When I first took up my city of Lansing walk about, the city had taken a turn for the worse. General Motors had just closed the door on multiple factories, leaving a huge hole in the Lansing economy. After walking through this city for three years (from 2010 to 2013) I began to notice an uptick in many parts of the city that were desolate at the beginning of the walking project. Last week I was able to tour one of those buildings.Back in 2010 I attended an Ignite Lansing event inside the Knapp’s building. It was unoccupied at the time and perfect for this event which likes to expand the notions of usable space. Creating an energetic and exciting event within a space that hasn’t been used in a long time didn’t come without its problems. There were rumors that when the electricity was turned on many of the toilets and faucets within the building began to flood. There was evidence of vagabond squatting within the building as well as many unsafe areas that needed to be blocked off. Fortunately the woman’s bathroom was functioning; however the men had to use a port a potty located outside. On the night of the Ignite event I somehow found myself with a group of explorers who invited me to travel to the roof of the building. I didn’t say no. I have long been intrigued by old buildings and found the experience exhilarating. I remember thinking that it was a shame such a building sat empty and decaying.Soon after the Ignite event another rumor began that the Eydes, who owned the Knapp’s building, were planning to renovate it. Four years later the first tenants moved in and as part of the Lansing Maker Week, The Runway, a fashion incubator, hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony and an open house. After four years I was able to get back inside the Knapp’s building where everything broken and old had been replaced with shiny and new. The Sales area of the Runway Jeff Henry, Business Consultant for The Runway, shares the pertinent information about this new fashion incubator with guests Melanie Rand and Norma Sanchez who were out and about during their lunch hour. Candice Pizzo, owner and designer of Alex + Jayde Designs, receives visitors during The Runway’s open house.
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