If all goes according to plan, by Sunday evening the old “big bank building” will be a pile of rubble, and much of East Lansing will breathe a sigh of relief.
Nothing is yet planned to replace to derelict four-story structure at the northwest corner of Abbot Road and Grand River. Plans for redevelopment there recently fell apart.
But DRW/Convexity, the owner-developers, are taking down the building now anyway. They had only been keeping them up in the hopes of a tax credit that never came through.
In about a month, workers will also demolish the vacant commercial buildings just west of there, along Grand River Avenue, next to the Peoples Church Memorial Garden. The properties will be filled in with sand and fenced in until something new takes shape.
From today through Sunday night, Abbot Road will be closed off in the area, as will the two northern-most lanes of Grand River Avenue, for safety reasons. This weekend was chosen for the demolition because apparently MSU football has an away game somewhere.
At City Council on Monday, Mayor Mark Meadows said he would ask the police not to enforce the open container prohibition for people on site with champagne.
David Pierson, lawyer for DRW/Convexity, tells ELi, “I will take the mayor at his word and assume we can all be there to celebrate appropriately.”
At the Building Authority meeting yesterday, when the subject came up, John Czarnecki jokingly suggested corn could be planted while the lot stands vacant.
East Lansing Finance Director Jill Feldpausch responded, “Then we’d have a deer problem downtown.”
Asked for his comment, Director of Planning Tim Dempsey said simply, “I’m just glad to see it finally happen.”
It seems likely he was expressing the feeling of many of his fellow citizens.