Development News

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The Robin Theatre takes flight with musical and performance acts

A husband-wife team reclaim a foreclosed property in Lansing's REO Town and take flight with Lansing's newest black-box theatre.

SkyVue Project erases blight, brings promising vision to Michigan Avenue

City leaders enlist Georgia developer to build a gateway to Lansing's future Miracle Mile.

Mitten State Malt to provide local flavor for area craft brewers

Michigan craft brewers can shorten their commute to find locally sourced malt when an Okemos entrepreneur opens Mid-Michigan's first malt house this winter. 

Origami Rehab on track with $3.5 million expansion

Slated for a spring opening, a major expansion to a non-profit in Mason will provide additional space, services and independent living programs for people living with traumatic brain injuries.

Iorio's Gelateria brings a little bit of Italy to East Lansing's southern edge

A brother-sister team inspired by family heritage has brought a taste of Italy to East Lansing in the form of European-style coffee and sweet treats with Iorio's Gelateria.

Farmer and meat-cutter goes to market with new Olivet store

Greg Saltzman is bringing the great outdoors to the city. Or at least to the small town of Olivet.
In mid-May, Saltzman and his wife Karen opened Whitetail Farms Fresh Market near the Olivet College athletics complex. The 6,400-square foot market at 4506 W. Butterfield Road features 1,600 square feet of food sales area, plus an in-house smoke and meat processing area. The new custom-build market expands on the family's decades of experience in meat processing, farming, hunting and just plain country living.
"We're gearing the market toward anyone within an 80- to 100-mile radius and we got something for everybody," Saltzman says. "We're not a big box story, and I'm into service and helping my customers find what they need when they walk in."
The Whitetail Farms Fresh Market is a spin-off of Saltzman's legendary Whitetail Farms Custom Deer Processing business that he operated since 1998. After consulting with the Small Business Development Association in Lansing, Saltzman decided last year to bring the business to town and to combine it with a small grocer and butcher shop.
"My venison processing had kept growing and growing and growing," says Saltzman. "I knew I would have to change things, so I purchased the property and started to build the business there."
Saltzman grew up the son of a meat cutter in Marshall, Mich. He started in the grocery business as a teen in 1975, and worked his way up from stocking shelves at the local Feldpausch to working in the meat department. He stayed in the business for nearly 30 years, then had the opportunity to help his wife run her father's farm. An avid hunter, he began processing wild meats, growing cash crops and raising beef cattle. After building a following of close to 800 customers, he knew it was time to take his business to the next level.
Whitetail Farms Fresh Market carries produce and grocery items that compliment the sales of fresh beef, pork and poultry. Customers will find marinades, seasonings and sauces, as well as regional produce, and can also call on him to process venison and other wild game on the premises.
Saltzman decked out the interior like a "man cave," carrying over the earth tones of the exterior and adding taxidermy decor in the form of a buffalo head and standing bear. He brought four employees from his previous facility and hired 9 more. He hopes to add more people and begin processing livestock in early 2016.
"I love the meat business," says Saltzman. "And I love my customers. I'm a farmer and a hunter and there's lots of stuff to talk about."
Source: Greg Saltzman, Owner, Whitetail Farms Fresh Market
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
Got a story idea for Capital Gains Development News? Email Ann Kammerer here.

MSU Federal Credit Union breaks ground on second headquarters building

With recent membership climbing to 200,000 and employees 650 strong, the MSU Federal Credit Union has growing reason to break ground on the second building on its headquarters campus.
On June 9, MSUFCU hoisted the first spade of dirt at a ceremonial dig to commence the construction of additional headquarters space at 3777 West Road in East Lansing. When completed in 2017, the second building will be 186,350 square feet, three stories high with a basement, and have the capacity to house 564 headquarters employees over the next 10 to 12 years.
President and CEO April Clobes was among the ground-breakers. She said the recent growth of the MSUFCU is directly attributable to the employees who make members come back and refer the financial institution to others. She also pointed to the continual upgrade and addition of services that leverage modern technologies.
"We can save you money by having your loans with us, our services are convenient and customizable, and we're responsive to members," says Clobes. "You can't get that with every institution."
Clobes reports that MSUFCU has been adding about 50 to 70 employees a year, and is on pace to continue that trend for the next decade. Some of those employees, she says, will be housed at the increasing number of branches, while other will have jobs at headquarters.
About 480 employees work in the current headquarters building that opened in 2008. The new building will accommodate the growth of three of the fastest growing departments: call center, e-services like chat and messaging, and IT. The MSUFCU is also applying for LEED Gold Certification through the U.S. Green Building Council, mirroring the current building's rank as a LEED Gold Building.
"Having an environmentally constructed building is just another way to show our commitment to this community," says Clobes. "It all aligns with our mission and values."
Source: April Clobes, President/CEO, MSU Federal Credit Union
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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Duke's Saloon puts a little bit of country in Lansing's urban core

Brandon Montemayor traveled south and went kitty-corner across the Midwest before coming back with a concept for a new country bar in Mid-Michigan.
Duke's Saloon opened just after Memorial Day, bringing a "'lil' country, a lil' rock and a lotta fun" to downtown Lansing. Modeled after popular venues in cities like Columbus, Nashville and Indianapolis, Duke's immerses patrons in a country roadhouse experience, starting with a hand-painted mural of the Dukes of Hazzard and John Wayne by Detroit artist Jeremy Harvey. 
"There are tons of Top 40 and dance clubs but nothing for the country crowd downtown," says Montemayor, Duke's general manager. "We just wanted to broaden the demographic of things available to people."
Montemayor and owner Doug Johns Jr. completely transformed the previous Harem Urban Lounge at 414 E. Michigan Ave. to accommodate a dance floor, darts, full-size pool tables, a high definition big screen playing music videos, and a DJ who builds his playlist on requests via Twitter. A live band will perform country rock most every Friday night.
Duke's features an eight-item food menu with a tex-mex and southwestern flair, as well as 15 signature drinks. Among the top thirst quenchers is the Bushwacker—a blended frozen drink of rum, coconut and amaretto, served in a hurricane glass and topped with whipped cream and a cherry. The full-service bar also decants the largest draft cider selection in the area.
Montemayor was born and raised in Lansing. He says the city is primed for a nightclub like Duke's that appeals to people like him who are great fans of today's country music.
"The thing I like about the music is it's so broad now," he says. "It used to mostly be people singing about losing their wife or their dog. Now, the messages they deliver are so much broader, and there's more of blend to the sound with pop and rock."
Duke's is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., with free line-dancing lessons offered from 7:30-9 p.m. on Thursday nights. The bar accommodates 265 people, and employs eight bartenders and four servers.

Source: Brandon Montemayor, General Manager, Duke's Salon
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

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Old Nation brews up tradition in Williamston

Travis Fritts is all about sharing what he learned from masters worldwide with folks back home.
On June 10, Fritts opened his long-awaited microbrewery and pub in Williamston. Old Nation Brewing Company rose from a multi-year vision that transformed the former home of the Williamston police and public works department into a combination beer production facility and restaurant.
"It's been a long haul," says Fritts. "The field of craft beer is really opening up for those of us who've been slugging it out for a decade or so. There are beers we've been working on and are eager to share."
Old Nation will feature a rotation of 12 brews in the restaurant and pub. All beers are brewed in the back-of-the-house on a custom designed production line specific to craft beer. The microbrewery will roll out 10,000 barrels a year, with a capacity for 30,000. In the fall, Old Nation will introduce five brews to the retail market.
And then there's food, overseen by Chef Chris Blank and General Manager Paul Stewart of East Lansing's Crunchy's fame. Creative menu selections include dishes like sour kraut, beef and noodle entrees, vegetarian and vegan items, and, of course, fries.
"Everything you can think of that you'd like to eat with beer, we'll have," says Fritts. "It's all part of our central ethic: to take simple ingredients, use the techniques we've learned, and make special beer and food."
Fritts co-owns Old Nation with Rick Ghersi—a fellow brewer and business partner. And while Ghersi is a Detroit native, Fritts claims Dimondale as home and always longed to bring his stouts, pilsners and ales back to his Mid-Michigan stomping grounds.
Fritts earned his brewing pedigree from the Technical University of Berlin and through his work under master brewers at Webberville's Michigan Brewing. Relocating to Southeast Michigan, he applied his master brewing credentials to creating inspired craft beers through the Detroit Beer Company. Old Nation, he says, is a culmination of that experience, and a way he can carry on tradition through the next wave of Michigan brewers.
"We're brewers, we're tradesmen, and we're proud of our trade," says Fritts. "We're not trying to be rock stars. We're not trying to be on TV. We're not trying to sell anything but the best beer. While that's not a great sales pitch, it's what sets us apart from the pack."
Located at 1500 W. Grand River Ave., Old Nation features a 3,000-square foot restaurant and pub for 65 patrons, an outdoor seating area for 24, and a 22,000-square foot production area. The microbrewery and restaurant will employ 35 people including kitchen staff, servers, brewers and production personnel.
Source: Travis Fritts, Co-owner, Old Nation Brewing Company
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
Got a story idea for Capital Gains Development News? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Chiropractic center expands, adds disciplines for functional approach

Alisa Hoffman blended two disciplines, opened a well-equipped office, and began building a practice that has attended to the rehab, massage and physical therapy needs of Greater Lansing for three years.
Since May 2012, the Chiropractic Professional Center has grown from two to eight staff and added 2,000 square feet to the clinic at 3400 Pine Tree Road. Most of the growth, Hoffman says, took place in the last year, as word-of-mouth took hold of her unique, multi-disciplinary approach.
Hoffman learned her functional approach to chiropractic treatments at the New York Chiropractic College, and through several clinical rotations in upstate New York. Her team of chiropractors, massage therapists and physical therapists focus on how the body moves, applying gait analysis, compensation patterns and restriction to treat patients.
"Functional chiropractic rehab is essentially if you took chiro, massage and physical therapy and put it into one," Hoffman says. "My goal was to take my practice one step further and make it a one-stop shop for all treatments."
Hoffman says her appointments are longer than typical visits to the chiropractor, and involve more muscle work and stretching than traditional treatments. Techniques routinely used include Cox Flexion Distraction (for disc lesions), nerve impingements and facet arthropathies. She also employs traction to help decompress the spine, as well as the Graston Technique to help break down scar tissue and treat conditions related to soft tissue.
While her practice attends to most musculoskeletal issues like low back and neck pain, headaches, disc lesions, sciatica, and nerve root entrapments, her specialties lie in treating the lower extremities like hips, knees, ankles and feet, and shoulders. Hoffman says those specialties, combined with her functional approach, brings a lot of athletes through her doors, as well as people of all ages looking for pain relief.
Hoffman located her clinic in South Lansing to be near her hometown of Holt, and to be part of a larger medical office park. Plans are to add a fitness center and reflexologist to the mix of medical message, physical therapy, and chiropractic services in the coming year.
Source: Dr. Alisa Hoffman, Owner, Chiropractic Professional Center 
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
Got a story idea for Capital Gains Development News? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Whipped bakes up solution for new location

Randy Umfleet always looks to bake something masterful be it cookies, cupcakes or a specialty cake. So when he faced the prospect of moving, the owner of Whipped Bakery concocted a creative solution that could take the cake.
Since April, Umfleet has set up shop inside Roma Bakery Deli and Fine Foods after agreeing to relocate and make way for the Creole—Old Town's up and coming restaurant, bar and performance venue. Not wanting to lose momentum, Umfleet arranged through friends to keep baking and offering his delectable desserts through Roma's kitchen. He also began laying the groundwork for opening a new retail space at 1209 Turner, just across the street from the location where he had operated for about 13 months.
"Everything is going great," Umfleet says. "I just love working with Roma. They're just fantastic people."
Umfleet is referring to Mena and Sostine Castriciano—the owners of the long-standing Roma Bakery, now up for sale after nearly 50 years. Umfleet isn't ruling out the possibility of purchasing the bakery. But for now, he's simply baking up his confections in Roma's full kitchen, and selling them to customers through pre-order and pick-up.
Come July, Umfleet will open the doors on his recreated retail outlet in Old Town. At 1,000 square feet, the new space will be slightly larger than his previous store, and will seat about 50 people. The new Whipped will feature all new furniture and fixtures within a simple, urban atmosphere where customers can enjoy specialty bakery items, coffee drinks, juices and more. Umfleet says he will bake everything at Roma, then deliver each morning to the retail location.
"I'm just excited about the future of Whipped," says Umfleet as he reflects on the possibilities of buying Roma as well as his new Old Town digs. "The potential to have two locations is nothing but positive."
Source: Randy Umfleet, Owner, Whipped
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
Got a story idea for Capital Gains Development News? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Lansing Brewing Company on tap for fall

Beer lovers, pub fans, and folks looking to reclaim part of Lansing's heritage will find everything on tap when the Lansing Brewing Company reopens after a 100 year hiatus.
"This is just another step in making this city a fantastic place to live," says Sam Short, consultant with the Lansing Brewing Company.
Short is part of a team led by the Gillespie Group in bringing the only full-production craft brewery and distillery to the Capital City. Located in the heart of the Stadium District, Lansing Brewing Company will consist of a full-scale production facility for craft beers and spirits, as well as a pub and restaurant that serves progressive takes on classic comfort foods.
The original Lansing Brewing Company operated from 1898 to 1914, and sat on the corner of Turner and Clinton. The building was destroyed by fire in 1971, with On the Grand Condominiums rising from the site several decades later.
The new Lansing Brewing Company will occupy a renovated tool and die facility at 518 E. Shiawassee Street. The $1.5 million renovation is expected to be completed by late summer, with a public opening slated for fall. Jennifer Gillespie owns the brewery.
"We haven't had our own brewery for years, despite the fact that tons of other cities have been exploding with breweries," Short says. "This place will represent Lansing as a working city—a place where the working guy or woman can come and enjoy something that's made in your town for you."
The brewery will offer 10 beers, four spirits and two wines. Among the line-up will be the signature amber cream ale—a brew based on Lansing's signature beer produced and bottled at the original Lansing Brewing Company.
"It's a unique throwback beer," says Short. "No one in the nation brews an amber cream ale. We're reaching back into history, and going back to recipes that are time-tested over the century."
Lansing Brewing will employ about 75 people. Once renovated, the "industrial sheik" facility will feature a 150-seat restaurant, private event areas, and an outdoor garden and patio for up to 100 people. The facility will produce about 2,500 barrels in the first year, with a capacity for up to 5,000 barrels. The company plans to sell bottled brews through retailers.
Source: Sam Short, Consultant, Lansing Brewing Company
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
Got a story idea for Capital Gains Development News? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Hyatt Place Lansing brings stylish accommodations to The Heights

Visitors to Lansing have a new place to stay as the Hyatt Hotels opened its select service brand in Greater Lansing the first week of May.
Situated at the northern edge The Heights at Eastwood, the Hyatt Place Lansing combines style, innovation and 24/7 conveniences to create a modern guest experience. Spacious rooms average 500 square feet—about 100 to 125 square feet bigger than the typical hotel room—and feature "suite" amenities like a mini-frig, a cozy corner couch, cable TV and complimentary WiFi.
The Hyatt Place is the only Hyatt brand property in Mid-Michigan. While close to high-end shopping, restaurants, and nightlife, the property offers its own onsite food and beverage. The Gallery Kitchen features casual foods like sandwiches, burgers, flat bread and pizza, as well as a coffee and cocktail bar. Breakfast comes free with the guest stay and includes hot and cold selections like skillets, egg sandwiches, multi-grain breads and pastries, fresh fruits, yogurt, oatmeal, juices and coffee.
"Our goal is to make everyone comfortable while they're here," says Jennifer Moeckel, Hyatt Place Lansing Director of Sales. "We gear ourselves toward being stylish, innovative and built on 24-hour convenience."
The Hyatt Place targets business travelers during the week. On weekends, the focus shifts to casual visitors who come to the area for sports, arts and culture, or family or social activities.
"Our location can't be beat," Moeckel says. "Guests can walk to shopping and dining, and the stores are perfect for families, students and everyday travelers. As The Heights expands, we'll have an all-encompassing area with restaurants, movie theatres and entertainment that will make it all come together."
The six-story Hyatt Place Lansing features 125 guestrooms, and 2,000 square feet of meeting space for groups up to 100 people. An onsite shuttle can transport guests to destinations within a five-mile radius. The new hotel created six managerial positions and 34 hourly positions for a total of 40 jobs.
Source: Jennifer Moeckel, Director of  Sales, Hyatt Place Lansing/Eastwood Towne Center
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
Got a story idea for Capital Gains Development News? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Worldwide technology company makes home in downtown Lansing

An IT company with a global presence put down roots in Lansing by consolidating mid-Michigan operations in the newly renovated Knapp's Centre.
In mid-April, CGI cut the ribbon on their new 3,200-square foot office that's just blocks away from three key accounts with the State of Michigan. The location provides a hub for the more than 100 CGI employees working in Lansing on any given day, as well as a Michigan base for growth and outreach to other CGI clients across the state.
"It's important for us to be very near to our clients," says Jon Jasper, CGI account executive for state and local government for Michigan. "That's what differentiates us from others in the industry. We push hard to have that client proximity."
Founded in 1976, CGI has grown into the fifth largest independent IT and business process services company in the world. The Canadian-headquartered company has 68,000 professionals in 400 offices across 40 countries. The company provides business and IT consulting, systems integration services, application development and management, infrastructure services, and business process services for both government and industry. CGI is currently implementing the State's enterprise resource plan (ERP) system, Project SIGMA, and supporting Healthy Michigan.
"Our team loves the fact that downtown Lansing is so convenient and has access to so many restaurants," Jasper says. "There's also a real variety of things to do within walking distance for folks who travel here from out-of-town."
In addition to the three Lansing-based initiatives, CGI serves five additional accounts across Michigan.
Source: Jon Jasper, Account Executive for State and Local Government for Michigan, CGI
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
Got a story idea for Capital Gains Development News? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Ingham Health Plan moves to newer, brighter space

Ingham Health Plan is moving in late May to a newer facility within the same Zip code after being in the same location since its founding 17 years ago.
The health plan's new office at 3425 Belle Chase Way in South Lansing will provide the nonprofit company with 5,500-square feet to coordinate the program that provides access to low-cost healthcare for uninsured adults in Ingham County.
Ingham Health Plan was looking to reduce their operating expenses and upgrade their working environment by changing spaces. Working with CRBE-Martin, the company secured a space similar in size at a lower rental rate, and in an office park setting off a busy road.
"It's newer, brighter, with lots of windows," says health plan CEO Robin Reynolds. "It's also has a more efficient layout for our operations."
Reynolds says keeping the office on the bus line and in the same general vicinity as the previous S. Cedar Street location was important since the largely administrative office sometimes gets an occasional walk-in. Customers, she says, are typically served through neighborhood centers or other suitable off-site locations.
Founded in 1998, the Ingham Health Plan has helped more than 70,000 low-income, uninsured residents. Reynolds says the plan covers about 50 percent of the county's adult uninsured at any given time. On average, the plan serves 12,000 people annually—roughly 15 percent of the county's adult population. In January, the health plan added a new dental program to serve individuals without dental care who meet specific low-income eligibility requirements.
"We're essentially a stop gap for people who are in between care," says Reynolds. "We're here so people don't have to stop taking their medicines and can keep up with the medical care."
Reynolds projects that the health plan will evolve in different directions in the coming year as more individuals access insurance through the health care exchange. She anticipates about 4,000 uninsured will continue to need the plan's benefits, and that the company's 12 staff will turn their focus toward helping individuals understand and use the medical system.
"Just because insurance is provided doesn't mean people know how to use it," she says. "It's all about medical literacy."
Source: Robin Reynolds, executive director, Ingham Health Plan
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
Got a story idea for Capital Gains Development News? Email Ann Kammerer here.
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