With an up or down action anticipated next week, the Lansing City Council Thursday got one last look at a proposed benefit district in the city’s north end.
With an up or down action anticipated next week, the Lansing City Council Thursday got one last look at a proposed benefit district in the city’s north end. The petition for the district was submitted by developers Dan Carr and Rick Baier. They have asked the city to help them make improvements to the Eisenhower Crossing site — upgrades to the sanitary sewer and the extension of Kane Drive to DeSoto Road — to get the land ready for a roughly $25 million development that is preliminarily planned in two phases. Nolan Sunderman, the city’s economic development director, said talks have been ongoing with the developers in between three different work sessions on the matter. “It kind of continues to evolve,” he said. Most recently, he said the costs for the city’s share of the improvements decreased by about $60,000. Lansing’s share of the costs to extend Kane Drive is now about $250,000, while its share of the costs for the sanitary sewer upgrade will be about $200,000. In total the city would, under the benefit district, bear roughly 47 percent of the total project costs, with the developers paying the remaining 52 percent. To fund the improvements, the city will first issue temporary notes, then bonds to be paid back over 15 years. But before next week, Mayor Ken Bernard said he wanted to know when the city would issue the bonds. Timothy Klink, an attorney for the developers, said his clients and city staff seemed to have come to some agreement on that. “A good time to draw that line as to when the city would be responsible to draw those bonds would be when the building permits were pulled for the property,” he said. “By that point, the developer will have obviously spent quite a bit of money on design and be pretty invested in the project.” Bernard also asked about when the city could expect to see construction begin. “I spoke to my clients today,” Klink said. “They have what they believe is a real buyer for the property right now, it’s a senior living developer.” Bernard said the city had heard that before, though Klink said he understands that this potential buyer is ready to negotiate a contract, provided the utility question is resolved. Councilman Don Studnicka also wanted assurances. “Where in this process that you just described do we get an agreement — and we get it in writing — that they’re going to do what they say they’re going to do and we’re going to do what we say we’re going to do?” he asked. Public Works Director John Young said the developers have already signed a preliminary development plan and the council would have to approve a final development plan — all before the bonds are issued. Councilwoman Andi Pawlowski said she was also concerned with making sure that the buildings are built. Councilman Tony McNeill said he wanted to know the bottom line. “I just want to see the mill,” he said. With some back-of-the-envelope math, using $450,000 paid back over 15 years at 1.06 percent interest, Pawlowski figured annual debt payments of $31,800. Bernard said that would be roughly half of a mill.