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Wednesday, October 7,2009

Eyesore of the week

by Eric Freeman

Property : 738 Kalamazoo St., Lansing
Owner: Daniel E. Baker
Taxpayer: Daniel E. Baker
Assessed Value: $54,200
Owner says: Could not be reached for comment


Architecture critic Amanda Harrell-Seyburn says: Unsightly broken windows are just one of many problems with this building. However, it has great potential. The building is perfect for a neighborhood supermarket with living above. Suggested improvements could include: refinishing the stucco, replacing the west side of the building's vinyl siding with stucco, replacing windows on the upper stories, and adding windows to the first-floor facade.


This building has not made much headway (actually, the west side of the building was removed and replaced with vinyl siding) since it last appeared in Eyesore of the Week on May 14, 2008. We are citing it again not for graffiti or decay, but for its numerous broken windows. Now, it’s not only unused and ugly, but it's also neglected.


Many windows on the upper stories are broken, though the ground-level windows have been boarded-up. A real estate company is selling this for $225,000 — more than four times its assessed value. If they find a new owner, hopefully they can turn it into something that contributes to the community.


More from Amanda Harrell-Seyburn:


It is essential that the broken windows be addressed immediately as broken windows contribute directly to the decline of the building making the building unsightly, which negatively affecting residents' pride in their community

The Hosmer Neighborhood lacks a good neighborhood supermarket. Although the space may appear small in relation to the Lansing supermarket status quo, it is large enough to stock all necessary amenities, including a fresh produce section. Neighborhood supermarkets in large cities including Chicago, New York, and London are frequently half the size of this building stocking an impressive array of products, often including a fresh salad bar. It is time that small neighborhood supermarkets were re-instituted in Lansing in the numerous existing structures in neighborhoods.

The following is a set of suggested improvements that would drastically improve the facade of the building for the  success of a neighborhood business and the Hosmer Neighborhood community:

1. Replace upper story windows with six-over-six multi-pane windows. These windows are more appropriate to the overall scale of the building than the current single-pane windows.

2. The first floor facade is completely closed off to the street. Open the first story to the street with the addition of doors and windows so that the facade welcomes and connects with patrons rather than appearing unapproachable.

3. The lack of a strong architectural detail at the top of the building makes the building appear unfinished. The addition of a strong cornice detail completes the building.

4. The exterior finish needs attention. This includes refinishing damaged stucco on the exterior and replacing the vinyl siding on the west side of the building with the same stucco finish as the rest of the building.

5. The addition of an overhang defines the entryway.  It also protects pedestrians from the elements.


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“Eyesore of the Week" is our look at some of the seedier properties in Lansing. It rotates each week with Eye Candy of the Week. If you have a suggestion, please e-mail eye@lansingcitypulse.com or call Neal McNamara at 371-5600 ex. 17.

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