO of The Pierce Company.


"We do support their independent development of those properties," Pierce said. "And based upon that and their desire and intentions, we're moving forward with phase one."


Prime Housing Group President Nancy Kurdziel released a statement two weeks ago, saying she wanted to maintain ownership of her properties, which lie east of Stoddard Avenue, and her company plans to redevelop on its own in the future.


Kurdziel said Thursday she approves of Pierce's decision, adding that she wants her redevelopment to benefit local and regional businesses.


"This is a $500 million project — can you imagine that much money being pumped into a business here in Michigan?" she said.


Pierce announced the possibility of a two-phase redevelopment during The Pierce Company's visit to East Lansing last week. The first phase — and now only phase — includes the land in the East Village region east to Stoddard Avenue.


"We're disappointed that it won't be all done at once, but it's a good approach," said East Lansing's Senior Project Manager Lori Mullins.


The East Village up to Stoddard Avenue still includes all main components of the design — such as a man-made canal and island feature, shopping avenue and mix of residential properties, Pierce said.


"We were able to incorporate really all the significant uses that we felt would make for a terrific project," he said.


As a result of the decreased land available, the number of housing units in the village will be about 19 percent less than originally planned, Pierce said.


The latest designs call for 1,300 mixed-use housing units, but now the land can accommodate only 1,050 units. Retail space also will be reduced by 10 percent — down 30,000 square feet, Pierce said.


Community Resource Management Co. President Joe Goodsir said he supports the project regardless of how much land it covers.


"If Prime Housing (Group) chooses not to participate, that's their decision — we're still looking forward to the potential there," Goodsir said.


Since Prime Housing Group plans to redevelop on its own, Pierce said cooperation and communication are going to be important factors in creating the seamless landscape on Grand River Avenue, which the design plans originally called for.


"There will be a need for us to coordinate with Prime Housing (Group)," he said.

April 27, 2007 • News