I’m writing to correct certain falsehoods and misinformation being spread about apartments and a commercial center I’m currently developing in Lansing.
We do not understand why there is any controversy. What these misinformed people are calling a ‘community center’ is in fact a mixed use residential/commercial building, the first of its kind ever to be proposed in the Northeast. The commercial portion, limited to the first floor, was approved to contain commercial rentals, i.e. retail, fitness, food, offices and other tenant infrastructure, all intended to improve the level of service for those who live in our apartments. Our ComCenter (‘Com’ stands for commercial) was unanimously approved by the Lansing Town Board.
There was no ‘quid pro quo’ with the Town Board to approve our ComCenter. It was part of our submission. At that time the Town was suffering economically from the pending closure of our power plant, so they eagerly received our proposal. We worked together to produce the now wildly successful Village Solars apartments.
The project was again expanded in 2017 to include the construction of a bigger and more comprehensive ComCenter, to serve the larger population. Again, this change was unanimously approved by our Planning and Town Boards.
Recently we saw some nearby land coming on the market, so we asked the Town to temporarily delay our ComCenter to see if this new opportunity could improve our project.
The recent bru-ha-ha over the approved delay (and a legal political donation) erupted when our request to study the matter turned into a fake controversy: that we were trying to get out of building the approved ComCenter – the building we proposed.
Why would we want to do that? Who wouldn’t want to own such a unique investment – the first of its kind ever to be developed in our area?
How could these activists not have known that our ComCenter was an already approved, 100% rentable space on one of our building’s first floors? Or that it had unanimously been approved by our Board on two separate occasions?
Now here’s the real kicker: How do you get a quid pro quo on a project that has already been approved twice (unanimously) and requires no further review to proceed? If we asked for anything not contained in the PDA it would have to be re-approved by the Town Boards. So by what mechanism could the Supervisor (or anyone else) have delivered on a quid pro quo?
The PDA, which we have followed carefully, allows changes to our schedule. If we asked for a change of any kind, beyond what was already approved, it would have to go back before the Boards for review.
It’s clear the Supervisor wasn’t in any position to deliver on a quid pro quo, in either matter. Who would ‘pay to play’ with a politician who couldn’t deliver? This is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard.
These witless activists owe the Supervisor and our entire Town a sincere apology. Their sloppy review never studied the project in any detail, understood its purpose or reviewed its history, available for all to see in the Town minutes. Nor had they even taken the simple step of contacting the developer to get more information.
What these careless people did has caused harm. They should be ashamed of themselves. Their Red Queen tactics are reckless and an affront to the history of our Town and its fair, hard working people.
I ought to know. I’ve been one of them for fifty years.
Stephen Paul Lucente Village Solars LLC, Lansing