Eye Sore of the Week

By Andy Balaskovitz

Property: 308 E. Grand River Ave., Lansing

Owner: Joe Donald

Assessed value: $34,800

Owner says: Ask the property manager

Architecture critic Amanda Harrell-Seyburn says: A shophouse — also known as mixed use with residential above and commercial below — is the ultimate in convenience living. Total commute time? Seconds. Distance? A flight of stairs. This building form stands the test of time and is one of the reasons for Old Town’s success and enduring aesthetic. Like its neighbors, this shophouse has good DNA — design, craftsmanship and quality materials lending itself to reuse again and again and again.

The crumbling peach façade of this storefront has looked the same since at least 2008. It’s too bad: The faded T-shirts in the window and dilapidated interior hardly compliment the colorful and modern-looking art store, ceramics studio and tattoo parlor next door.

Former Lansing-area politician Lingg Brewer — who manages the property — says it’d cost half a million dollars to fix it, which he doesn’t have thanks to a rough lending market. He also said he’s spent about $20,000 on fixing the roof. Across the street, though, is Brewer’s showpiece: A $250,000 mixed-use residential/commercial redevelopment along the Old Town train tracks.

“I rest on my laurels,” Brewer said. “If you’re going to give me a kick in the ass on 308, maybe you’d see fit to mention 317 (E. Grand River Ave.).”

Brewer, who says he has this property on land contract, said he’ll fix it up “eventually. I can not afford to do it at the present time.”

“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.