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March 29, 2012

Former Sears Building to Change Hands; Renovation of Belle Isle Maintenance Building Nears Completion

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

After more than a year of negotiations with Michael Bozenski and Gary Lamb, the owners of the former Sears building, the Wyandotte Downtown Development Authority (DDA) will purchase the long-vacant structure for $500,000, reports The News-Herald.

The three-story building has a prime location at 3061-3063 Biddle Avenue, and for many years it housed the department store; in recent years it was briefly occupied by a furniture store called The Sawmill before remaining vacant ten years ago.

Though the City Council hasn’t disclosed any plans for the building’s future, the facility will most likely be renovated as one of the city’s prominent structures. However, before any renovation plan is approved, the City Council will have to decide what to do with the four underground tanks underneath the property. Since no one knew whether the tanks were empty of full (with gas or fuel), city engineer Mark Kowalewski conducted an environmental study on the property and, according to The News-Herald, established that the tanks are not leaking. However, DDA is yet to determine if the tanks will be removed from the property.

In other news, Model D reports that the first phase of the Belle Isle Maintenance building renovation process is expected to complete this spring. The 20,000-square-foot building, which was designed by famous Detroiter George Mason in 1895, had become a soaring image of what used to be a strong Tudor, tile-roofed structure used as a stable for the workhorses on the island. Currently only one part of the building is actually occupied by the island staff, while the rest–covered with weeds and in very bad shape—is used as storage.

The first phase of the renovation process, which is funded by the Belle Isle Women’s Committee and executed by the Kraemer Design Group, calls for a thorough restoration of the exterior of the building, with a focus on its decaying roof. Phase two will kick off in the second half of 2012 and will concentrate on window repair and tuck pointing.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

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