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Wednesday, September 25,2013

Eyesore of the week

by Andy Balaskovitz

Property: 731 E. Kalamazoo St., Lansing

Owner: Gregory Arntson

Assessed value: $57,800

Owner says: Could not be reached for comment

Whether you’re traveling eastbound or westbound on the 700 block of East Kalamazoo Street, the architecture isn’t a welcoming gateway into or out of downtown. This commercial property just east of the train tracks — formerly a furniture store that’s now being used for warehouse space — fits in well with the deteriorating urban aesthetic. Fading green paint and a note reading “DEATH” written in white chalk define the facade. Plywood blocks the view through the front door.

But this building has promise. It’s uniquely built into the side of a hill, which makes the east-facing wall almost non-existent, with the roof nearly meeting the ground. Easy access for a rooftop garden? The west-facing wall is a blank canvas for what could be a prominent mural, as the next parcel is vacant, apparently with plans by something called the “Ministry of Urban Revival.”

Hot Water Works, a hot-tub company based on East Michigan Avenue, began renting space in this building earlier this year to accommodate what owner James McFarland is a significant expansion plan. While he doesn’t own this building, he has an option to do so that he hasn’t exercised. Stay tuned for potential eye-pleasing changes at this site.

“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 Andy Balaskovitz at 999-5064.

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