Construction Accident at “The Abbot” Closes Area Downtown

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019, 4:07 pm
Alice Dreger

Photos by Raymond Holt.

[UPDATE, Wednesday 12:40 a.m.: ELPD says all roads are now reopened.]

An accident at the construction site of “The Abbot” in downtown East Lansing has caused the area around it to be shut down to car and pedestrian traffic. The area is expected to have road closures through about 11 p.m. tonight.

East Lansing Fire Department Captain Leo Allaire tells ELi that at about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, a construction form shifted during placement on the 11th floor of the project. The form is made out of metal and wood and weighs about 4,000 pounds.

Allaire says the structural integrity of the building is intact and nothing fell from the site to the ground. No one was hurt. A construction crane is on its way from Detroit to remove the form that is dislocated.

Drivers and pedestrians are being told to avoid the area of Abbot Road near Grand River Avenue and also to avoid Albert Avenue near Abbot Road.

Shortly after the accident, East Lansing police officers, fire command officers, the City’s building inspector, the City's Director of Planning, and the City Manager were on the scene talking with representatives of Walsh, the construction company for the project.

East Lansing Police Chief Larry Sparkes told ELi that the need to close roads meant he had to hold some officers overtime from the day shift and call some extra officers in. He said that police detectives were also called to do patrol work to help out.

"We put on our quick coats and went out," said Sparkes, referring to ELPD jackets worn during colder weather by senior officers.

Across Abbot Road, the first floor of College Manor was evacuated by the building’s owner Dewey Bramson. Bramson, whose company owns Beggar’s Banquet, told ELi that he had elected to evacuate the first floor businesses because of the concern that material might hit the street and cause injury to those nearby.

Allaire confirmed that this was the cautious approach recommended by the Fire Department. He said they wanted to make sure that if anything did fall, no one in stores or restaurants with glass fronts got hurt.

After the problem is resolved, engineers will inspect the building before construction resumes.

The Abbot is the anchor building of the “Park District” project being developed by DRW Convexity. Representatives of DRW Convexity have not yet responded to a request for comment from ELi.

The Abbot is set to be a 13-story building with 14,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, two floors of private parking above that for 89 vehicles, and 218 rental apartments housing about 370 people above that.

The developers have been using a storefront on Grand River Avenue (formerly the site of Lotsa Pizza) to attract tenants as the building is due to open next fall.

Just west of The Abbot, DRW Convexity’s project includes construction of The Graduate hotel.

Note: This story was updated at 5:50 p.m. © 2013-2020 East Lansing Info