Local business: “Could have done more to help city market”


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – 6 News has an update for you on a story we first told you about last weekend.

After serving the Lansing community for decades, the Lansing City Market will close for good at the end of the summer.

In order to stay open the city needs to pay an $80,000 subsidy, but the Lansing City Council wants to eliminate that all together by shutting the market down completely.

The only reason the Lansing City Market is able to stay open until the end of summer is because city officials made a compromise to cut the $80,000 subsidy in half.

But, one local business currently located at the City Market says the “Lansing Entertainment and Public Facilities Authority,” also called “LEPFA” who runs the market, didn’t really give them a chance to figure out a solution.

“The market could have worked but it seems to be driven into the ground,” said Patrice Drainville; Vice-President of Operations for Simmons Properties who owns “Waterfront Bar & Grill.”

For 8 years, the “Waterfront Bar & Grill” has been up and running at the Lansing City Market, but now it’s being forced to close.

Drainville says the situation is frustrating especially because she says the restaurant has tried to negotiate alternatives with LEPFA who owns the building.

“We have offered to rent other space to put a restaurant that the owner owns so that we could put more food into the market. We worked with Rivertown Adventures to put in a coffee shop, but due to the way the building was built, the pipes in the floor aren’t big enough to support a coffee shop. We’ve also worked with another vendor that came in and we were going to allow him to sell food through our restaurant so that we had a bigger selection,” Drainville stated.

But Drainville says “LEPFA” shut down those ideas and hasn’t communicated effectively the past couple of years.

LEPFA’s CEO/President, Scott Keith, sent 6 News a statement in response to the allegations. It says in part:

“LEPFA has either met with or sent notification to all vendors currently leasing space at the city market regarding the option to close the market at seasons end. Waterfront Bar & Grill is the only vendor not on a “month to month” lease, and therefore they received notice per the lease agreement that their lease would not be renewed after June 30th.”

It goes on to say:

“LEPFA is committed to work with the City Administration on seeking out the best options for a more financially prudent use of the facility, while keeping an effort towards continued revitalization and use of the City’s premier waterfront property.”

But Drainville says she feels LEPFA could have done more to help the market be successful and hopes things will turn around.

“I’m hoping that we can save city market with different ideas that people have as a community, ask the people what they want to see in here and change things around so that it won’t close,” said Drainville.

Drainville says the Mayor’s office will help the “Waterfront Bar & Grill” relocate once the city market closes.

As far as what’s next for the market, the Mayor’s office says nothing is set in stone yet and the city is exploring its options.

“The city is interested in speaking to accepting proposals from anyone who is interested in the market.”

Stay with 6 News as this story develops.

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