Center City District

The Center City District is a mixed-use redevelopment project that includes significant placemaking improvements to Albert Avenue and Grand River Avenue, the addition of both senior housing (92 rental units) and mixed market housing (273 rental units), street level retail and the addition of a Target flexible-format store. The project site is located along Grand River Avenue and Albert Avenue, including 125, 133, 135 and 201-209 E. Grand River Ave. and the City's Albert Avenue Parking Lot, 200 Albert Ave. The total project site is 2.02 acres.

An estimated $125 million will be invested in the site. In addition to the placemaking improvements proposed, the project will include a new 620-space parking structure and new utility infrastructure. The City will take on no debt associated with any of the improvements.
The project was approved by the East Lansing City Council on June 21, 2017. Approval included the Site Plan/Special Use Permit, Brownfield Plan and Development Agreement. In addition, the City received the Due Diligence Report (PDF) for the project. After review, the City determined that the report was satisfactory.  View the Due Diligence Staff Evaluation (PDF)
and City Manager Correspondence (PDF) to the developer.  

The developer secured approval of incentives from the Michigan Strategic Fund Board at their meeting on September 26, 2017. Demolition has been completed at the project site and construction began in mid-December 2017. 

Construction Updates

For regular construction updates on the Center City District project, visit

About the Development Team

The development team is made up of both local and national partners. Locally, the Ballein family, owners of the Student Book Store and several other commercial properties, has assembled the privately held parcels and has established a partnership with Harbor Bay Real Estate Advisors, LLC, based in Richmond, Ill. Their consulting team includes BKV Group, Kimley Horn, Baird and Associates, AKT Peerless and others.


Date Summary
2003 and 2007 RFPs issued for Albert Avenue Parking Lot
2012 Senior Housing Analysis and Survey completed
February 2016 City Council approved Ordinance 1384 to ensure that housing dedicated to seniors would be included in the downtown
July 2016 Development team begins discussion with City about potential project
January 2017 Development team begins discussion about potential Brownfield Plan with the City
February 2017 Development team submits Site Plan and Brownfield Plan
February 22, 2017 Presentation to Planning Commission 
54B District Court, Courtroom 2
101 Linden St. 
7 p.m.
February 23, 2017 Presentation to Downtown Development Authority and Brownfield Redevelopment Authority
March 8, 2017 Planning Commission Public Hearing
March 16, 2017 Discussion of project at the DDA Project and Infrastructure Committee Meeting
March 20, 2017 Transportation Commission Meeting
March 22, 2017 Planning Commission Meeting
March 23, 2017 DDA and Brownfield Redevelopment Authority Meetings
March 23, 2017 Brownfield Plan approved by Brownfield Redevelopment Authority
April 12, 2017 Planning Commission to consider Site Plan
April 26, 2017 Planning Commission to consider Site Plan
May 9, 2017 City Council to hold public hearing on the Site Plan and Brownfield Plan - deferred action and set second public hearing for June 13
May 11, 2017 Downtown Development Authority and Brownfield Redevelopment Authority meetings to consider Reimbursement Agreement - CANCELED
May 25, 2017 Brownfield Redevelopment Authority to review revised Brownfield Plan - plan approved by BRA
June 13, 2017 City Council to hold public hearings on the Site Plan/Special Use Permit and Brownfield Plan - RESCHEDULED
June 20, 2017 City Council to hold public hearings on the Site Plan/Special Use Permit and Brownfield Plan - View special meeting agenda
June 20, 2017 City Council approved Site Plan/Special Use Permit, Brownfield Plan and amended Development Agreement
June 22, 2017 DDA and BRA reviewed and approved Development Agreement
July 7, 2017 City receives Due Diligence Report (PDF)
July 11, 2017 City responds to Due Diligence Report (see update above)
Sept. 28, 2017 DDA considers Interlocal Agreement
Sept. 28, 2017 BRA considers Interlocal Agreement, Brownfield Bonding, Reimbursement Agreement and Intent to Bond Resolution
Oct. 6, 2017 BRA approves Bond Authorizing Resolution for Center City project contingent upon the satisfactory completion of documents. Bond counsel for the BRA and City Attorney must certify all closing documents.  
Oct. 31, 2017 The Master Development Agreement (PDF) was signed by all parties
Nov. 6, 2017 Demolition staging scheduled to begin
Nov. 13, 2017 Tentative start of demolition
mid-December 2017 Demolition was completed and construction began