Newest LCC house won’t be demolished

By Sam Inglot
Lansing Community College purchased the Louis Beck House, 515 Capitol Ave., in December. Future plans are uncertain, but it will not be demolished. Dylan Sowle/City Pulse

Former headquarters of Michigan Sheriffs Association purchased by LCC

Monday, April 1 — This is not a joke: One of the newest buildings purchased by Lansing Community College won’t be demolished, but future plans for the structure are still up in the air.

The Louis Beck House at 515 N. Capitol Ave. — directly across the street from the newly restored Hermann House — was purchased by the college in December for $115,000, LCC spokeswoman Ellen Jones said.

The college has no plans to tear down the house, Jones said, but the building’s future is still unknown.

Last year, LCC bought three houses — each over 100 years old — a short walk from the Louis Beck House that it plans to “deconstruct” (tear them down and recycle the materials) to make way for a park. It had initially planned to demolish the three homes, but after pressure from the local preservation community, agreed to try and sell them to relocate. When those plans fell through, the college said it will deconstruct the three houses at the corner of Saginaw Street and Capitol.

The Louis Beck House will need to undergo lead and asbestos testing (most likely followed by abatement), as well as the removal of old carpet and cabinetry, said Tim Martz, LCC physical plant interim executive director of administrative services. How much the college will spend to improve the house is a mystery right now, he said. Whatever the college decides to do with it will ultimately determine the cost.

Jones led a small tour of the house today and was accompanied by Martz, as well as Elva Revilla, LCC assistant vice president for external affairs and Gretchen Cochran, president of local group Preservation Lansing.

“There are a lot of lovely details in this house,” Cochran said. “I’m thrilled that LCC has chosen to keep it.”

Cochran said she felt like the “attitude” of LCC had shifted recently regarding its public relations and purchasing of houses in the area. She said she was glad to be invited to tour the house and was pleased LCC was informing the public of their plans before rumors started to spread.

“It feels like there’s a new attitude,” Cochran said. “This feels like the way neighbors should treat each other. I like that a lot.”

Over the years the building has housed several law firms. The most recent occupant was the Michigan Sheriffs Association. The Sheriffs Association moved out three weeks ago, Jones said.

The two-story house was built in 1898 for Louis Beck, a Lansing tailor. The house was designated a Michigan historical site in 1991, according to a placard on the front of the house. The interior of the house features wood paneling on the walls that isn’t original, Cochran said. Faded shag carpet covers the floors of most of the house. The first floor has several walls that were built as room dividers, which Martz said will likely be removed.

According to the Michigan Geographic Data Library, the house is a “Prairie School” style home.

Martz said people could expect to see dumpsters behind the house soon as they begin to tear out the carpet and cabinets.