Demolition of Downtown Blight to Begin Soon

Saturday, February 27, 2016, 7:03 pm
By: 
Alice Dreger

Above: The "little bank building" at 303 Abbot Road.

Various blighted, vacant buildings near Peoples Church downtown are likely to soon be demolished following a series of recent actions by the City designed to bring about the demolition.

The City of East Lansing is moving to demolish the dilapidated “little bank building” building owned by the East Lansing Downtown Development Authority (DDA), across Albert Street from Dublin Square. The DDA met this past Thursday and, according to Mayor Pro Tem Ruth Beier, “approved proceeding with the demolition upon selection of the best bids,” with bids due this coming week.

Beier says that the City has applied for a grant to assist with demolition costs of this building, located at 303 Abbot Road, but that the City will go forward with the demolition whether or not it gets the grant. As ELi previously reported, in 2012 the City allowed Strathmore Development Company to strip the building of salvageable materials, believing Strathmore would also demolish the building. Strathmore left the damaged, publicly-owned building standing after rendering it unusable.

According to Beier, “We hope to complete the demolition [of the “little bank building”] by the end of April.”

Meanwhile, the City has also served notices to the new owners of the recently foreclosed-upon, privately-owned buildings in the area. These properties include the “big bank building” at the corner of Grand River Avenue and Abbot Road, the commercial structure between that and Peoples Church, and the former Evergreen Arms apartment buildings just north of Peoples Church.

Notices from the City to the new owners, dated February 12, call for hearings starting this Tuesday, March 1, to potentially order the destruction of those buildings. According to the notices released by the City, the hearing on the Evergreen Arms Apartments (341-345 Evergreen Avenue) is scheduled for March 1. The hearings for the “big bank building” and the commercial properties just west on Grand River Avenue (next to Peoples Church) are scheduled for March 17.

Mayor Mark Meadows has chosen attorney Thomas Lapka as the “hearing officer” for all of these hearings. Lapka recently replaced Meadows as Chair of the Board of the Capital Area Housing Partnership.

The hearings may be postponed if the owners of these properties volunteer to demolish the buildings in the near future.

 

Reporting assistance for this article has been provided by Chris Root.

 

 

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