Mutual Building Renovation Shines In Downtown Lansing

This week the Christman Company, which specializes in renovating historically significant buildings, will unveil its $12 million renovation of the 60,000-square foot Mutual Building in Downtown Lansing to the public.

According to excerpts from the article:

For the past 11 months, the 60,000-square-foot former headquarters of Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Co., on the east side of Capitol between Allegan and Ionia streets, has undergone a top-to-bottom-plus makeover by the Lansing-based design and construction giant Christman Co., which will use the top three floors as its new headquarters.

An airy atrium connects the Mutual Building’s 1928 wings after the Christman Co.’s $12 million renovation

The stylish, ergonomic, green-friendly rehab job is all the more dramatic for its stealth. Because the building, which sat empty for several years, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, its stern skirt of limestone and brick, along with a host of irreplaceable Art Deco touches, remains intact.

Behind the façade, however, floats a transparent back-alley atrium where designers sit at conference tables and hover over the old bricks like time travelers.

Steve Roznowski, Christman’s president and CEO, can’t stop climbing to the top of the building and swiveling his chair, because the design team also frosted the building with an airy “five-and-a-halfth” floor — a corporate aerie completely invisible from street level.

Putting on his business face, Roznowski explained that company planners projected the space needed for the firm’s 60 Lansing employees as “more than two floors, but not quite three floors.” (Christman has about 100 more employees working from four regional offices in Michigan and one in Virginia.)

Then Roznowski gave the real reason. “The cool factor,” he grinned as he swiveled. “Wouldn’t it be neat to have floor-to-ceiling glass conference space up there? We knew anything we did up here would be supercool.”

Another quarter-turn, and Roznowski surveyed the city like “The Simpsons’” Mr. Burns.

“There’s Christman buildings everywhere you look,” he said. (“Excellent, Smithers.”) The Capitol dome itself, meticulously restored by a huge Christman-led team in the ‘90s, was the most conspicuous.

“It’s an inspiring view,” he crowed. “I’m beginning to think bigger.”

Read the entire article here.

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