The Hub’s Move-in Day Disaster

Sydney Wilson

Towering over the Michigan State University landscape, The Hub on Campus is impossible to miss. It was even more noticeable during its construction last year, when cranes hovered over an unfinished matrix of steel and plastic sheeting, and the sidewalks around the Bogue Street and Grand River Avenue intersection were blocked off. 

Understandably, The Hub became a common conversation topic in the area. Emotions ranged from indifference to excitement, from to concern to outright annoyance with this behemoth of an 11-story building. Students at MSU were excited about the prospect of shiny new apartments in a town mostly dominated by “college apartments”— that is, places that were old, cramped, and had generally seen better days. The advertisements of a rooftop pool, brand-new workout space, and modern styled apartments led many students to be annoyed because they believed that the rooms would be incredibly expensive. East Lansing locals were outraged that for a significant portion of the town, this building would block a lot of light as well as the view out their windows, possibly even lowering property values. For prospective tenants and people who lived closest to the building, the construction timeline was concerning; they worried that a new building being finished so close to the start of the fall semester would have a lot of problems to be worked out on a very tight schedule.

These last concerns were proved correct — in spectacular fashion — on move-in day.

On August 21, residents received an email at 12:30 a.m. saying that the 8:30 a.m. move-in time was being pushed back to 10:30 a.m. because of a late furniture delivery. Ten-thirty that morning saw a truly staggering amount of students arriving on site with their parents and belongings in tow, only to find out that the building hadn’t received its temporary certificate of occupancy.

Which meant that nobody could move in. 

The plan had been for the people leasing the top-floor units to move in first, then those on the next floor down and so on every few hours. Instead, frustrated residents and their families waited in an unmoving line at The Hub’s leasing office, located on Grand River Avenue just east of Bogue Street to get their room keys. They would continue to wait, asking others to hold their spot in line while they ran to get lunch, calling their jobs to say that the half-day they took off was going to actually be a full day, and taking the $50 Target gift cards The Hub handed out as apologies for the situation.

The building was finally approved for its temporary certificate of occupancy at 3:31 p.m. that afternoon. 

Of course, the “move in floor-by-floor” plan was out the window, and to make matters far worse, one of the three elvators broke down. It was even reported that some students got tired of waiting and decided to haul all of their things up the stairs. Adding to the chaos, the moving carts provided by The Hub didn’t fit through the doorways. The moving carts that the moving company hired by The Hub were only cardboard boxes on wheels, prompting some people to steal actual moving carts from nearby Snyder-Phillips Hall. This resulted in Snyder-Phillips going on lockdown. 

People’s opinions on the whole affair didn’t improve when they arrived to unclean and unfinished apartments. Closets were missing racks and hanging bars, televisions weren’t mounted, there were holes in the walls and doors, the paint on the walls hadn’t fully dried, and some appliances weren’t installed. There was also reported to be an “inch-thick” layer of construction dust everywhere — it was hardly the move-in experience tenants had waited so long for. Some residents didn’t get to move in until midnight.

According to some tenants, maintenance was right on top of remedying these problems as quickly as possible, and though the rooms were liveable within the week, it was a bad first impression.

Then there was the elevator incident. On September 3rd, residents attended a City Council meeting to talk about how they were trapped in an elevator at The Hub for over an hour. Seventeen people were on the elevator, and when it stopped unexpectedly between floors they found themselves in a situation that could be considered a living nightmare — the emergency call button didn’t work, and nobody had cell service or wifi reception in the elevator. Luckily, someone walking around heard the frantic pounding of 17 people on the elevator’s walls and contacted maintenance to get them out. 

Sarah Shanky, one of the residents at the meeting, said “there were 17 of us total, in the elevator, which was a lot, but we did the math and we were under the weight limit. They have signs posted, now, outside the elevators saying that maximum occupancy is nine people in the elevator, but that wasn’t the case [when this happened].” Shanky went on to confirm that at that time, the elevator they were trapped in was the only one working. After firefighters got them out, the group went down to the lobby to talk to the management, only to be told by the receptionist that the manager and assistant manager in the back office were too busy to talk to them.Now The Hub 2 is planned to be built right next door to The Hub, and even bigger than it’s sister building. According to the City of East Lansing’s website, The Hub 2 will be “a 14 story, 720-unit multi-family development in two separate buildings, each at 152 feet tall, including amenities for the residents and structured parking for 400 vehicles.” These buildings will be constructed where there are currently fraternity houses, which will all be demolished for the new buildings. Understandably, there are a lot of concerns for how these new buildings will fare on their move-in days, but only time will tell if The Hub’s management has learned from past mistakes, or if history is doomed to repeat itself.

Sydney Wilson is a junior majoring in Professional & Public Writing, and wants to spend her professional career as an editor, helping authors make their stories the best they can possibly be. Outside of school, she enjoys trail running, reading, listening to music, and watching YouTube tutorials for projects she’ll never do.