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.