Written by Melissa Anders @ lansingstatejournal.com
LANSING TWP. – Holiday shoppers aren’t the only ones buzzing about Eastwood Towne Center these days.
Construction crews are making progress on new retail and parking space north of the retail center.
About 150 construction workers have been at the site at some point since work began this summer.
A pizzeria and bar are slated to open this spring as the first new businesses in the development, which will eventually include several new restaurants and stores, 124 upscale apartments, a parking structure and an expansion of NCG Eastwood Cinemas.
The parking structure, stores and other restaurants should open in the fall of 2012. Developers hope to host a grand opening the week of Sept. 12.
“That’s the 10-year anniversary of Eastwood, so we’re trying to push for doing some things that week,” said Steve Hayward, director of planning and development and executive director of the township’s Downtown Development Authority.
Lansing Township, through its DDA, is acting as its own developer to build 120,000 square feet of commercial space and a parking garage adjacent to, but separate from, Eastwood.
The township is using funds from the sale of $22 million in municipal bonds to pay for construction with plans to pay back debt with lease payments and tenant fees. It signed a 99-year lease with landowner Mike Eyde for the roughly 13-acre site.
The first two tenants — Bar 30 and Tony Sacco’s Coal Oven Pizza — were originally slated to open in October, but construction was delayed partly because of a lack of enough qualified bidders for various portions of the project.
The 4,500 square-foot pizzeria should open by the end of March, while the adjacent 7,900-square-foot Bar 30 restaurant and night club should open by the end of April.
“We have six restaurants open now,” said co-owner George Kurajian. “This is the first time working with a township or city (as a developer) and it’s been great.”
Kurajian said he plans to hire 140 to 150 people. Hiring likely will start in January or February.