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Eyesore of the week

Property: 600 N. Homer St., Lansing Township

Property: 600 N. Homer St., Lansing Township

Owner: FLM Development Co

Taxpayer: FLM Development Co.

Assessed: $266,700

Owner says: Unavailable for comment

Architecture critic Amanda Harrell-Seyburn says: The former Impulse II club is situated at a major exit off a highway that is a gateway to the Lansing metro area. A gateway should be marked with buildings that convey an image of the community and civic pride to citizens and visitors. The site is an excellent opportunity for redevelopment and is available for this purpose. It is well suited for a mixed-use, two-story masonry building that could set a precedent for the corridor.

This abandoned bar, or maybe restaurant, across from the Frandor shopping center is home to a fake hot air balloon with a hole in its side, which is a giant 3D metaphor for the condition of the property: wounded, flagging, deteriorating, and on and on.

There are hand-painted words all over the outside of the building, advertising strange combinations of things like “Keno,” “$” and “Salsa,” but they look like very half-hearted graffiti. The paint is chipping off the building and the colors have faded off the roof. There are weeds and grassy patches taking over the parking lot and growing through the cracks in between the spaces.

A lesson on urban gateways by Harrell-Seyburn:

Gateways are a urban feature dating to ancient times. The Ishtar Gate is one of  the earliest excavated and well known gates from the ancient world. It was built in 575 BC as the northern entrance to the city of Babylon. The highly decorative gate was covered in blue tiles to mark and celebrate the entry point into the city.

Gates were also an important feature of medieval European cities including notably London, Vienna, Siena, Florence, and Edinburgh, to name a few. Well known Notting Hill  and New Cross Gates are two of the tollgates that marked entry points into Georgian London.

Although modern urbanism, particularly in the U.S., does not require walled cities or a literal gate, gateways exist and are nonetheless an integral feature of a modern city. The significance of the gateway has become increasingly diminished in modern urbanism. All too often entry points into a community are not well defined or marked with a feature that represent the community's civic pride to its citizens and visitors.

A gateway can be marked by:

1. A Natural/Landscape Feature
    - this can include a row of trees, natural stone wall, water feature, etc.

2. An Architectural Landmark
    - an elegant building with a clock tower, rotunda, or another easily identifiable detail is especially well suited when a gateway is a part of a commercial or civic center of the community.

3. Artwork
    - a sculpture, mural, or other civic piece of artwork.

It takes more than signage to define a great urban gateway.

“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 Neal McNamara at 371-5600 ex. 17.


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