You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 5:29 p.m.

Ypsilanti Depot Town intersection near Thompson Block reopens to traffic

By Tom Perkins

The intersection of Cross and River streets in Ypsilanti’s Depot Town has reopened to traffic in all four directions.
Support beams propping up the walls of the Thompson Block building that were in Cross Street’s westbound lane have been pushed back far enough toward the curb to allow for two-way traffic.


The beams supporting the Thompson Block have been pushed far enough to reopen lanes of traffic.

Angela Cesere |

Ypsilanti Fire Chief Jon Ichesco said he's satisfied the building is safe and stabilized while its owner, Stewart Beal, works with engineers to develop a more permanent plan.

“We’re moving in a positive direction by getting traffic open, which was a big concern,” Ichesco said. “They have given about as much as they can, and looking at how it's stabilized right now, I wouldn’t want to push them any closer to that wall.”

The support beams are stabilizing the building’s walls after a Sept. 23 fire destroyed its interior. The Ypsilanti City Council gave JC Beal Construction Inc. 45 days from Dec. 22 to present a plan to permanently stabilize the structure and 15 days to clear the roads.

Beal must provide Ichesco with a satisfactory engineer’s plan to fully support the building within the 45 days.

“They need to get this thing stabilized on the inside and make sure things aren’t falling off on people on the outside, and that’s the plan they’re coming up with now,” Ichesco said. “Long range, we’re trying to work with them yet keep them on task so we don’t have another 20 years of something just sitting there.”

Beal will update the City Council on his progress at its Jan. 12 meeting.

Tom Perkins is a freelance writer for Reach the news desk at or 734-623-2530.



Wed, Jan 6, 2010 : 6:14 p.m.

This is an open forum for expressing opinions. Just because some of those in favor of keeping the remains of the building were able to attend the council meeting doesn't make their opinions any more valuable than those posted here.

Whither Detburger

Wed, Jan 6, 2010 : 4:30 p.m.

It bears reminding that the comment section of hardly reflects the majority viewpoint. Everyone who showed up at the council meeting spoke in favor of retaining the building. It also bears reminding that the alternative to keeping this building is a vacant lot. If you think it's hard finding someone to rehabilitate an old building in Ypsilanti, try finding someone to build a new one.


Wed, Jan 6, 2010 : 3:39 p.m.

Rebuild with the same facade, it will help on the carbon footprint of the place too. He could sell those existing bricks for money too, or maybe dedicate it for some type of courtyard or paver in the area that is going to be developed at the other end of River Street across Michigan Ave, or in a nearby park. It would certainly be a kind gesture and entertwine the old and the new of Ypsilanti


Wed, Jan 6, 2010 : 11:20 a.m.

@Ypsichick, my concerns exactly! Shall we ask for some gravy for that crow? Wonder if Sidetrack would serve it!


Wed, Jan 6, 2010 : 10:58 a.m.

With all due respect to the fire chief, we need an assessment from an INDEPENDENT ENGINEER as to the present safety status. Someone's gonna get hurt when this thing falls.

Life in Ypsi

Wed, Jan 6, 2010 : 10:23 a.m.

The building has always been ugly. Just let it go and tear it down please!

Top Cat

Wed, Jan 6, 2010 : 9:02 a.m.

Resident of Ypsilanti, please do not let your elected officials permit this "shell" to become Ypsi's version of Tiger Stadium. It will never, I repeat never be developed as is. Don't let pipe dreams cloud the issue.


Wed, Jan 6, 2010 : 9 a.m.

some one who cares are you sure the sign is not referring to the side walk? I think that block is refered as Thompson Block


Wed, Jan 6, 2010 : 8:42 a.m.

@amccauley I will gladly eat crow if this project is ever completed, in fact I would rather see it finished than torn down.But considering the amount of time that nothing as been done to it you have to understand why people are so synicial about it

some one who cares!

Wed, Jan 6, 2010 : 6:33 a.m.

Hey guys did you ever take a walk down the walk way on the north side of cross street, half way between river street and the river? In there is a sign on a post that tells that the Thompson Building being made from recycle bricks from a building that BURNED! Go figure, maybe the three times fired bricks are of demo capability, after all the first is unknown and the second was in the 1890's, and the third in the 2000's. I wonder what the life expectancy is. AND, I wonder if the bricks didn't cause the fire every hunder or so years? LOL


Wed, Jan 6, 2010 : 4:40 a.m.

How is Beal handling his property at Meadow Ridge apartments off of Mi Ave? Is that not a local center for crack and prostitution? Hasn't Beal owned that a lot longer than the Thompson block. In my humble opinion both of those properties should be condemned.


Wed, Jan 6, 2010 : 3:08 a.m.

First of all, I know Stewart and I know how much this building means to him. Therefore he WILL do whatever is needed to not only save the building, but to also do it in a timely manner. For all you nah sayers, I will gladly watch you eat crow when Stewart has completed this project.


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 9:58 p.m.

I have driven past that building. It is structurally unsound and beyond repair. Just tear it down and charge the owner.


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 9:36 p.m.

Wrecking ball!! Quit holding Depot Town back.


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 9:21 p.m.

As I stated earlier I don't think anything will happen unless it falls over

Andy F

Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 8:39 p.m.

I hope our city council has some way to encourage the completion of the Thompson Block. This is only the first step. If we are still forced to look at this shell of a building 2 or 3 years from now, I will be disappointed but not surprised.


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 7:38 p.m.

This should become the new City Hall until further notice. The mayor, the council etc...all should meet in it. Maybe then this disgrace to Ypsilanti would get torn down.


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 6:54 p.m.

I`m not stupid enough to take a bet on the progress of that project.5 10 yrs from now it will look the same as it does today.In my opinion they should demo the site it`s not worth the land it set`s on.The other day I had to take the stupid detour on to a unsalted street.The street was solid ice and slid into a stop sign and ripped up my bumper.Is the city or Mr.Beal going to pay for my repair for forcing my onto a unsalted roadway.Want to make a bet on that who`s going to pay to fix my car.I`m so glad no one got hurt walking by this Detroit looking building.What about the people your forcing to drive around this dump of a building.Mr.Beal must have a lot of money to buy the city off for this long.Maybe I should send the bill to him.


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 6:28 p.m.

How much does anyone want to bet that it does'nt change any in the next five years unless it falls down


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 5:56 p.m.

That's a step in the right direction. I just hope nobody slides into the supports.