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Oliver Towers saga moves to Lansing City Council chambers

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)
Lansing mayor Virg Bernero (left) sits with Davenport University president Richard Pappas at a news conference discussing the proposed land swap. The Oliver Towers stands in the background.

Tonight, the Lansing City Council will begin weighing in on a  land swap deal that’s pitted two local colleges against each other.    A final council decision may come next month.

 Officials with Lansing Community College have been complaining that they didn’t get a chance to bid on the Old Oliver Towers apartment building before city officials cut a deal with Davenport University. 

Under the deal, the capital city and Davenport are swapping buildings in downtown Lansing.  Davenport plans to build a new campus on the site, which sits next to Lansing Community College.   The building has sat largely empty for a decade. 

City Council President A’Lynne Robinson says the council will carefully review the deal and LCC’s offer to buy the land.  

“We need to explore all aspects of any deal.  We need to look at what is going to garner the best outcome for the city, its residents and taxpayers.”  

The land swap still needs approval from the federal government.   Davenport officials hope to clear all the administrative hurdles in time to get construction on their new building rolling by November.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.