There are few people more interested or excited about the growth of Lansing and its entertainment than me. When I moved to our fair region, I felt what most people feel – a sense of belonging. I often call it “the biggest small town.” There’s a sense of community and you can run into so many people you know just like in America’s smallest towns. But there are also big-city amenities that give us a sense of place.
We’ve been blessed with multiple visionaries over the years who believe Lansing’s downtown can be a unique version of itself. I don’t think it’s good to try and emulate other regions. We can’t be them, and why should we want to? In 1995, we were given a baseball stadium and it has anchored a district. The Lugnuts came to life in the years following and growth surrounding Cooley Law School Stadium began. We picked up a beautiful brick building that faces the ballpark. I’m a tad biased because the last three years I’ve lived in the building facing our treasured stadium managed by the inspiring Nick Gruesser.
This past year many announcements took place:
1. An urban market will be built downtown by Meijer as part of new concept, catty-corner from the stadium.
2. We have a new professional soccer team, Ignite FC, and it will multipurpose the stadium.
3. A new hotel would be built on the BLOCK600 site along with the market and new housing by Gillespie Group.
Although there was much anticipation among all these announcements, one piece was missing. We were not sure what hotel flagship would launch the first hotel set in downtown Lansing in more than 20 years. Today, we know that the Courtyard by Marriott will include 120-124 guest rooms as well as a bar and lounge, outdoor patio space, a fitness center and three meeting spaces, professionally managed by Concord Hospitality.
All of the items listed are game-changers for Lansing, but I particularly think that the new hotel accommodations downtown is significant. We will ultimately expand the type of events we can hold at the Lansing Center, the Capitol, downtown Lansing and the stadium based on how many people can stay in close proximity to the event. This is just the beginning for our region. If you haven’t been downtown lately, pick an event, a brewery or distillery, or a family-friendly baseball or soccer game, and make your way down to witness an economic boom for yourself.