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Wednesday, January 22,2014

Eyesore of the week

by Daniel Bollman, AIA
Property: 521 Fenton St., Lansing

Owner: Clinethia Wells

Assessed value:
$29,300

Owner says:
Could not be reached for comment

According to a reader, this house was damaged in a fire and has been in poor condition since 2010. The recent state of the economy cannot have been helpful in hastening the home’s return to normal use. This home — indeed, the entire block — demonstrates the Minimal Traditional style, typical of post-war, working-class homes.

Unfortunately, the building’s condition hurts the appearance of the entire block. One bad example can reduce the apparent value of surrounding houses and the stability of the neighborhood. Though demolition provides the quickest solution, it is not necessarily the best action. On this block, where an established rhythm of close-set houses defines the neighborhood pattern, a single gap in the streetscape can have an undesirable effect.

Assuming the structure is stable, repair efforts should focus on keeping the weather and wildlife out. The home might be gradually restored, focusing on options that will maintain weather tightness while simultaneously improving the home’s appearance as funds become available. Siding would have a tremendous impact on the home’s weather tightness as well as its curb appeal. Likewise, painting the boarded-up windows black will mimic the appearance of real windows. Replacement windows could be purchased and installed as the budget allows.

“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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