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COVID Dictates Region’s Future Business Landscape

What Greater Lansing’s new business landscape looks like in 2022 greatly depends on how occupied downtown Lansing offices are in the new year in the wake of a coronavirus-driven dispersal of white-collar workers from the city’s center.

“The big thing for us in our region is what is downtown Lansing going to look like and what is the state of Michigan workforce going to look like as we get into 2022? I think it’s a question that has to be asked, and I think it’s one we have to figure out together,” said Tim Daman, president and CEO of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce.

State government employs nearly 15,000 people in Greater Lansing, many of whom have been ordered to work away from offices since the coronavirus pandemic started in 2020.

“It’s such a profound economic impact on our downtown that what that workforce looks like with a higher percentage remote in the future is going to have to change and dictate what our economic and business development strategies are for downtown Lansing,” Daman said.

Though events are slowly coming back to the Lansing Center, there is concern over how a fluctuating in-office workforce could affect visitor spending in the region.

“We need to have a consistent downtown workforce to make the restaurants viable and other amenities,” said Scott Keith, president and CEO of the Lansing Entertainment and Public Facilities Authority, which runs the Lansing Center, Jackson Field and Groesbeck Golf Course. “It does go hand in hand that we have a workforce downtown on a regular basis in order for those visitors to have the attractions and amenities they’re looking forward to.”