LANSING — A city that turned an eyesore power station into an insurance company headquarters obviously has a knack for the unlikely, if not the impossible.
Friday, city officials announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has approved $5.9 million in Community Development Block Grant funds to redevelop the historic Knapps Centre in downtown Lansing, which is the last piece of the financing package necessary for the $36 million Knapps restoration project to succeed.
The project will create an estimated 200 new jobs in downtown Lansing.
“I want to thank the Eyde Co. for their vision and tenacity in restoring the Knapps building and creating jobs in the city of Lansing,” said Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero. “This is an expression of great confidence in the city and region and shows that when we all pull together we can accomplish remarkable things. Knapps has a special place in the hearts of many area residents, and now will once again be part of a bustling downtown economy.”
The Knapps Centre project will include 22 residential units on the top floor and retail space on the ground floor. Eyde Co. will also move its headquarters into the building. The Lansing Economic Development Corp. also plans to build an incubator within the building generating fashion industry jobs and business creation. The Runway fashion and design incubator, currently being developed by the Lansing Economic Area Partnership on behalf of the LEDC, will be housed on the first floor and mezzanine levels of the former department store.
“This is another testament to the power of a public-private partnership in pulling off what everyone said was impossible,” said Mark Clouse, Eyde Co. CFO and general counsel. “We are going to restore Knapps to its iconic Art Deco majesty and bring jobs to the whole city block. I want to thank Mayor Bernero and his entire economic development team for helping us make it happen.”
“This project shows that momentum continues and there is nothing we cannot do together,” added Bob Trezise, president and CEO of LEAP. “We continue to compete globally and this project demonstrates again that we are a truly global player. Congratulations to our economic development team, especially Karl Dorshimer for his packaging expertise with this project.”
While the project is a go, there are final financial closings that must occur in late October between the developer and financiers. There are no anticipated issues with this and construction will begin almost immediately with completion at 12 to 18 months away.
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