LANSING, Mich. — REO Town is known for its restaurants and grassroots businesses, but when you enter the neighborhood, you may also notice a building that residents said has been vacant for too long and has become an eyesore.
“The building looks abandoned, and it’s overgrown blight on the corner, and you just can’t miss it,” said resident Ryan Fantino.
The nearly 45,000 square foot building, located at 927 south Washington Ave., was formerly known as Washington Apartments.
Back in 2019, the city pink tagged the location, after an inspector found several unsafe living conditions.
The city tells me the owner, Washington Avenue Apartments LLC in Bingham Farms Michigan, failed to make the needed repairs, and the building was red tagged in 2021, which forced all residents to move out immediately.
“It’s just really unaspiring, to see this building get neglected because some absentee landlord is looking at this more like an investment, instead of putting in money on the front in, to make it livable,” said resident Dan Nunez.
Documents from the city show Washington Avenue Apartments LLC bought the location in 2016 for $370,000. Lansing City Council members said they’ve attempted to work with the owner to make the location better, but their efforts haven’t been successful.
“It’s obviously an eyesore and something we don’t want sitting right here,” said Councilman Brian Daniels.
Aside from the exterior not looking the best, Daniels said there is also criminal activity that comes along with a vacant building.
“ We’ve had people break in as well,” Daniels said, “So there are actually boarded up windows in the back, and there was actually a break in today, so what we’ll do is call the LPD have them go in and assess the location, make sure no one is inside and then board up those windows."
While people aren’t allowed to live inside the building, we’re told the city can’t take much action against the owners because they are taking care of the outside and making sure it's up to standards.
The future plans for the building are still unclear, but REO Town residents are hopeful one day they can be proud and walk by it again.
“I would love if the current owner or somebody new rehabbed the building and turned it back into resident space,” Fontino said.
“I would just like to see people back here,” Nunez said.
We did reach out to Washington Avenue Apartments LLC, but we did not receive a response.