Eyesore of the week
|By Brandon Kirby|
Property: 1881 S. Grand River Ave., Okemos
Architecture critic Amanda Harrell-Seyburn says: Conventional, stand alone, fast food structures are ill suited for adaptive reuse because the design is specialized for function. Once the national chain for which the building was designed is gone, rarely is it reused. More often, the structure is torn down so that another national chain can replace it. Fast food chains should take a page from the Detroit-based S.S. Kresge Dime Store design book. Kresge stores were individually designed in accord with the regional style of a respective community. More than 100 years later, these dime stores are still well suited for adaptive reuse, which is advantageous to the community.
This former Boston Market restaurant in Okemos still has its “We Cater” sign hanging in the doorway as if preserving the memory of what it once was. There is a thick layer of unplowed snow in its parking lot spotted, which is dotted with abandoned shopping carts. The shell of the original fast food chain’s sign remains along with the faded words still visible on the building’s front.
Jeff Ridenour of Mid-Michigan Vlahakis Commercial, the real estate agency under which the building is for lease, said the building has been on the market for six months. The price has been reduced from $20 per square foot to $15.
There were some prospective buyers, Ridenour said, but the owner wants the building to be leased not sold.
“It’ll probably be turned into a national restaurant,” Ridenour said.
A lesson on fast food restaurant design by Harrell-Seyburn:
For example, a Mexican restaurant adopts an adobe style building for all of its new restaurants across the country. This results in two distinct problems: The first problem is using a style of building that is only appropriate to a particular region of the country. In the Southwest, an adobe style fast food restaurant might be more appropriate for adaptive reuse than in other regions. Adobe is not a style traditional to Michigan and when used for commercial structures appears misplaced and is thus difficult to reuse. In addition, the design becomes so strongly associated with a brand that no other business (particularly national ones) with a strong brand identity is willing to reuse the building.
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call Neal McNamara at 371-5600 ex. 17.