Built in 1905, Arbaugh’s Department Store anchored retail activity in downtown Lansing from its construction in 1905 until well into the 1970s. An expansion in 1915 made Arbaugh’s the largest building in the city. Conversion into office space in the 1970s led to the installation of a glass facade, which remained in place after the building was shuttered in 2002. After more than a year of vacancy, a local developer bought the property with the intention of making the Arbaugh Building a vital piece of Lansing’s downtown once again.
The Arbaugh Building is a five-story, 108,000 gross square foot (gsf) property in the late 19th/early 20th-century regional vernacular commercial style. It is located on the south end of the Washington Square retail corridor. The scope of work involved cleaning and restoring the entire exterior of the property, including removal of the glass façade (the glass sheath actually served to protect the underlying original façade.) The rehabilitated building offers 48 market-rate lofts on the upper floors, 17,127 gsf commercial space on the ground floor, 2,900 gsf of mezzanine office space, and parking.
The rehabilitation of the Arbaugh Building into loft-style housing is the largest loft conversion in Lansing. The project is located in a part of the city’s core which had been plagued by high office vacancy rates and little pedestrian activity after 5 pm and on weekends. Local officials feel that a mixed-use project in this part of the city will help stimulate a 24-hour downtown, improve public perception of the area and encourage other development to follow, furthering revitalization in the city of Lansing.