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Michigan State trustee, partners reignite plans to develop former golf course near campus
backed in part by Michigan State University Trustee Joel Ferguson, is headed to city officials for consideration next week. Ferguson, who runs Ferguson Development Group, and Frank Kass of Columbus-based development company Continental Real Estate ...
By Lauren Gibbons
A longstanding proposal to redevelop a former golf course along Michigan Avenue in Lansing, backed in part by Michigan State University Trustee Joel Ferguson, is headed to city officials for consideration next week.
Ferguson, who runs Ferguson Development Group, and Frank Kass of Columbus-based development company Continental Real Estate, initially partnered to develop the former Red Cedar Golf Course property in 2013, and entered into a purchase and redevelopment agreement with the city of Lansing in November 2014.
At a Lansing City Council meeting Feb26, the developers will present a $242 million proposal that asks for $10.7 million in general obligation bonds for public infrastructure upgrades they say would be paid for by a brownfield plan collected from property taxes on the site.
Under the plan put forward, the developers would pay the city of Lansing $2.2 million for about 35.57 acres of land.
An additional section of the land, about 19.9 acres' worth, would be retained by the city for use as a park, said Victoria Meadows, the marketing, communications and talent director for the Lansing Economic Area Partnership.
Partnership announced to develop former Red Cedar golf course on Lansing/East Lansing border
In a statement, Kass said they're excited to be taking a step forward with the Red Cedar development project and said "we're going to build something amazing that the region has not seen before."
Ferguson was contacted for comment after the announcement, but did not return a phone call from MLive.
Voters granted the city permission to sell the vacant Red Cedar property - most of which sits on a flood plain along Michigan Avenue and Clippert in Lansing - in 2011 and 2012One end of the property is nearly adjacent to the Brody Hall complex on Michigan State University's campus.
According to the updated development agreement as proposed, the project as proposed would include two hotels, at least 40,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, an assisted living facility and student and non-student housing.
The student housing portion of the property would house at least 1,248 beds, according to the plan, and non-student housing would consist of 55 one-bedroom units and 115 two-bedroom units.
Former Red Cedar Golf Course to become 'world-class global village'
Lansing Mayor Andy Schor said in a statement the proposal would serve the dual purpose of providing a commercial entrance to Lansing via Michigan avenue and bridging the gap between Lansing and East Lansing.
To move ahead, the plan must get approval from the Lansing City Council, as well as the Lansing Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
Ferguson has faced criticism for his past work on the projectDevelopers Christopher and Leo Jerome filed a federal lawsuit in 2016 alleging that Ferguson, former Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero and others have engaged in racketeering - rigging bids, bribery and extortion - culminating in Ferguson taking the project from the Jeromes.
At the time of the lawsuit's initial filing, Ferguson told MLive there wasn't any proof of the allegations: "It's just guilt by accumulation."
Joel Ferguson, Virg Bernero accused of racketeering in Red Cedar Renaissance Project: Lawsuit
Ferguson is also vice chairman of MSU's Board of Trustees, and recently had to apologize for comments he made regarding the widespread sexual abuse case involving former MSU doctor Larry Nassar.
Victims of Nassar's sexual abuse were furious when Ferguson referred to the situation as "that Nassar thing" on a sports radio talk show and steadfastly supported MSU President Lou Anna Simon until her resignation, noting her work fundraising and supporting major developments to the Breslin Center, the school's basketball arena.
Despite calls for his resignation and the resignation of other members of the board over the Nassar case, Ferguson has said he plans to continue on as a trustee.
Ferguson told reporters in late January that he can't solve a problem without admitting to a problem, noting "one of the problems I had to solve was me." He said it was a mistake to not put the emphasis on survivors from the getgo, and said he's been talking with student leaders in an attempt to make things right.
"When I hear what people are saying, I want to turn around and do better," Ferguson said.
MSU Trustee Joel Ferguson: Simon's departure 'not going to happen'
Real estate development plan for Red Cedar property near MSU campus by MLive.com on Scribd
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