Luxury apartments open but slow to rent

Even from the road, it’s easy to see that there’s a lot of activity at the Red Cedar development site near East Michigan Avenue in Lansing.

The final element of the $256 million project to open is the Gateway Lofts, a 181-unit luxury apartment complex offering bachelor, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units.

The apartments, which start at $1,150 per month for a studio, were completed earlier this year and began renting in February.

But two months later, Gateway Lofts is about 30% occupancy, with 51 of 181 units rented. By comparison, student apartments on the same site were almost fully let in the first month, with all but three of the 792 beds occupied.

“We have a good mix of backgrounds – younger residents, middle-aged, some older,” said executive project manager Christopher Stralkowski. “It’s a nice multi-generational mix. It’s like our own little village.”

Stralkowski attributes the slow start in part to visibility. Driving past the site, it can be difficult to see that apartments are being rented due to ongoing construction at hotels and other commercial spaces on the site.

“We had to put up rental signs to remind everyone that we rent, we operate,” he said. “It’s a big development, so it’s a bit daunting.”

The new apartments are one of three housing complexes planned for the site. University Edge, the 225-unit student complex that opened last fall, is at full capacity and already 86% leased for the upcoming school year.

Continued: Red Cedar development update: full student apartments, hotels and restaurants underway

The third complex – senior housing – is scheduled to open in July and will include assisted memory care and independent living. There will be 127 units in total and the apartments are already for rent.

Restaurants and commerce take shape

The Red Cedar development will also include two hotels, retail stores and several restaurants, many of which are already under construction.

A restaurant should open at the end of the summer. The Old Bag of Nails Pub, a Columbus-based bar restaurant chain, will open its first Michigan location at the site.

“It’s going to overlook the park and have a nice outdoor patio,” Stralkowski said. “They’re going to have a cornhole area. It’s going to be really cool.”

A 5,000 square foot Italian restaurant will also take up residence in the AC Marriot hotel which will open in Red Cedar in late summer 2023.

Meanwhile, commercial spaces are filling up. Hooked, a bookstore, café and wine bar, will open in the coming months. A yoga studio and grocery store are also planned.

Continued: MSU faculty to open bookstore, cafe and wine bar in addition to independent bookstores in the area

Apartment hunters and commercial developers were attracted by the site’s location and the quality of the development, Stralkowski said. Other nearby construction, such as the redevelopment of the former Sears property at 3131 E. Michigan Ave. by the Gillespie Group, draw similar attention to the region.

Continued: What will happen to the former Sears property of Lansing? Think big, says developer Pat Gillespie

“We talked about having these two developments as bookends coming and going from East Lansing to Lansing and making a statement,” he said.

Stralkowski attributed the project’s success so far to the strength of partnerships with the surrounding neighborhood, the city, Michigan State University and the state.

“Anyone can have a great idea or a cool concept,” he said. “That’s how you execute that idea. Our goal was a transformation project, and we believe we’ve been successful in taking an underutilized, fallow golf course…and turning it into a mixed-use development of $260 million that anyone can claim as their own.”

Speaking about the project’s progress last fall, Lansing Mayor Andy Schor said the continued investment is helping “keep Lansing moving forward.”

While some may find the construction on the site difficult to navigate, Stralkowski said it’s evidence of exciting growth in the area.

“Glad to get to navigate some cool stuff that’s being built,” he said. “It’s not ready yet, but it will be, and when it’s fully functional and 100% built, the site will not only look good, but it will work and hopefully be a big hit for the community. region.”

Contact reporter Elena Durnbaugh at (517) 231-9501 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @ElenaDurnbaugh.