LANSING (WWJ) — A yearlong controversy over the bland, pole-barn appearance of an expansion at a high-tech company in a Lansing neighborhood has apparently ended.

The Walnut Neighborhood Organization, the Lansing Economic Area Partnership and Niowave Inc. announced an agreement to enhance the appearance of the 14,000-square-foot addition on Niowave’s property, the former Walnut Street School in Lansing.

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Neighbors said they were concerned that the new structure did not fit the aesthetics of the surrounding area and asked the company to take steps to address the situation through significant changes to the appearance of the building.

The compromise agreement includes changes to the building façade, as well as landscaping elements to improve the overall appearance of the site. Niowave will invest approximately $120,500 in the improvements, according to Niowave CFO Mark Sinila. The Lansing Brownfield Authority, which is managed by LEAP, will also contribute $123,600 from its local site remediation revolving fund.

Niowave COO Jerry Hollister said the improvements will include earth-toned stucco, brick and window frames, as well as landscaping.

Niowave builds particle accelerator parts and systems for the physics research industry. Niowave particle accelerator components are also used in advanced medicine, including cancer therapy, and in advanced weapons systems in the defense industry. The company is hiring accelerator physicists, engineers in a variety of disciplines including chemical, electrical, mechanical and nuclear, CAD designers, machininsts and technicians.

The company’s name comes from its initial products — particle accelerator chambers made of niobium, a rare metal that becomes a superconductor at a relatively high 9 degrees above absolute zero.

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Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero praised Niowave’s leadership team, led by president Terry Grimm, along with WNO president Rina Risper, and neighborhood residents Mary Elaine Keiner and Dale Schrader, who led the negotiations on behalf of the neighborhood, and Karl Dorshimer and Steve Willobee of LEAP for mediating the dialogue between all parties.

“I am grateful to LEAP for their hard work and to Niowave and the Walnut Neighborhood Organization for their leadership,” Bernero said. “This agreement fixes the Niowave building according to the neighbors’ desired outcome and allows for Niowave’s success to continue in Lansing. We are fortunate indeed to have Niowave working and growing in Lansing.”

Added Niowave president Grimm: “We deeply value our relationship with the City of Lansing and the Walnut Neighborhood Organization. Niowave is pleased with the outcome and the opportunity to further invest in the neighborhood.”

And Risper, president of the neighborhood organization, added: “We support the proposed façade improvements and application for a tax incentive. We appreciate the work of the neighbors, LEAP, and the support of other neighborhood organizations to make this opportunity possible.”

“After a year of intense LEAP-led negotiations between Niowave and Walnut Neighborhood Organization, LEAP is pleased to announce an agreement between the two parties,” said Bob Trezise, president and CEO of LEAP. “Once again, this agreement shows the power of the Lansing community to solve problems and build for the future.”

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