200 N. Grand Ave., Lansing, MI 48933
Our first stop was an iconic structure that’s been part of Lansing’s landscape for a long, long time. It sat empty for years, but now it’s one of Lansing’s economic cornerstones. Today it stands proudly as Headquarters to Accident Fund Holdings, who, along with parent company Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan, partnered with Christman Development to bring this iconic building back to life. In doing so they’ve created a shining symbol of re-use, renewal and reinvestment in downtown Lansing. This reborn building is now bringing hundreds of people to downtown Lansing every day. But that’s not what this incredible place used to be.
This classic art-deco-style building was originally the Ottawa Street Power Station and supplied Lansing with power and steam from 1938 until the late 1980s. When the plant became obsolete, it turned into an abandoned brownfield and sadly sat in the center of the city for years. One of the really unique original features of the building is the graduated coloring of the brick, which was designed to emulate the burning of coal. It’s a beautiful building that any city would be proud to have.
Preserving history and taking a city into the future all at the same time is an incredible thing to accomplish. Not only has the Accident Fund Building fundamentally changed downtown Lansing, this renovation project won the prestigious Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation. And it was all done with local talent and resources.
After a complete tour of the building, I realized what an incredible place this is. Hands down, it’s one of the coolest buildings in Michigan. If you want to look into Michigan’s past and future, all at the same time, next time you’re in Lansing, just look for the Accident Fund Building. Believe me, it was no accident!