Executive Summary

Alive Before and After Five

There’s a well-known (if a bit cliche) mural that hovers just above the entrance to Nuthouse Sports Grill in Downtown Lansing. Resembling an Americana postcard, it declares “Greetings from Lansing, Michigan - Alive After 5.” In the background you see a silhouette of couples dancing underneath an explosion of fireworks, with scenes from iconic Lansing destinations featured within each of the letters of the word itself.

Looking at this, it’s difficult to reconcile the idealistic excitement and energy of a downtown that continues to be vibrant long after the workday ends with the reality that we have a way to go to achieve this ideal. Despite the cognitive dissonance, we do envision a downtown that doesn’t become deserted after 5 p.m. but transforms into a destination, the heartbeat of greater Lansing. Because the reality is if Downtown Lansing isn’t thriving, the whole region is affected. And we’re working diligently to make that vision a reality.

The good news is none of this is guesswork. The data is clear on what works and what we need.

A Walkable Downtown Neighborhood

Reporting shows us that demand is high for downtown housing (both for rent and to own) for a diverse range of people — from singles beginning their career journey to families with multiple children to couples approaching retirement. We seek to build a downtown for all kinds of people.

When essential amenities exist within walking distance, residents can save time and money on commuting, reduce traffic congestion, and minimize their carbon footprint. This supports sustainability and accessibility goals while creating a walkable neighborhood that fosters organic interactions among residents, promoting a sense of belonging and community cohesion. Access to shared spaces and regular community events encourage neighborly connections and a stronger social fabric.

By curating a healthy mix of businesses and homes based upon the data in the Competitive Market Analysis, Downtown Lansing can sustain an effective economic ecosystem. By creating an environment that caters to residents' daily needs and fosters community interaction, Downtown Lansing can thrive as a dynamic urban center.


  • Brownfield Act 381: Authorizes redevelopment authorities to recommend approval of work plans that help revitalize, redevelop, and reuse contaminated, blighted, functionally obsolete, or historic resources.
  • Complete Streets network: An approach to planning, designing, building, operating, and maintaining streets that enables safe access for all people who need to use them, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities.
  • Consumer Price Index (CPI): Measure of the average change in the prices paid by urban consumers over time.
  • Mixed-use: Developments that provide more than one use or purpose within a shared building or development area. This may include any combination of housing, office, retail, medical, recreational, commercial, or industrial components.
  • Placemaking: An approach to urban design that aims to create public spaces that are more than just utilitarian, but rather places that inspire and promote social interaction and cultural exchange.
  • Primary trade area: A geographic location that generates the most customers and holds between 55-70% of the area’s retail customers.
  • Private realm: Privately-owned areas, mainly occupied by buildings and associated developments.
  • Pro Forma: A method of calculating financial results for the future based on the present, using hypothetical budgeting.
  • Public realm: Publicly-owned spaces that are easily accessible to the community, such as streets, parks, squares, plazas, courtyards, and alleys. They are owned and maintained by the government or other public entities, and their primary purpose is to serve the community.
  • Tax Increment Financing (TIF): A procedure that allows municipalities to “capture” the additional, or incremental, taxes from property as it increases in value.