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News & Press: FOCUS

Transforming Michigan Avenue: A Conversation with Mayor Andy Schor

Wednesday, April 4, 2018  
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FOCUS Magazine recently sat down with Mayor Andy Schor to talk about Michigan Avenue and the importance of the corridor in the City of Lansing and the impact it has on our region.

FOCUS: Why is investment along Michigan Avenue so important, not just to the City of Lansing, but to the entire region?

The Michigan Avenue corridor is a gateway to some of our region’s most important assets – the Capitol, Sparrow Hospital and Michigan State University to name a few. Because Michigan Avenue is so close to Michigan State University, we have many young professionals, graduate students and young families who choose to live in the neighborhoods within the corridor. We need to ensure that we have appropriate options and amenities that cater not only to this audience, but all of the corridor’s residents and beyond. The Michigan Avenue corridor connects our homes, workplaces, shops, restaurants and the places we choose to recreate. Investment along Michigan Avenue is vital as its acts as Lansing’s “welcome” to Michigan’s capital city.

FOCUS: What do you feel is needed for the corridor to realize its full potential?

We currently have older, outdated buildings that can present a challenge for active re-use. We also have buildings that were developed using old land use patterns or were developed in a way that wasn’t context-sensitive. In recent years, we have seen an overlay district placed on Michigan Avenue, which has helped new development conform to the urban context in a way that works. We need continued redeveloped that is shaped by this tool in order for the corridor to reach its full potential. We have to continue to focus on mixed-use properties with retail on the ground floor and a variety of housing above. The mixed-use development trend is not going away and it helps to bring greater density to the area. We need developers who are interested in saying “yes” to all that Lansing has to offer. We are interested in seeing more people, more places and more commerce on this main street.

FOCUS: A decade from now, what will success look like along the corridor?

A successful corridor will be a seamless gateway radiating from the Capitol to Michigan State University’s campus. The corridor will feature an attractive variety of businesses, activated outdoor spaces and a variety of housing options filled with both visitors and residents. It will be a pedestrian-friendly area and will draw attention to the region as a whole.

FOCUS: How can the public and private sector work together to truly transform Michigan Avenue?

Development and location of a variety of housing and retail creates the perfect private-public partnership. We need private businesses to build up the corridor, while we also have public resources available to help those businesses as well as residents and visitors. Partnerships will ensure that there is reinvestment in older buildings as well as creation of new ones. If someone is looking to invest in the corridor, we will always work with them to explore the possibilities.

Click here to download the April issue of FOCUS.


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