LANSING, Mich. — Lansing’s city government is announcing where it will locate a new headquarters.
Lansing Mayor Andy Schor will announce on Wednesday at 1 p.m. he has struck a deal to move city hall to the former Masonic Temple on 217 S. Capitol Ave.
The city will pay the Boji Group $40 million to purchase the property as well as revamp it for city uses. The money for the project was provided to the city in the most recent budget passed by the state legislature. The money becomes available on Oct. 1, coinciding with the state’s fiscal year.
Schor says he is “excited” to “breathe new life into another of our historic, iconic downtown buildings.”
“As downtown Lansing continues to transform and grow, we have a real opportunity to change City government operations, provide great customer service and access to local government for residents, and support the future of our City,” says Schor.
“As downtown Lansing continues to transform and grow, we have a real opportunity to change City government operations, provide great customer service and access to local government for residents, and support the future of our City,” said Lansing Mayor Andy Schor. “I am excited to rehabilitate and help breathe new life into another of our historic, iconic downtown buildings and to make it an effective place for city services to be provided.”
Property records show Boji Group purchased the building in 2021 for $1.75 million. The property has an assessed value of $2,049,000.
The 1924, 7-story building was designed by Edwyn A. Bowd.
Bill Castanier, president of the Historical Society of Greater Lansing, says Bowd was “a big deal” in terms of shaping the skyline of greater Lansing.
“He’s probably the most important commercial building architect in Lansing at the time,” he says.
From 1924 until 1974, the building played home of the Masonic Lodge 33. The lodge began in Lansing in 1849. The Masons are a fraternal organization dedicated to helping individuals improve themselves. Cooley Law School ran its operations out of the building from 1974 to 2008.
It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
Its design is neo-classical, a popular government-style building at the time. Bowd and his partner Orlie Munson helped design some of the greater Lansing area’s more prominent buildings, including the Knapp’s Building on S. Washington Ave. (recently repurposed into offices and apartments), the Ottawa Street Power Station (which has since been repurposed into the headquarters for the Accident Fund), Demonstration Hall on the campus of Michigan State University and the Ingham County Courthouse in Mason.
Bill Castanier, president of the Historical Society of Greater Lansing, tells 6 News the building is “gorgeous. It feels like a city hall.”
“I think it is a good move,” he says. “It saves another historic building in downtown and it opens it up for the public to see. It was a beautiful building.”
He notes Cooley remodeled the interior during its residency in the building, but many of the details remain.
Lansing officials have been actively working to ditch the current building, built in 1958, since 2017. A proposal accepted by then-Mayor Virg Bernero would see the mid-century modern building purchased by Chicago real-estate investor J. Paul Beitler. The plans hit a snag when Schor took office in 2018 because officials didn’t know where the city’s police department, courts and lock-up would be relocated.
In November of last year, voters approved a $175 million bond proposal to construct a public safety facility. The facility will be built on South Washington Ave. where the South Washington Office Complex is located currently.
Beitler has expressed interest in moving forward with his delayed proposal, and Schor has acknowledged he “really, really likes” the developer’s plan.