Dec. 16 2009 12:00 AM

Property: 1300 N. Grand River Ave., Lansing

Owner: MDT Properties LLC

Taxpayer: MDT Properties LLC

Assessed: $42,500

Owner says: Wants to turn it into a convenience store Architecture critic Amanda Harrell-Seyburn says: Gas stations are often ill-suited for adaptive reuse because of design. Once the tanks and pumps are removed, the remnant is a diminutive structure that is hardly large enough for another use. Rather than continue the status quo, gas stations should be designed in such a manner that is advantageous to the community both economically and sustainably. To learn more from Harrell-Seyburn see this story at

As far as eyesores go, this one could be a lot worse. It’s boarded up, sure, but none of the windows are broken, and it looks as if it’s painted fairly often. Still, it’s abandoned and located on a highly trafficked corner near Old Town.

Owner Michael Alexander said that the property ceased to be a gas station in 1979. It had once operated as a convenience store. The store shut down, but he’s looking to reopen it, possibly as a convenience store again.

“It would be nice if there were community development funds available to develop this,” he said.

More about gas stations and adaptive reuse by Harrell-Seyburn:

reuse of gas stations is very important to the urban fabric. Remnants
of failed gas stations are evident throughout the city of Lansing. So
many of these gas stations remain empty and boarded up, an eyesore on
the landscape, because the design is too specialized for a single-use.
Resale of a gas station is nearly impossible if the business failed.
Current gas station design, in urban centers, is a disaster both
economically and sustainably.

addition, adaptive reuse of gas stations would be important to the
vitality of the community. Closed gas stations damage the community
beyond their unsightly appearance. They negatively impact local
businesses by remaining unkempt, adversely affecting
property values, and in turn, devaluing the community by eroding civic

stations are an important feature of the urban environment and will
continue to be with the advent of alternative forms of energy.
Therefore, it is essential that gas station design, particularly those
supplying alternative forms of energy, be designed in such a way as to
be more well suited for adaptive reuse.

worry. Rome wasn't built in a day. Gas stations are a new feature. It
took hundreds of years for many aspects of the urban fabric to be
designed well. Gas stations have only been around for a few years
(relatively). These things take time. It is only if we do not learn
from our current gas station design errors that we will have failed our
urban environment.

“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 or call Neal McNamara at 371-5600 ex. 17.