Collaboration Key to Success of $276 Million Red Cedar Golf Course Redevelopment
The $276 million global village planned for Lansing’s abandoned Red Cedar Golf Course will be one of the most challenging development projects attempted in Mid-Michigan.
The construction site is below the Red Cedar flood plane. It must be built in a way that complements federally mandated improvements to the Montgomery Drain, a $10 million to $15 million or more project. The city wants it to include parks and trails, top-flight retailing, a hotel, a medical facility, high value market-rate housing and student housing. Developers haven’t yet determined a schedule for the project. They say that it could be completed in three or four years, depending on government approvals and extensive site work required for getting the site buildable.
The City of Lansing and the developers will split the cost of site work, estimated at $76 million, with the city’s capped at $38 million. The other $200 million will come from private sources. Lansing will set aside 22 acres of the vacant golf course property for parkland. And some of the property is being reserved for a medical facility, which Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero has suggested will be affiliated with Sparrow Hospital.
Announcing the agreement to proceed with the project, Bernero said there has been nothing in Lansing’s history to match the scale and ambition of this project. “Today we begin the next leg of a remarkable journey that will change the face of the Michigan avenue corridor forever,” Bernero said, promising that the Red Cedar Renaissance will be a “world-class global village.”
Above all, it will be a team project, with some familiar players and some new to the area. Here is how city officials and developers have set their starting line up.
City of Lansing
Bernero sees the Red Cedar Renaissance as a transformative project for the city. He proposed the sale of the golf course and lobbied voters to approve it. And along with the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) bargained hard to ensure that this is a “world-class” development.
Along with city officials, LEAP has anchored the government side of negotiations on the project. When announcing the agreement, the developers referred to LEAP President and CEO Bob Trezise as a “pain in the neck.” Trezise views this as a compliment. Negotiations were heated enough at times that participants walked out of meetings.
Ingham County Drain Commission
The Red Cedar project will be aligned with improvements required for the Montgomery Drain which extends from the river, through Frandor and points north. Drain Commissioner Pat Lindemann will work closely with the developers and city to channel water runoff in a creative way that will also clean the river.
This is a partnership formed by Lansing developer Joel Ferguson and Frank Koss, chairman of the Ohio-based Continental Real Estate Companies, to develop the Red Cedar site. Ferguson has an extensive background developing local projects like the Michigan State Police Headquarters and Capital Commons in downtown Lansing, condominiums, senior and multi-family housing and other commercial buildings. Continental operates on a national scale and has experience in all phases of development: due diligence, site planning, financing, design, construction, leasing, property management and sales.
The Lansing based construction giant will handle infrastructure and construction of plinths, which are concrete piers that will raise Red Cedar buildings above the river’s flood plain, which extends north across Michigan Avenue. The company has a national footprint building schools, housing, government buildings, medical facilities, arenas and other large projects. It worked with Ferguson on the State Police Headquarters, built the FireKeepers Casino in Battle Creek and Lansing Community College’s M-TEC & Technical Training facility, among other projects.
Hobbs + Black Architects
James Sharba and Bob Hoida of Lansing will work on infrastructure and plinth design and construction, according to Ferguson Development, which has used the firm on other projects.
It is the lead financial institution on the project.
Core to the redevelopment of Red Cedar is housing: professional, market rate and lifestyle. Lifestyle Communities, based in Columbus, Ohio, and with an established relationship with Continental, will handle this aspect of the project. The company has residential communities in Columbus, Ohio; Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky; and in Nashville, Tennessee.
This company, based in Raleigh, North Carolina, will take the lead in hotel development. Ferguson has announced an agreement with Hyatt for a full service hotel at the site. Concord already operates Hyatt properties in Michigan.
LSG Engineers & Surveyors
Based in Lansing, it will handle civil engineering at the Red Cedar site. The company has worked closely with local, county and state agencies.
E.T. Mackenzie Company
This Grand Ledge company will provide excavation and earth moving. It will be a significant part of the project. The company has worked on projects throughout the United States. It was responsible for the Capitol Loop project in downtown Lansing.