Redevelopment targets two blighted properties downtown Lansing

The former home of Belen Floral is back in bloom as a developer joins the City of Lansing and the Lansing Economic Area Partnership in envisioning a renovation of the once blighted properties.


The Belen Buildings project will involve the complete rehabilitation of the functionally obsolete buildings at 513 and 519 W. Ionia St. The two 1920s era buildings were the longtime home of Lucile Belen's flower shop—and once anchored the downtown neighborhood a few blocks west of the Capitol building. Belen was former Lansing City Council member, businesswoman, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and member of the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame. She passed away at age 97 in 2010.


Vesta Builders has proposed redeveloping the two, two-story buildings into 4,500- square feet of office and retail space on the first floor. The second floor will offer six market-rate residential units.


"The improvements we'll be making will hold true to the historical standards of the 1920s," says Project Developer Scott Schmidt of Vesta Builders. "We'll be enhancing the site with seating areas and rain gardens to increase community green space in the neighborhood."


Schmidt has asked the City of Lansing for a brownfield incentive which would reimburse the developer about $220,420 over the next 19 years. Vesta Builders will fund the costs up front as part of the overall project cost, with reimbursement coming from future increases in property taxes. Developers expect to complete the project by June 2018 once approved by the Lansing City Council and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.


"LEAP is excited to be working with Vesta Builders and the City of Lansing to refresh the economic impact of a blight area right in the heart of the State—downtown Lansing," says Bob Trezise, president and CEO of LEAP. "The Belen Buildings project will re-activate a space in the downtown neighborhood with new jobs, new residential options, and new retail to be enjoyed by the neighborhood and visitors alike."


The Belen Buildings project will cost about $1.3 million and will create 15 to 20 temporary construction jobs and four to six new permanent jobs.


Source: Victoria Meadows, Marketing and Communications, LEAP
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

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