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Monday, March 1,2010

Eye Candy! of the week

by Amanda Harrell-Seyburn


Property: 222 Kalamazoo St., Lansing
Owner: Thornburg Equity Group, LLC
Assessed: $455,900


Owner says: Unavailable for comment


Architecture critic Amanda Harrell-Seyburn says: The Midtown Apartments is an excellent example of an urban classic: the garden court. This u-shaped apartment design was popularized at the turn of the century in the Midwest and is a prominent style in Chicago. The advantageous u-shaped design maximizes narrow urban sites allowing multi-story and multi-unit residential buildings while providing air and light to the interior apartments. The courtyard created by the u-shape is real asset to the urban landscape by providing a green passage and an urban garden that is visible to passersby. To learn more from Amanda Harrell-Seyburn, see this story at www.LansingCityPulse.com


The stately multi-story building fronts Reutter Park among a collection of well-appointed neighbors including the Capital Area District Library main branch and has beautiful views of the park and its elegant water fountain. The yellow brick multi-story residence and its garden retains its early 20th century charm and is a favorite among urban dwellers.


Originally called the Capitol Apartments, the building was built in 1920 and is a rare and irreplaceable feature of downtown that should be considered for historic status. Take a walk in Reutter Park and seek out this urban gem in our community.


A lesson about garden court style Apartments buildings by Harrell-Seyburn:

Garden court style apartment buildings have been designed in all shapes (including U and L) and sizes. Chicago is the best place to experience these turn-of-the-century buildings. Surf Street in Lincoln Park is a short street that may boast the largest number of garden court style apartment buildings on one street in the entire city.

Unlike the enclosed courtyard apartments, the open courtyards of the Garden Court allow more than the residents of the building to enjoy the green space created by the wings of the apartments. The garden court contributes green space to the urban landscape making for a more lush urban environment environment.

Although highly adaptable to a variety of styles and configurations garden courts are an endangered species. Few are built anymore.

In addition to Chicago, other Midwestern cities are known for their garden court style apartments including Detroit and St. Louis. Kalamazoo has a beloved garden court, The Marlborough, in the heart of downtown. The Marlborough is a mixed-use U-court style building built in 1923; it is also on the National Register of Historic Places. Its beauty and location make it one of the most highly sought after places to live in Kalamazoo.


“Eye candy of the Week" is our weekly look at some of the nicer properties in Lansing. It rotates each with Eyesore 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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