Lansing to redevelop Masonic Temple Building as new city hall – Lansing State Journal

LANSING — The long-awaited new city hall finally has a proposed location: The former Masonic Temple Building, two blocks away from the current 1950s building that faces the state capitol building.
The move is boosted by a $40 million contribution from the state’s budget this year.
The city is in talks with a developer to find plans for repurposing the current city hall. The current city hall is a few decades newer than the Masonic building, which was built in 1924 and has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1980.
The bones of the century-old Masonic building are in great shape, and it was well-maintained by the Cooley Law School for about three decades before the Boji Group bought the building around 2019, CEO Ron Boji said during a Wednesday press conference with city leaders inside the building on Capitol Avenue.
“The Boji Group was selected to be the developer of the new City Hall after submitting a proposal in response to an earlier RFP, contingent upon the city obtaining the funding to make the move possible,” the city said in a statement. “With the investment from the State of Michigan, the funding is now in place to secure the location and make the deal possible.”
Mayor Andy Schor said he is hoping to have the new city hall open within two years. While the Masonic building is smaller than city hall by about 20,000 square feet, a significant portion of the city hall is occupied by police and courts. Those offices will be moved to a new public safety complex on Washington Street, south of Mt. Hope Avenue.
Boji said the new headquarters for city business could be open as early as the first quarter of 2025, if all goes well. He said the state is expected to release the $40 million appropriation in December and, if the closing between Boji Group and the city happens that same month, then construction could start in the first quarter of 2024.
The Boji Group, in addition to the eponymous Boji Tower, also control the Louie Building, the Hollister Building and smaller downtown properties as well as buildings across the state.
Boji said buying the Masonic building made sense because it was near other Boji Group properties, including the Louie.
Schor said his priority for the building is efficiency for residents and others who do business with the city. The new city hall would include tax payments, bills, fines and other services at one location.
“To pay taxes or get a permit, now you have to go to a parking garage to pay a ticket and go to the clerks on (floor) nine for his services and to treasury on (floor) one in city hall and then to the fire department for permitting,” Schor said. “It may not be as convenient for city employees. We’ll work that out. But this all needs to happen in one place.”
He said Lansing mayors – going at least back to David Hollister, who served from 1993 to 2003 – have long looked at ways to relocate city hall, which has been at its present location, at West Michigan and Capitol avenues, since the 1950s.
The city is currently negotiating with a developer about plans to redevelop the existing city hall, Schor said.
Boji said the current city hall has a valuable view of the state Capitol, which isn’t necessary for a city hall.
He said hotels around the world love the art deco and historical touches that the current city hall features. The Masonic building, he added, has many of its own historical pieces.
Boji said his group has restored several historic properties, including an 1880s building in Royal Oak and several Lansing properties, and can handle the balance of preservation and modernization necessary for city hall.
Schor said the city will control the entire building but may look at partners or boxing off space if necessary.
He said parking would be handled by existing city garages and street parking. A privately owned lot next to the Masonic building could be purchased, Boji said.
“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,” Schor said, in the statement. “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.”
Contact Mike Ellis at or 517-267-0415


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