The property at 23 and 25 Broad Street will be demol­ished. Collegian|Josephine Von Dohlen

The City of Hillsdale will demolish the con­demned building at 23 and 25 N. Broad Street by fall of 2019, according to Zoning Admin­is­trator Alan Beeker.  

Beeker is cur­rently going through the six bids he received for the demo process. He said he will will submit his choices to the City Council at the April 15 meeting. Beeker said he hopes to have the building torn down by the fall. Once the building is demol­ished, the city will put the lot up for sale to try to sup­plement the cost of the demo, which will cost around $200,000.  

“It’s a viable site for future devel­opment or an urban green site,” Beeker said. “Either way, it’s better than what’s hap­pening now.”

At first, the city con­sidered ren­o­vating the property through a TIFA grant. A struc­tural engineer sur­veyed the property and con­cluded that the property was beyond saving.

“The engineer who eval­uated the property has been around for a long time. I think he’s in his mid-60s,” Hillsdale County Inspector Martin Taylor said. “He also eval­uated another building at the time and that these two buildings are the first he’s ever said needed to be torn down.”

According to Taylor, 23 – 25 Broad St was one of the first buildings in Hillsdale and was most likely built in the late 19th or early 20th century.  The city dealt pri­vately with the pre­vious owner for years.

“He really didn’t do any­thing except collect rent,” Beeker said. “He didn’t fix the roof and didn’t pay his taxes. There’s only so much you can do for someone who does nothing.”

The building has a number of struc­tural problems including a dete­ri­o­rating foun­dation, a leaking roof, and missing struc­tural sup­ports.

“It’s been going on for way too long,” Beeker said. “Unfor­tu­nately, good example of what happens when nothing is done to a building.”

The building was con­demned several years ago, and Hillsdale County fore­closed on the property in April 2018. The first auction was held in August 2018, but with a starting bid of $50,000. In Michigan, starting bids for fore­closed prop­erties must be the equiv­alent of the amount owed in taxes. When no one bid on the building, another auction was held in October 2018 and the City of Hillsdale bought the building at a county tax sale for $75.

“We were con­cerned about somebody buying it and not knowing what bad of con­dition it’s in,” Beeker said.