Eyesore of the week

By Andy Balaskovitz

Property: 1609 Turner St., Lansing

Owner: Turner St. Properties LLC

Assessed value: $21,700

Owner says: In the process of renovating, looking for a buyer

Architecture critic Amanda Harrell-Seyburn says: This diminutive commercial building on the north fringe of Old Town is easy to dismiss as insignificant. But small commercial buildings, like this one, are one of the most endangered building types in our communities today. It is hard to find retail today that has such a customer-centric design. Entrances between display windows usher in customers while protecting them from the elements, which is particularly important in Michigan. It is a rare building owner who is willing to give up the interior square footage that such an entry requires. Small commercial buildings like this are perfect for a small shop, design studio or some other innovative recovery plan.

The pleasant northbound avenue out of Old Town via Turner Street goes sour, fast. Just past a dilapidated service station at Turner and North streets sits another crumbling commercial property. The torn, waterlogged doormat is an expected welcome as you approach the broken front window (patched with a piece of insulation). On the inside, the Flintstone-esque floor is basically dirt and rubble. But Ryan Lowe, of Turner St. Properties, said the building is under renovation and the floor looks as such so he can tailor it to a potential renter or buyer. “It’s been fully gutted and will be finished over the fall,” Lowe said.