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Posted on Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.

Crews begin demolition of Gault Village K-Mart abandoned for more than 20 years

By Tom Perkins


Crews have begun demolition of a section of the K-Mart facing Grove Road.

Tom Perkins | For

For several years, Ypsilanti Township and Washtenaw County Circuit Court-ordered deadlines to demolish or repair the Gault Village K-Mart have come and gone.

On Dec. 20, cranes could finally be seen breaking down the walls of the cinder block structure.

“We’re very happy that it’s finally coming down,” said Mike Radzik, director of the township’s office of community standards.

The 235,000-square-foot Gault Village Shopping Center and K-Mart along Grove Road near Interstate 94 are owned by Sylvan Township-based Union Lake Associates. The company was ordered by Judge Donald Shelton to tear down the K-Mart by the beginning of September 2011 and make other repairs throughout Gault Village.

Among other issues, the K-Mart has a collapsing roof, crumbling outer wall and mold infestation. The alley behind the building on the southside borders a residential neighborhood and was barricaded for the past year. It has been attractive to vandals and the crumbling wall caused safety concerns.

Officials have reported that the building has suffered from years of neglect.


Former K-Mart in the Gault Village Shopping Center shown in 2011.

Tom Perkins | For

“This is huge for the Gault Village neighborhood to the south and east, especially people living directly behind the K-Mart,” Radzik said. “I have to believe people living along there are celebrating because they’ve been living with this for quite a number of years.”

The K-Mart and the plaza suffered after an exit at nearby I-94 was closed due to safety issues. Township officials have said Union Lake plans to split the lot from the rest of Gault Village and try to attract new development to an out-lout. Union Lake representatives couldn't be reached by

Union Lake also agreed to repair or tear down shelters over sidewalks that were collapsing. Mold also was discovered in other parts of the plaza, though it has since been removed.

Other national chains in the plaza include a Hollywood Video, Family Dollar and Aco Hardware store.

Despite the other repairs, the K-Mart, which has stood abandoned for more than 20 years, remained.

Ypsilanti Township attorneys previously said Union Lake claimed it was financially unable to complete the demolition in 2011 and through much of 2012.

When Shelton ordered the K-Mart demolished for a second time by July 2012, plans were stalled by several issues. The state rejected an asbestos assessment first provided by Union Lake’s contractor, and special considerations were taken to remove asbestos-laced materials.

The project also is complex because Measurement Inc., a company that grades standardized test scores from local school districts, occupies the adjoining unit in the plaza. A new exterior wall had to be built next to Measurement Inc’s interior wall before tearing the old building down.

Township engineers and building officials had concerns over Union Lake’s plans, which delayed the project.

Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter for


Fresh Start

Thu, Jan 3, 2013 : 2:03 p.m.

This is good news for the greater Ypsilanti area but leaving a vacant building up for 20 years is stupid. We have to better than this. How about a new state law requiring buildings vacated for numerous years to be demolished? Think Detroit....Grand Central Station... The mining industry sets aside money for land reclamation...maybe big box retailers should too...


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 4:40 a.m.

Back in the early 70's that place was booming, however it is time for it to go. Hope they have better luck with development than what the Water Street Project is having. Wow, a family dollar on the Water Street Project. I am so impressed Ypsi.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 11:27 p.m.

I can't believe a simple article provokes such negative nasty comments.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 10:54 p.m.

How about a mini-prison? Yhat way it wouldn't take too long to travel for family visitations.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 3:03 a.m. " answered' my question a few months ago and for some reason my reply was always deleted.I'm sure you remember it so here is my reply.No you didn't , no you don't and no you haven't


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 10:11 p.m.

How about ACO building an independent store. A clean grocery store would be nice and perhaps a Golden Coral buffet.

Linda Cadotte

Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 7:32 p.m.

Boy does this bring back memories. My very first job out of high school was with WT Grants. The store was originally at the east end where ACO is or was but shortly after I started working for Grants they built a new store at the west end of the center. Wasn't long after that though that Grants filed bankruptcy and the store closed in 1974-75. I was with them for 5 years right up until the doors closed. Best 5 years of my working career. Sad to see how the area has declined but when they closed the exit off of I-94 at Grove Road that was the start of the end. Hopefully newer tenants will start going in and the area will once again prosper.

dading dont delete me bro

Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 5:29 p.m.

that whole mall can go. i'd like to see aco build their own building. i supported aco when i lived there. i still will stop in there for my usualy seasonal items.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 1:54 a.m.

@TommyJ: Ask the owners why it fell into disrepair. Or, invite them to check it out themselves. Problem is, you'd need to give them a map to find it.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 10:42 p.m.

The Aco there is awesome, that's a great hardware store. There's no reason why that place has fallen into such disrepair, there's a huge neighborhood there that should support a mall and major businesses. I hope to see it improve.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 7:32 p.m.

As someone who lives in the Gault Village neighborhood, I appreciate having both ACO and Family Dollar around for emergencies. Mama Mia's is decent as well. I'd live without all three, though I'd prefer they stick around if given a choice.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 5:27 p.m.

Why not reopen that entrance/exit onto I-94 so a business has a chance of staying open while we are at it?

dading dont delete me bro

Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 5:04 p.m.

"Other national chains in the plaza include a Hollywood Video..." hollywood video's been out of there for YEARS. when is the rest of that sespool going to be razed?


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 3:12 p.m.

Who would name a shopping center "Gault Village"? Was "Bankrupt Crossing" already taken? ...and nice to see they didn't rush into this demolition - I'm sure the next tenant was always just around the corner even after almost any Michigan building is done after two winters without careful maintenance.

N.M. Porter

Tue, Jan 1, 2013 : 1:26 a.m.

Last time I checked, most places in the known Universe are named after 1.) people; 2.) things; or 3.) topigraphical/geological markers...


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 2:59 a.m.

Not negative - informative. Trying to teach the clueless masses to be less so.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 11:25 p.m.

did someone dump your cheerios?.. why so negative simply because of a name from 40 years ago?.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 9 p.m.

That's an amateurish reason to name a shopping center and it shows. After the freeway ramp was closed, that location was doomed. ...and certainly the Ford plant closing was another nail in it's coffin.

Kyle Mattson

Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 7:48 p.m.

Thanks for adding that link Brad!


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 7:34 p.m.

Plaza and neighborhood are named after John Gault, who owned a farm on the land in question and was involved with the creation of Riverside and Frog Island parks. Source:


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 3:47 p.m.

shepard....It's been Gault Village for over 40 years and before the auto industry in that area went belly up it was doing quite well thank you very much


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 2:40 p.m.

Those of us living around the incredibly dilapidated Georgetown Mall here in the 4th ward can only look on with envy. But you have to have your priorities ...


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 11:52 p.m.

Though these are different wards, cities, etc if they were the same the priority would be this building as its been abandoned far longer than Georgetown.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 4:56 p.m.

@Jim: Unless, of course, you want to run for office yourself.

Thinking over here

Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 4:34 p.m.

Is Georgetown in Ypsi township?? I didn't think it was, so I am confused on the issue of "priority" - theyre not on the same list....


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 3:09 p.m.

But we're only allowed to vote for those candidates approved by the Party and the Chairman.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 2:51 p.m.

If you really wanted Georgetown to come down, you would get up on there and punch holes in the roof, so it would deteriorate faster. Also, organize a neighborhood campaign to smoke crack and pimp prostitutes out of there. Break some doors so it is accessible to vagrants, criminals and vandals. More graffiti on Packard would help, too. Or, you could vote in a council member that cares about the quality of their neighborhood and is responsive to their constituents concerns.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 2:39 p.m.

they need to fix the other end also.. where Rite-aid use to be.. that is horrible back there. There is also a new pizza place at the other end where Rent-a center was.. or is...


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 1:59 p.m.

Correction-- Only ACO Hardware and Family Dollar (and possibly Rent-A-Center, if this retail location has not moved yet) are the only "national" retail chains in the Gault Village Plaza. Hollywood Video filed for bankruptcy about two years ago, and closed all of the former retailers chain stores in Ypsilanti, including its' Gault Village and Washtenaw Avenue locations.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 7:26 p.m.

Rent-A-Center moved into Paint Creek a few months back. The current list of tenants is: Mama Mia's Pizza, Family Dollar, Advance America (cash advance), Dollar Stores (a generic ... dollar store!), ACO, China One, Gault Village Cleaners, and Measurement Inc.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 1:52 p.m.

For much of the past year one side of the alley was barricaded with only three orange construction barrels and caution tape. Didn't do much to stop the occasional graffiti, prostitution, et cetera. Someone put up stronger looking fencing sometime around Thanksgiving. Also, two edits / corrections: "out-lout" Hollywood Video went bankrupt and closed in 2010.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 1:31 p.m.

Looks like a great location for a new Family Dollar store...


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 1:10 a.m.

Brad gets it.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 8:35 p.m.

Another student high-rise?

Homeland Conspiracy

Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 6:25 p.m.

I say it's a great place for another drug store.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 2:55 p.m.

how about another apartment building or a convenience store.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 1:49 p.m.

There's already a Family Dollar in the same complex, which has recently been remodeled. That's actually the big reason why I was confused about the Water Street Family Dollar idea, considering Gault Village is less than two miles away from Water Street.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 1:03 p.m.

Eerily, once finally inside the shadowed remains of the long-abandoned KMart, demolition workers found a ghostly blue light still slowly revolving above a display case full of discarded hyphens.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 4:43 p.m.

Thank you for the much needed laugh! :0


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 2:54 p.m.

i love ity


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 11:30 a.m.

>> The company was ordered by Judge Donald Shelton to tear down the K-Mart by the beginning of September 2011 and make other repairs throughout Gault Village. The speed of progress is breath taking!