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Downtown : Development News

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Tripp Auto to open 1,600 sq ft downtown location, add three jobs

The Jackson-based Tripp Auto Shop has only had a Lansing presence since 2010, but is already finding a place in the community. The family-owned business that participates in a variety of Lansing-area cultural events is now expanding its footprint locally with a new office in Downtown Lansing
“The new location will be like a concierge,” says owner Phil Tripp. “We’ll do estimates and detailing there, and then bring vehicles out to our Main Street location for repairs.”
The 1,600 square foot location will open next week with three employees and will work in conjunction with the 18,000 square foot Tripp Auto Repair location on West Main. Tripp says the new office will help further the company’s goals of giving exemplary service to their customers. 
“Lansing has half a dozen really good body shops,” says Tripp. “It’s about building relationships, and that’s something you have to prove to people. That’s how we built our Jackson store, one customer at a time.” 
Tripp says his family’s business specializes in guiding people through the process of paperwork and policies following an accident. 
Tripp’s Auto Shop first opened in Jackson in 1988 and now employs about 40 workers between their Jackson and Lansing locations. 

Los Tres Amigos to open in 3,800 sq ft downtown location, add up to 12 jobs

Ten years ago, Arnulfo Ramirez worked in the kitchen of a Los Tres Amigos restaurant. Today, he owns 12 restaurants, including the newest Los Tres Amigos location set to open soon in Downtown Lansing
“People know Los Tres Amigos, and really appreciate us in Lansing,” says Ramirez. “I decided to come downtown, and I’ve been working for a couple of years to find the right spot.” 
The new, 3,800 square foot downtown eatery will employ 10 to 12 workers. Ramirez says he plans to create an authentic Mexican atmosphere in the restaurant to give downtown workers and students a fun escape during the lunch breaks or after work. 
“I want people to feel like they are in a spot in Mexico,” Ramirez says. “All the furniture is coming from Mexico, and we’ll try to make it feel tropical.”
Ramirez hopes to open the doors to the new Los Tres Amigos in late August. 

New BIGGBY store to open in 2,200 sq ft Stadium District location

Coffee lovers who grew accustomed to getting their caffeine fix on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Larch Street when Great Lakes Coffee and Chocolate was located there will soon be able to resume their routine – with a very familiar brand of joe. 
BIGGBY franchisees and brothers Mohamed and Fathy Shetiah will open their 22nd location in the 2,200 square foot space on the ground floor of The Stadium District building. The Shetiahs own BIGGBY stores in Lansing, Kalamazoo, Ann Arbor and Toledo.   
“When the space became available, they jumped on the opportunity,” says Katie Koerner, public relations assistant for BIGGBY COFFEE. “The Lansing area is BIGGBY country and I think people really respond positively to supporting homegrown businesses like BIGGBY.”
No opening date has yet been set for the new BIGGBY location and renovations will take place on the site. Koerner estimates the store will open in the fall, likely in October. Upon opening it will employ 12-15 new employees and feature a drive thru and free Wi-Fi.
“Just like our other locations in the area,” says Koerner, “it’s close to the fun attractions in downtown Lansing and makes a nice stop for those who work downtown.”
Koerner also notes that the new BIGGBY will be located just a block away from Paramount Coffee, the roaster of all BIGGBY’s coffee varieties.

Michigan Ave salon doubles size, to add three jobs and local art

The new and expanded location of Rubie’s Paradise Salon is about more than just hair. 
“We just really like to support our community,” says owner Beth Sanford. “It’s fun to mix it up a little bit.”
The new, 900 square foot location of Rubie’s Paradise Salon will display and sell local art, which will rotate monthly. It will also feature an additional room that will be utilized for additional services. 
“We were looking around for a bigger space and with all the dispensaries that have closed, there were a million places on Michigan Avenue,” says Sanford. “It took quite awhile to find the proper place, but we found the place that we’re in and it’s perfect.”
Rubie’s made the move in mid-May, and is going strong enough already that Sanford is looking to hire two to three more stylists. Currently, three full and one part-time stylist are employed there. 
“We have more clients than our stylists have time right now,” Sanford says. “Things are going quite well.” 
The new Rubie’s location is just two blocks away for Sanford’s original space on Michigan Avenue, but is more than twice the size. 

Eric's Specialty Foods opens in Lansing City Market

Lansing City Market visitors with a hankering for snack foods now have a new source in Eric’s Specialty Foods. The new market business sells baked goods, gluten free items and gift baskets, but their specialty is their special brand of popcorn. 
“It’s not patented yet, but we’re going to patent it,” says David Schaberg, father of Eric’s Specialty Foods founder Eric Schaberg. “We’ve been doing fundraisers with our flavored popcorn. It’s a specialty you won’t find elsewhere.”
Schaberg explains that the secret to their popcorn is that rather than being flavored with salt that comes off on your fingers, their flavors are glazed onto the popcorn. 
“Because we cook with a glaze, the cheese never comes off,” he says.
The Schabergs have been operating Eric’s Specialty Foods for nearly two years, and are looking forward to their new, 150-square foot home in the Lansing City Market. It all started, Schaberg says, because of their family’s fondness for popcorn.
“It’s been for the love of the corn more than anything,” he says. “We couldn’t find what we wanted locally, and we thought we had a good idea of how to make it. As it’s developed, we were right on that.” 
Eric’s Specialty Foods places a special focus on Michigan-made products and uses all of the in-state ingredients possible in their foods. The new location celebrated its grand opening at the market last week. 

Davenport to invest $10M in downtown expansion, announces Cooley Law partnership

When thinking of higher education in Greater Lansing, one traditionally thinks about the big school on the banks of the Red Cedar. Downtown Lansing, however, is quickly growing into a college hub itself. Not long after Lansing Community College began their expansion, Davenport University announced the purchase of the 55,000 square foot, nine-story Fifth Third Bank building that will house the growing school. The $10 million investment is being made as Davenport expects enrollment to grow from 800 to 2,000 students over the next few years. 
“The way the old facility was laid out, it was difficult to do some of the kinds of programs we wanted to do,” says Davenport University President Richard Pappas of the move that will add about 20,000 square feet to the school’s downtown footprint. “We intend to offer some new degree options for students.”
Work on the renovation project scheduled for completion in time for fall of 2013. 
Also, a new partnership between the university and Cooley Law School will offer a dual Juris Doctor and MBA degree. The new program will begin this fall on both school’s Lansing campuses.
“This will provide more and more opportunities for student in the Lansing area,” says Pappas. “We’re moving away from associate degrees, and most of our growth has been with master’s programs.”

Sweet Seasons Orchard doubles space in Lansing City Market

One of Lansing City Market’s vendors is expanding, allowing the unique seller of grains, beans, soup mixes and more to offer a growing variety of goods. 
“It will double my space,” says Nan Jasinowski of Sweet Seasons Orchards. “I’ve got lots of products, so we need to grow.”
According to Jasinowski, the additional room will give the businesses a chance to expand their varieties of flours, grains and beans. She also hopes to grow her gluten free offerings. New to the Sweet Seasons Orchard will be the Soulful Earth Herbals line of personal care products. 
“I hope to get into some other things,” says Jasinowski, “but we’re ramping up for a big season now. We do the orchard thing, so we’re about to be very busy.”
In addition to a permanent location at the Lansing City Market, Jasinowski and her family operate Sweet Seasons Orchard near Concord and participate in weekly farmer’s markets around the region. 
Jasinowski will begin to expand her Lansing location on July 1. 

A new look comes to downtown with 3,800 square foot Eden Rock

A highly visible change came to the 200-block of Washington Square in Downtown Lansing earlier this spring when the Wild Beaver Saloon transformed into a whole new kind of bar. 
“It was operated and very successful for two years, almost to the date,” says Jerome Abood of Wild Beaver Saloon. “We closed it and remodeled the interior and exterior, and created an entirely new concept called Eden Rock. Our decision to close the Wild Beaver and convert to Eden Rock was all positive.”
The physical renovations include a cool white and blue exterior, classy outdoor seating and retractable glass doors.
“Like most of these buildings, being over 100 years old, they all offer so much charisma and charm,” says Abood. “From the beginning, our designs always wanted these bold architectural traits to be included as much as possible into the design to enhance the effect and feel of the casual diner or late night entertainment energy.  
Eden Rock first opened over Memorial Day with weekend hours, and the 3,800 square foot bar and restaurant is now open six days a week. The new menu features organic, homemade recipes such as pizza, pasta dishes, nachos, tacos, fresh-made salsa, bean and cheese dips.
“The menu is to complement the interior,” says Abood, “fresh and eclectic, yet comfortable and familiar.”
Eden Rock currently employs 20 workers. Abood plans to allow Eden Rock to continue to grow and evolve while serving the Downtown Lansing market. 

LCC to develop gateway to Downtown Lansing and college

Lansing Community College students and Downtown Lansing visitors will soon be welcomed into the city center by a new gateway on the corner of Saginaw Street and North Capital. Though design plans are still forthcoming, the area is intended to include welcome signage and greenspace.
“LCC is an important part of the downtown community and has made a commitment to making the campus an attractive and safe environment for its students, staff, faculty and visitors,” says Director of Public Affairs for LCC, Ellen Jones. “Much has been done in the past few years to fulfill that commitment.”
Thus far, LCC has invested $400,000 on the project by purchasing three homes. The college is offering to sell the houses for relocation with a minimum bid of one dollar. A request for proposal will be issued shortly. 
“If they don’t sell, we will look at salvage opportunities for contents of the houses,” says Jones. “After that, if the structures remain, we will demolish them.”
LCC hopes the project will improve the aesthetics and walkability of the area, in keeping with the college’s work to improve their property along Saginaw in conjunction with the Saginaw Corridor Improvement Authority. Other beautification projects by LCC include planting trees along the south side of Saginaw and regular cleanup of Durant Park.
“The President sees the south side of the Saginaw-Capitol intersection as an opportunity to create the North gateway to the campus, downtown and the downtown neighborhood,” says Jones, “and believes it will be an asset to the neighborhood and the Saginaw corridor.”

New downtown gallery to showcase original art, custom furniture

With all the new housing options in and on the way to downtown, it’s only appropriate that residents will soon be able to outfit their homes with custom-designed furniture and art from a business right in their neighborhood. La Fille is the new gallery and design studio of artist Tiffany Klein opening in the former Mills Supply Building at 336 E. Michigan Ave. 
The gallery will feature Klein’s own artwork, wall finishes, designer fabrics and American-made Vanguard Furniture. 
“She had been in Old Town for the last three years in the old furniture warehouse, but she outgrew the space,” says Jill Rademacher of Klein Cabinets who is working with Klein on the new gallery. “She started doing bigger pieces of art, and needed more space. That’s when she had the bug to start the furniture line. She started doing finishes on the furniture itself.”
Klein’s carved concrete artwork has been featured in Grand Rapids’ ArtPrize.
La Fille will open to the public on June 22 after a June 21 ribbon cutting. The high-end art and furnishings will be paired with an “urban line” of furniture that is more affordable. Klein will also lease space in the building to two other artists. In addition to Klein and Rademacher, La Fille will eventually employ a gallery manager. 

Emergent BioSolutions to invest $108M in facilities, adds 50 jobs

Being the nation’s only producer of the anthrax vaccine has made Lansing’s Emergent BioSolutions a big deal for years. Soon, a $108 million investment will make the company’s campus on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard look like a big deal too. 

The first phase of improvements will come in the form of a $9.6 million, 32,000-square foot, three-story administration building including offices, conference rooms and an employee workout facility that will become the new face of company. 

“This building will be a very aesthetically pleasing gateway to our campus” says Jessi Wortley, communications specialist for Emergent BioSolutions. “We are very excited.” 

Aesthetics aren’t the primary motivation for the improvements, however. A five-year plan will bring the total investment up to $108 million and will include such developments as new warehouse space and a new science building, enough to allow the company’s production of the anthrax vaccine to double.

“We’ve run out room,” says Wortley. “The company has been growing so rapidly, we’re up over 400 employees at our facilities here in Lansing.”

Approximately 50 of those employees have been added over the past year, and Wortley expects the number of new jobs to continue to grow over the next year. 

Construction on the new administration building is pending the approval of a brownfield tax credit approval. According to Wortley, Emergent BioSolutions hopes to begin work on the facility in June. 

Aladdin's to add Downtown Lansing location, 12 jobs

In his 15 years of owning Aladdin’s Restaurant in Frandor, Ali Elbast noticed a pattern in his lunch crowd. 
“Most of our customers for lunch come from downtown,” he says. “So we decided we’ll come to them.”
That’s exactly what the new Aladdin’s Express on Washington Square will do when it opens in mid-May. The 2,400-square foot restaurant will serve fast, fresh meals to downtown diners, including soups, salads and both chicken and beef on a shawarma grill. 
“We are going to have a big variety of vegetarian options on the menu,” says Elbast, “and also a meat menu.” 
Aladdin’s Express will also serve fresh breads and pies in their bakery, utilizing the ovens from the pizza business formerly at that location. The restaurant will seat 88 diners and offer take out. Elbast will hire 12 employees to open the new restaurant. After opening Aladdin’s Express with his sister, Elbast hopes to next open a Lansing-area bakery.

LCC to begin $5.3M in renovations to accomodate growing programs

Some Lansing Community College programs have been growing, and the college is now investing $5.3 million in growing their facilities to keep up. The plans include the renovation of the hangar at Mason Jewett Field, work on the school’s West Campus building and the addition of four classrooms to the Mackinaw Building. 
LCC purchased the general aviation hanger last year and will now be investing $2.1 million to convert it into a teaching space. 
“It will include classroom and laboratory facilities for the aviation program,” says, Chris Strugar-Fritsch, the executive director of LCC’s Administrative Services Division. “We’ll have six classrooms and a lab.”
The $1.4 million renovations to the Mackinaw Building will involve a rearrangement of walls and rooms within the building’s current footprint to make way for four new classrooms. 
“The Mackinaw Building that where the collage started an early collage program this past fall,” says Strugar-Fritsch. “We have another cohort of 90 student coming in this fall, so we need to renovated the building to accommodate the extra students.”
Work on the facilities is projected to begin late May or in early June. Strugar-Frisch hopes to have work on the Mackinaw Building completed by the fall and expects the hanger renovation to continue until next spring. The growing facilities, he says, is a positive sign of the college’s growth as an organization. 
“The renovation will allow us to grow the programs based in the demand to meet student needs,” Strugar-Frisch says, “and to support successful workforce development.”

The Barberrettes expands with new Coterie Purlieu spa, adds three jobs

Felix Compos opened The Barberrettes in Downtown Lansing last summer, and the barbershop has become so successful, that he’s already expanding. Compos has taken over the 2,500 square foot space next door to open Coterie Purlieu, a day spa.

“We needed to expand services downtown,” says Compos. “We’re excited. We have other services we’re going to be offering soon.”

Since the spa’s soft opening Coterie Purlieu has offered manicures, pedicures and massage therapy. Soon, tanning and permanent makeup services will be added to the list. Though the spa has yet to announce its opening, some of Compos three new employees are already booking up.

“We do a broad variety of things,” says Compos. “We’re also going to have a small boutique with wraps and jewelry.”

A native of Downtown Lansing, Compos is excited to be building his business in the same neighborhood in which he grew up. His plans are to continually add new services, such as a five-dollar shoe shine station for business people during the lunch hour.

Compos hopes to have Coterie Purlieu fully operational by April 23.

Niowave to break ground on $10M expansion, adds 10 jobs

To say that some big things are happening at Niowave, the Lansing-based manufacturer of superconducting accelerators is an understatement. The company will break ground this week on a $10 million expansion. The new, 15,000 square foot building will be called the Niowave Electron Research and Development Facility.
“The industry we’re in continues to grow,” says Jerry Hollister, chief operating officer for Niowave, “and we’re only one of two domestic suppliers of superconducting accelerators.”
Niowave is about to hold an even more exclusive position, as the world’s only manufacturer of commercially available accelerators.
“Right now,” says Hollister, “there’s nobody in the world you call up and say, ‘I need a superconductor.’ That’s becoming untrue as we’re putting finishing touches on a commercial device.”
The commercial superconducting accelerators should be available by the end of the year, and will retail for about $10 million, compared to the $100 million the devices have cost in the past.
Niowave has been growing internally as well. Ten new employees were hired last year, and Hollister expects to add 10 to 15 additional jobs before the end of the year.
It’s not just luck that Niowave is having such success in Lansing. According to Hollister, the Lansing area is one of the few places in the world where this type of work is possible.
“The intellectual capability is here with MSU,” he says, “but what makes it unique is we also have the manufacturing capability that nobody else has.”
Hollister expects the Electron Research and Development Facility to be complete in June, with investment in the facility continuing for the next three years.
238 Downtown Articles | Page: | Show All
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