WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Macomb Eyes Improvements for Downtown Eyesore

Jul 16, 2017

The city spent $2,500 to buy the west building of the Modern Home complex at 133 West Jackson Street. The city considers it a highly visible location – it's just a block west of the Courthouse Square – and it wants to prevent the building from falling into further disrepair.

“We’ve documented all of the property maintenance code violations and they’re pretty extensive,” said Ray Heitner, Community Development Director.

The city plans to address some of the more pressing code violations immediately.  It intends to board up cracked, broken, and open windows, install a secured guard railing on the south side stairwell, and remove weeds from the site.

Vegetation is a problem inside the building as well as outside it.
Credit Rich Egger

But the city is acting only as a caretaker -- it does not plan to fully renovate the building.  Instead it hopes to find a private developer.

“It’s not an instance where the city went into this thinking that they were going to try to compete with the private sector but rather kind of act as a stop gap against potentially the building just falling into some more disarray over the years,” said Heitner.

The money for buying the building and making repairs comes from the city’s Community Improvement Fund, which Heitner said was established for projects like this one. 

He declined to comment on whether the city had a developer in mind for the building, calling it “an ongoing process.” But he added the city is open to ideas. “We just want to see something that will act as a valuable asset to the downtown … We felt a sense of obligation to some degree to make sure that buildings that have a presence and a history like this in such a viable downtown business district area are taken care of.”