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Wednesday, February 22,2012

Eyesore of the week

by Andy Balaskovitz

Property: 1112 Bensch St., Lansing

Owner: Ingham County Land Bank Fast Track Authority

Assessed value: $19,700

Owner says: Demolition in three to four months

Architecture critic Amanda Harrell-Seyburn says: It’s easy to dismiss simple houses as not having a specific style, but the fact is, nearly all buildings fall into a stylistic category. Case in point: 1112 Bensch St. is a variation of American folk architecture known as “Gable-front” — note the gable facade parallel to the street. Being sited on a narrow lot is typical of this style that was prolific in the industrial northeast in the late 19th and early 20th century. This regional style is pure American architecture.

This 1-1/2-story gem is squeezed into a densely populated part of the Potter Walsh Neighborhood, showing off its boarded-up front window, peeling white paint and mostly absent front steps (one is still hanging on). A closer look at the rotting plywood front porch on Monday suggests the porch doubles as a garbage disposal — a few cooked hamburgers, hot dogs and baked beans sat exposed in a Styrofoam container. Either this was fresh or the raccoons couldn’t finagle their way onto the porch.

A neighbor, who just wants it “gone,” said the red tags from the city’s Code Compliance office were removed recently. He said he’d tear it down himself if nothing changes soon, but it looks like he won’t have to: The Ingham County Land Bank is scheduled to demolish the home in the next three to four months, said Eric Schertzing, Land Bank chairman and Ingham County treasurer. He added it’s too soon to tell what will happen to the property after demolition.

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