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Wednesday, November 5,2014

Knapp's special section: Transform & restore

HOW THE KNAPPīS DEPARTMENT STORE BUILDING CAME BACK FOR ANOTHER LIFE

by Lawrence Cosentino
The gales of November 2012 lashed the rusting hull of Lansingīs biggest and most beautiful commercial downtown icon, the Knappīs Department Store building. A lifeline was on its way, but time was running out. The biggest example of Streamline Moderne architecture in the Midwest, moored like a massive ocean liner at the corner of Washtenaw Street and Washington Square, had been taking on water for decades.
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Wednesday, November 5,2014

Knapp's special section: Every 75 years, need it or not

by Lawrence Cosentino
Once upon a time, the Knappīs Department Store building in downtown Lansing was clad in gleaming porcelain from stem to stern. Porcelain, the translucent, glassy result of firing clay and assorted additives in a super-hot oven, was the zoot suit of choice for hundreds of Art Deco diners, bars and gas stations from the 1930 to the 1960s. The exterior of the Knappīs building is among the most powerful panoplies of porcelain ever placed before the public. Now the only porcelain bits left on the building are the KNAPPīS letters standing guard at the northeast corner.
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Wednesday, November 5,2014

Knapp's special section: Ordeal of a deal

PEELING BACK THE LAYERS OF THE KNAPPīS CENTRE

by Lawrence Cosentino
There are many layers to the renovation of the Knappīs Department Store building in downtown Lansing. Everything about the building is layered — layers of shiny metal and glass, layers of shiny financial incentives, and, now, layers of occupied housing, office and retail space. It also has layers of history, going back to the Hotel Downey, the fabled watering hole and politician hangout that stood on the same piece of land before Knappīs was built in 1937.
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Wednesday, November 5,2014

Knapp's special section: Running with the ball

HOW NICK EYDE RALLIED HIS FAMILYīS BUSINESS TO SAVE A NATIONAL ICON

by Lawrence Cosentino
Nick Eyde is a footballer and a philosopher, a cosmopolitan man and a hometown boy. He oscillates. He stirs the drink without half trying. "Nick is a very interesting fellow," his father, Lansing real estate mogul George Eyde, declared, as if they had just met over drinks. By most accounts, the 35-year-old prodigal scion of Lansingīs Eyde Co. real estate and development empire was the key catalyst for one of the cityīs most dramatic downtown development coups, the conversion of the Streamline Moderne Knappīs Department Store building into the multi-use Knappīs Centre.
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Wednesday, November 5,2014

Knapp's special section: Knappīs in the comics

by Lawrence Cosentino
On Dec. 6, 2007, the nationally syndicated comic strip "Zippy the Pinhead" prominently featured the Lansingīs Knappīs Department Store building. In the first panel. the curved northeast corner of the Knappīs building is clearly visible under the name Undico, an underwear manufacturer in the fictional town of Dingburg.
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Wednesday, November 5,2014

Knapp's special section: Monument to a bright future

AT KNAPP'S, STREAMLINE MODERNE IS YESTERDAY'S STYLE OF TOMORROW, TODAY

by Lawrence Cosentino
Dwarfed by the giant Knappīs Centre building last week, wrapped in a scarf, MSU art professor Susan Bandes looked like she was seeing off a relative departing on the S.S. Normandie, circa 1937. Gleaming slabs of yellow and blue telescoped into the sky above her head. "The structure is iconic, dynamic, the most interesting building downtown," Bandes said. "Thereīs nothing like it."
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Wednesday, November 5,2014

Knapp's special section: Re-opening the store

HISTORICAL SOCIETY AUCTION RECALLS THE BUSTLE OF KNAPPīS IN ITS HEYDAY

by Lawrence Cosentino
Designers and builders turned themselves inside out to re-create the streamlined shell of Knappīs Department Store and fit the building out for new uses, but there was nothing they could do to turn back the clock and bring back the bustle that once filled the store. "For one day, weīll try to put some of that life back into the building," said Valerie Marvin, president of the Historical Society of Greater Lansing.
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Wednesday, November 5,2014

Knapp's special section: Up and down the escalator

THE RISE AND FALL OF KNAPPīS DEPARTMENT STORE

by Lawrence Cosentino
Today, shoppers shamble, zombie-like, through harshly lit megastores with selfcheckouts and few flesh-and-blood points of contact. The sight of the refurbished Knappīs Centre in late October 2014, lit up and looking ready for another Christmas rush, left Auburn Hills-based architect Bruce Kopytek with one wish. Kopytek is the author of a book on Jacobsonīs Department Store and a Knappīs buff.
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Wednesday, November 5,2014

Vegan eagle

SYMPHONY REVIEW: Bruckner’s ‘Te Deum’ soars benignly at LSO choral blowout

by Lawrence Cosentino
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 5 —'Conductor David Rayl had a grand design for Saturday’s Lansing Symphony Orchestra choral extravaganza. He wanted listeners to gear up for Bruckner’s towering “Te Deum,” rarely performed live in these parts, by hearing the music of three composers who influenced him. The climb was a little arduous but worthwhile, and the mountain view was glorious when we got there.
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Wednesday, November 5,2014

Armored vehicle of social criticism

Local author’s latest book examines the militarization of local police departments

by Bill Castanier
Local author and Michigan State University English Professor Lev Raphael believes that the term “officer-friendly” has been transformed into “mean, fighting machine,” thanks to military surplus from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ending up in the hands of stateside police departments.
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