Since people are discussing this in the comments section following an old thread, I thought that I’d move the subject up here, to the front page…
Today is April 26th, which means, according to the interpretations of some, that Stewart Beal has missed the deadline that he’d negotiated with City Council, by which time he was supposed to have taken down all the scaffolding holding up Ypsilanti’s second most cursed development project – the old Civil War barrack known as the Thompson Block. I say, “according to the interpretations of some,” because there seems to be some confusion over what the agreement actually says. Here, with more, is a clip from AnnArbor.com:
An April 25 deadline to remove shoring from Cross Street that’s propping up the Thompson Block’s walls has arrived, but some bracing remains in the road.
Developer Stewart Beal, who manages the building’s redevelopment effort, said the remaining shoring will be removed within days.
He also said he disagreed that there was a binding deadline requiring it to be out of the street on Monday…
Beal said the consent judgment entered to settle the lawsuit doesn’t require the scaffolding to be removed until Sept. 2, 2011.
The settlement states, “By 9/2/2011, and in accordance with the schedule attached as exhibit B, Historic Equities will arrange for and complete the restoration of the East Cross and River Street facades of the building, and remove all exterior shoring from the (city’s) right of way.”
Exhibit B lists around 30 construction tasks, along with time frames and deadlines for their completion. It says the shoring must be out of Cross Street by April 25.
Beal said the consent agreement’s wording clearly states the deadline to complete the work is Sept. 2. Beal said the construction schedule is only a list of tasks that need to be completed to finish the project and the dates aren’t legally binding.
“The only drop-dead date we agreed on with the city is September 1, 2011, and we will meet that,” Beal said…
At this point, I don’t have much to say. If you’re curious as to what I think, you can read through all of the old posts. They begin on September 23, 2009 – the day after the historic 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 the City Manager giving Beal an additional 10 days to start the process of removing the scaffolding. Here’s a quote from the City Manager at the time:
…In the order we are asking the property owner to either demolish (obviously after obtaining historic district commission approval), or in the alternative, permanently stabilize the structure from the interior so the roadway is no longer blocked…
And then there was that heated discussion we had on March 1, 2010, about whether or not we should give Beal an additional six months, after having missed his first few deadlines. That was a good one too.
In Beal’s defense, with the state eliminating historic preservation tax credits, and with no one investing in Michigan at the moment, I’m not sure what options he has left at this point. But I don’t know that this excuses his flagrant disregard for City government and our elected leaders… Please feel free to discuss it amongst yourselves. I’ve got beer to drink.
update: I was just forwarded the following note from City Manager Ed Koryzno to the members of the Ypsi City Council.
Mayor and Council Members:
As you know, yesterday was the deadline for Historic Equities Fund I LLC to remove their support system from the Cross Street right-of-way. Pursuant to the Consent Agreement, our attorney Daniel Christ has contacted the court appointed mediator to set a meeting to resolve this matter, as soon as possible. My intent is to have the court order the removal of the structure. Please contact me if you should have any questions.
Edward B. Koryzno Jr.
update: And here’s the letter from the attorney that accompanied the last update.
update: And here’s the follow-up note from Ed Koryzno to City Council.
Mayor and Council members:
In the event you receive questions about the city’s strategy for moving forward on this issue I offer the following.
The strategy is to meet with the mediator as soon as possible (per the letter sent today), demonstrate to the mediator the agreed upon deadline has not been met by Historic Equities I LLC, remind the court that the city’s federally funded paving project is in jeopardy if it cannot begin June 1 and demand that the mediator and/or judge order the structure removed.
Mr. Beal submitted construction plans for this work, our Building official is monitoring construction on the building according to those plans, he is satisfied with the work to date and he will require that Beal’s structural engineer submit paperwork to the city certifying the building’s structural integrity before the support system is removed.
Please contact me if you should have any questions.
Edward B. Koryzno Jr.
update: From what I’m told, later in the day, the following note was also sent by Ed Koryzno. This, as it’s been explained to me, does not pertain to the Thompson Block but to the Beal-owned portion of the Kresge building downtown.
Mayor and Council Members:
Mr. Stewart Beal informed me last week that Go Downtown LLC has filed suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to set aside the city’s revocation of the OPRA. I have turned this matter over to the city’s insurance carrier…. Please contact me if you have any questions.
update: The emails just keep rolling in… Here’s Beal’s court filing concerning the revocation of the OPRA status that was referenced in the last update.