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Mayor says Oliver Towers saga is turning into a 'debacle'

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(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)
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The Oliver Towers haved sat empty for a decade since a serious fire. Suddenly, the empty apartment building is the focus of a tug of war between two local colleges, both of which want the land for future expansion.

Lansing mayor Virg Bernero calls it a ‘debacle’.    

The battle between two local colleges over an empty apartment building is in a holding pattern.   

Last night, the Lansing City Council delayed action on a proposed land swap between the city and Davenport University.   The university wants the empty city-owned Oliver Towers apartment complex for its future campus.  But Lansing Community College has offered to buy the building for $2.5 million.  

Councilwoman Carol Wood says LCC’s offer is worth a look. 

 “I think when you have LCC sits here and say they were willing to give us almost $2.5 million dollars for the property…it would be wrong of us not to at least to take a look at it," says Wood. 

 "I can’t imagine another city in this state of Michigan in our economic situation," says Mayor Virg Bernero, "I cannot imagine another city in the state…kicking Davenport in the teeth…and saying good bye to a 13 million dollar project  that’s going to bring good jobs and a solid investment.” 

Davenport university officials wanted to break ground on their new building next month.   University officials have said they may look outside the capital city to expand if the Oliver Towers land swap doesn’t go through.