Thompson block called safety hazard

On July 8, independent engineers with the Bingham Farms firm of Wiss, Janney and Elstner Associates, inspected what remains of Ypsilanti’s historic Thompson Block. According to, their findings were made public today. Following is a clip from the article:

…A new report conducted by an independent engineer says a portion of the Thompson Blockbuilding could collapse into Cross Street.

The report also detailed extensive damage to portions of the exterior walls and recommended 70 percent of the west wall and 40 percent of the south wall be demolished and replaced.

The city and (Stewart) Beal are currently in court-ordered facilitation over a dispute on how to proceed with reconstruction of the historic structure, which was significantly damaged in a fire last September…

Beal said he hasn’t seen the report and declined to comment on its specifics. But he said his engineers’ own assessments, which were provided to the city, found the shoring system to be stable…

So, where does this leave us? As the City now has a report stating that there’s a likelihood that the wall will tumble into Cross Street, are there liability issues to be considered? Could someone injured by falling debris now not only go after Beal in court, but after the City as well, given that they’ve now been made aware of the danger? And, if so, doesn’t the City have to move quickly to tear down the walls in question? I’m not terribly acquainted with the law, but it would seem to me that, at this point, it’s incumbent on the City to step in in the interest of public safety, like it or not.

And, speaking of the former Civil War barracks, has anyone heard whether or not police have made any headway in their search for the individual accused of burning it down? It’s been almost four months now since they began their search, and I haven’t heard a peep.

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  1. Ronald Reagan
    Posted August 10, 2010 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    Tear down this wall, Mr. Beal.

  2. Posted August 10, 2010 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know if they are searching for him or not, but here is his facebook account:!/profile.php?id=100001007387936

    and here is his friends…if you look close, you can see him in the background, as his friend is getting high here:!/profile.php?id=100000932991291

  3. Posted August 10, 2010 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    actually, just search his name…he comes up. The profile of his friend, with him in the picture is also under the name Scott Elwell…he police…maybe you could ask him…

  4. Posted August 10, 2010 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    sorry…I meant “hey police”…nothing says dumbass like getting high in your social networking pic : )

  5. Abba fan
    Posted August 10, 2010 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    Best quote ever from his Facebook page.

    “i love tits and happyness”

  6. FF
    Posted August 11, 2010 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Say what you will about David Kircher, at least he knew how to lock the doors and keep guys like this out. This whole situation, which has been fucked up from day one, clearly illustrates how clueless we are as a community. We couldn’t come together to do something as easy as do a crossword puzzle if our lives depended on it.

  7. Elf
    Posted August 11, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Would we be arrested if, to protect our families, we went over tonight and pushed the walls in?

  8. Steph's Dad
    Posted August 11, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Someone from Beal’s side, perhaps Stewart himself, recently left a comment on the site. Here it is.

    Posted 3 hours ago

    All of the comments stating that Beal has had almost a year to do something with it and he must not have the finances…the city wouldn’t allow Beal to do anything with it for almost a year. The second the city gave him the green light dumpsters started showing up and workers started showing up to clean out the ruins. It’s funny how many of you are so quick to state that the building isn’t salvageable – if it truly wasn’t the permits to begin work and to shore the building wouldn’t have been issued. Also, work has begun there! People have been there every day of the week working to get all of the ruins out of the building…what else do you want? That is the first step to renovating the building. Beal HAD to have shown that the building can be renovated to win the demolition battle with the city. That shored up building withstood a bad winter, a series of bad storms this season and everyone that has been working in it. No one has faith anymore – don’t you think Beal wants it renovated and rented out just as bad as the next person?? Do you honestly feel that he wants to let it sit there?? And @ Rasputin – if you are SO sick of looking at the building when you come to Ypsilanti, don’t come out here anymore! You’re all so quick to jump on the band wagon to destroy the building but none of you are willing to give it a chance…what difference does it make to any of you? None of you have a lease there waiting for the restoration so you can contribute to Ypsilanti – none of you are vested at all in the Thompson Block’s restoration – and for the record…Beal didn’t pay for that survey, the City of Ypsilanti did AFTER Beal had a 3rd party structural engineer firm deem the shoring safe and restoration possible.

  9. Aardvark
    Posted August 11, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps one the best things Stuart Beal could do is have a work crew at the Thompson Building during all three days of the Heritage Festival. At least if people from out of town see work being done there, it might help raise the opinion of our City.

  10. notoneofthecoolkids
    Posted August 11, 2010 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    I am just fed up with people saying “Stewart has done so much for Ypsilanti.”
    What has he done? I am totally serious, so he bought some empty houses, so what…he just is a business man. and not a good one at that.

  11. kjc
    Posted August 16, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    i ran into a couple of women the other day who were moving out from one of Beal’s houses. The report was not good. I’m not impressed by people who buy up properties and then play shitty landlord.

    And this amazes me.

  12. Andy Ypsilanti
    Posted August 16, 2010 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been living in a Beal building for the last year, and it wasn’t the best appartment living experience I’ve ever had, but it wasn’t terrible either. I planned to move to a larger place with them, but had a place I couldn’t pass up fall into my lap.

    I’m also not at all surprised by this award. Mr. Beal has been successful by almost any measure, and does give back to the community. He jumped at the chance to improve his properties as part of a new effort to bring private landlords into PRIDE. He also provided a crew and truck to the Water Street Trail Project workday on Saturday; without their help we could have never accomplished as much as we had. That’s just two examples I’m aware of.

    Look, everybody wants to make this gut out to be the devil, and he’s just not. The Thopson Block situation is unfortunate, but I would hazard to say that, if it had not been for that arsonist, pretty much nobody would know who Stewart Beal is, other than a guy who owns a lot of properties in Ypsi.

  13. BG Locivore
    Posted August 16, 2010 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    People forget how narrowly held power is in small town Ypsi. Beal’s challenging the landed elect. He’s not perfect, but I like a new face in the game. I like the idea of opening the local scene and economy up.

    If Beal can make the Thompson Block work it will be a coup. I’m pulling for the success of this project.

  14. kjc
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    I’m glad you had a good experience, Andy. I don’t think it’s the only one people have renting from him. in fact i know it’s not.

    And no i don’t think he’s the devil. And I knew who he was before the arson blah blah. I think the guy’s disingenuousness has been on full display for many months. I think “Mr. Beal has been successful by almost any measure” is untrue in my case: I’m not measuring him by his business success.

    So thanks for setting me straight, but I think we have a difference of opinion.

  15. Kim
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    It looks like Beal got his tax credits from the state and building permits from city. And while he’s still got a few million to raise, he says he’s starting work.

  16. kjc
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Before the fire it was about the economic downturn. Then it was about the fire. Soon it will again be about the economic downturn, when the other $2.2 million doesn’t show up. I hope I’m wrong and that he has the resources. But I’m skeptical.

    We should xref these comments to the personal responsibility thread. Let’s see, $1.8 million divided by $133 a month…

  17. Grouchy
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    The important thing to note about Stewart is that he’s a self-made man, and had no help whatsoever from his family. Sure, they’ve been in the building trades for generations, but they didn’t lift a finger to help him. Nor would he take their help if they had offered. He’s that kind of rugged, hard working, man’s man. You’re all just jealous because you don’t have what it takes to make it on your own, in spite of your family’s success, not because of it. He’s like our very own Paris Hilton.

  18. notoneofthecoolkids
    Posted August 18, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Hey Grouchy – couldn’t let you have the last word. So here it goes…were can I buy some of those rose colored glasses you wear?

  19. Mandy Ypsilanti
    Posted August 18, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Hey notoneofthecoolkids, just borrow Andy Ypsilanti’s glasses.

  20. Brackinald Achery
    Posted August 18, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    The issue probably has more to do with whether he’s actually doing wrong or not, rather than whether he’s rich or not, or whether he has contributed a lot to the city or not, or whether he is an asshole or not. While jealousy does often make people act like a-holes for no other good reason, it is probably not the primary motivating factor in this particular case.

  21. Ted
    Posted August 18, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Me thinks Mr. Gouchy was employing a literary device known as sarcasm.

    My question is, who funded Little Stewie’s Historic Equities Fund, and why in the hell aren’t they taking him to court? If I invested in a development fund that didn’t ensure its assets, I’d have lawyers on him in a minute. That is, unless I was related.

  22. kjc
    Posted August 18, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    thanks, Ted. I assumed Grouchy was sarcastic as well. and informed, as Paris Hilton has announced she plans to open a hotel.

  23. Andy Ypsilanti
    Posted August 18, 2010 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    Is it really that crazy to say that no one would be talking about Stewart Beal if it wern’t for the Thompson Block fire? Or looking through rose colored glasses to say I’m not surprised the Jaycee’s gave him an award (the criteria is: young, sucessful in business, gives to the community) Or to say that I didn’t have a terrible experience living in one of his buildings?

    Maybe they have been pumping mind control drugs into the water pipes, but if it weren’t for the fire, this award might have been the only thing to make the news about Beal this year. That’s all I’m saying.

  24. itchy
    Posted August 19, 2010 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Andy — Stewart wants to please you as a tenant because you excessively comment on here and– plan and simple and the truth. I guess the bed bugs didn’t get to your apartment or you weren’t home when the heat was out for days. I think if some of his tenants knew about this blog we would hear a lot more from them here.

  25. kjc
    Posted August 19, 2010 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    “Is it really that crazy to say that no one would be talking about Stewart Beal if it wern’t for the Thompson Block fire? ”

    It’s not crazy. I just said it’s not true in my case. As I’ve said before, I came to this blog years ago because I googled “Thompson Block”. I was wondering what was up with the property since it had a sign up saying it was going to open within months, which obviously wasn’t true. I was hoping to hear that renovation was starting soon, etc.

  26. Captain Magnificent
    Posted August 22, 2010 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    @ Ronald Reagan – way to rip off my comment from Of course, I’m sure you’ll pull a Ronald Reagan and claim to have no recollection of doing so… maybe Ollie North will take the fall for this too.

  27. lorie thom
    Posted August 31, 2010 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Seems the court case has been dismissed…um, how we ‘doin on that strategy of overreaching demands on the property owner now?

  28. Ed Toth
    Posted August 31, 2010 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Here’s an article about the current status.

  29. wetdolphinmissile
    Posted August 31, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Not dismissed lorie, an agreement was reached…

  30. I Cry Sometimes
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    Are there any updates as to the status of this project? Is the structure likely to withstand the first snowfall?

  31. Rocco Rains
    Posted January 8, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    This Guy Stewart Beal is a Scum Bag!! 99% of his rentals are crap and not maintained!! There is Sewage backing up in most of his places!! If you rent from Beal…You’ll be sorry!! The only reason he wants the Thompson Block to be rebuilt is 1-Tax credits 2-more tenants 3-he scammed the previous owner out of it!!
    People…do your homework before you deal with this guy and his rentals, you’ll be sorry if you don’t!!
    His dad gives him all the work, he couldn’t do it with out him…1-same office
    2-same name 3-same lawyer(his mom) 4-same cars/trucks/vans 5-his dad it the vp of the company(Beal Inc.) and gives his son(stewart) the work!!
    Go ahead and check it out…221 felch A2

  32. Meta
    Posted April 9, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    The Thompson buildings are now, according to Beal, being developed as 20+ apartments, that he’s calling lofts.

  33. Billy LaLonde
    Posted April 25, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    Today is April 25th. Why is all that bullshit still in my street? Check the article on Today was the deadline for removing all the scaffolding from Cross Steet.

  34. Posted April 25, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    I saw a guy at the top corner mortaring bricks. Looked like a chunk fell off. I wonder if they stopped going through the motions of taking down the scaffolding because a chunk fell off.

  35. Boy O Boy
    Posted April 25, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    Billy you own that street? If I had to chose between a small business “intruding” on government property (a public owned street) or government intruding on a tax paying small business I’d suggest YOU/GOVERNMENT get off the street.

  36. dragon
    Posted April 25, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    If I had to chose between a small business “intruding” on government property (a public owned street) or government intruding on a tax paying small business I’d suggest YOU/GOVERNMENT get off the street.

    Little pitchy, dawg. Didn’t work for me. Sorry.

  37. Posted April 25, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    He doesn’t own the street, though. I don’t get to build an outhouse for myself out in the middle of Riverside Park, and block it off for 10 feet around so nobody else comes near it, then just leave it there to stink up the place. You either have to buy the public property, or tear down this shit hole.

  38. Boy O Boy
    Posted April 25, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    Nice opinion Black Jake but if your house burnt down would you want your neighbors telling you where to pee and casting judgment on what you did with your land? Who “owns” the street? People bitching around town or the man who owns the the property around it? All this “street” talk is just subterfuge for people trying to tell the owner what to do with his property.

  39. Posted April 25, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know how much stock I put in it, but, as Meta noted, Beal was saying not too long ago that his people were going to begin working on the block with the intention of creating lofts. Maybe that announcement was timed to coincide with the deadline Billy mentions, though. Hopefully one of our friendly neighborhood City Council members will come along and give us an update.

  40. Billy LaLonde
    Posted April 25, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    Boy O Big Boy, I pay taxes, so, in part, it is my street. I’m not telling Mr. Beal what to do with his property. I could care less if the whole building falls in on itself, or becomes a beautiful group of lofts. But his scaffolding and other junk is still in MY street, and on my sidewalk. If it was on his property, then so be it…but it’s not, so your whole point is moot. I grow tired of driving and walking around it. It creates a blind corner that is not safe for pedestrians or auto traffic.

  41. Boy O Boy
    Posted April 25, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    Blind corners? Public safety? That’s your concern? Then let’s pass laws on trees and bushes. That’s the new America. Lawyers and intrusion.
    Let’s make everyone stand in their front yards wearing school guard uniforms.

    How many accidents have occurred at this “dangerous blind corner” in the last twenty four months? Hint. Zero. ZERO!

    Is that what “attracted” you to this? What’s your real concern? How many “blind corners” have you “identified” in your neighborhood? Beal is intruding less than a few parked cars. I don’t care what he does with his property. What I do care about is a bunch of people counting down the clock and waiting to enlist “government” to tell him what to do.

  42. Posted April 26, 2011 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Nice opinion Boy-o, but he still doesn’t own the street. Respecting property rights means not trespassing on property that doesn’t belong to you, which in this case is the street. Like it or not, it IS public property that he doesn’t have any legal right to usurp with the life support for his undead crap factory.

  43. Posted April 26, 2011 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    …and if a bunch of parked cars were there for as long as his scaffolding has been, my guess is they’d have been ticketed and/or towed by now.

  44. gary
    Posted April 26, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    send emails to the mayor, robb, murdoch, and the city manager asking them what in the fuck they plan to do about this.

3 Trackbacks

  1. By What’s up with the Thompson Block? on April 26, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    […] begin on September 23, 2009, the day after the building was set ablaze. We’ve had lots of good posts about the Thompson Block since then, but I think my favorite was the one on November 2, 2009, about […]

  2. […] While I’d like to think that we could just come together as a community and mourn this man’s passing, and allow the inevitable investigation to run its course before attempting to cast blame, it looks as though the conversation online is already turning toward Beal’s possible culpability. Given the controversy that has swirled around the redevelopment of the old Civil War barrack since it was set on fire by a squatter in the early fall of 2009, it’s not that surprising. Rightly or wrongly, many in this community feel as though Beal, who is one of the City’s largest property owners, has been less than forthcoming in his dealings with the City concerning the development of the block, and not terribly proactive with regard to safety. […]

  3. […] August 10, 2010: Thompson block called safety hazard […]

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