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Posted on Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Sesi Motors demolishing its former Ypsilanti Township dealership

By Tom Perkins


Demolition is underway on the former Sesi dealership in Ypsilanti Township.

Tom Perkins | For

Sesi Motors is tearing down its half-century-old dealership on East Michigan Avenue in Ypsilanti Township.

But the Scio Township-based auto dealer isn’t planning to sell the property.

Instead, Joe Sesi, Sesi’s president, said he plans to hold onto it and redevelop it at some point in the future.

“I think (the East Michigan Avenue corridor) will turn around eventually, it just takes time. These things don’t happen overnight,” Sesi said. “But I think it’s very viable. My preference is to redevelop it, but not necessarily for an auto dealership.”

Sesi said the 30,000-square-foot building that sits on nine acres of land near the intersection of East Michigan Avenue and Ecorse Road was a single-use property and he didn’t want to sell it to another dealership.


Demolition of the former Sesi Dealership is underway.

Tom Perkins | For

“There are not a whole lot of uses for it. It’s just better to bring the building down and at some future date we’ll develop it,” Sesi said.

The family-owned dealership consolidated its Ypsilanti Township operation into its Scio Township location at 3990 Jackson Road in August of 2011. Sesi said auto companies are trying to rearrange their footprint, the building was 50 years old and it made business sense to move to the Scio Township location.

Ypsilanti Township Supervisor Brenda Stumbo called the dealership “an icon” of the community.

“They had to make a business decision to relocate, but it’s sad to see the building come down,” she said. “Hopefully with the economy coming back and with our redevelopment plans for the Michigan Avenue corridor we will have the land redeveloped."

Ypsilanti Township recently purchased the property directly across the street from Sesi from tax foreclosure with the aim of being able to choose what type of development goes into the former trailer park.

The township has made redeveloping East Michigan Avenue a priority. Several new businesses have opened up and the township has worked to clear blight and prostitution that once plagued the area.

Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter. Contact the news desk at



Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 12:46 a.m.

It might could be that new car dealerships and trailer parks don't help each other out much.


Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 2:26 p.m.

That really conjurs up some bad imaging there. Just glad to see it all going away.

dading dont delete me bro

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 4:03 p.m.

some pictures showed up on the 'i grew up in ypsilanti' facebook page a couple weeks ago...? nothing like timely reporting

dading dont delete me bro

Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 11:22 a.m.

I'm sorry you don't get out much mr.dodger.

Roger Dodger

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 10:09 p.m.

Why is it people in the comments here take a shot at this site every chance they get? This isn't exactly an earth-shattering story. It's the first I've heard about it and I live in City of Ypsi and work in Ann Arbor. So, thanks


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 4:39 p.m.

LOL Dading. I agree with the traffic speed , it might be the thing that can slow the speed down. Use to work at a store on michigan ave. by harris, and the traffic goes way way faster then the 45 posted..Not sure what could go in there..I can see another restaurant?.

dading dont delete me bro

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 4:26 p.m.

family dollar

Kyle Mattson

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 4:19 p.m.

Sorry dading- Katrease Stafford, our Ypsilanti reporter has been out on maternity leave so Tom has been filling in as best possible. We'll be back to full strength, and a bit more timely reporting soon! Any specific thoughts regarding this site? It will definitely be a change of scenery along MI-Ave...


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 3:57 p.m.

The out-of-town landowners sitting on vacant or dilapidated properties and "waiting for someone else to do something" are a big problem for Ypsi area, both city and Township.


Sat, Jul 27, 2013 : 2:25 p.m.

Brenda and her attorney are hard at work getting people to bone up to the table and do their job. Otherwise she takes them to court and the property is theirs and once again nature takes over once the buildings are gone.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 3:24 p.m.

Once things improve I do see a strip mall going in there on both sides. But the problem is people get up to speed once they get over that bridge. So what ever goes in there? Is going to have to think about traffic control as well. Glad to hear things are clipping along. Now Brenda, what about that vacant furniture store? Huh?


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 4:35 p.m.

Sorry Kate.. but Tyners furniture is right next door...


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 4:25 p.m.

The former Smith Furniture store is in the city, not the township, jns131. Brenda has no say on that, but if you've read the news recently you know that the city is going after it.,

Honest Abe

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 3:10 p.m.

Perkins- They began tearing this place down about 2 weeks ago. Yesterday's news my friend.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 1:43 p.m.

Bet he wished he sold it 10 years back. Now that its worth only "peanuts" he's hanging on and hoping the area will come back.

shadow wilson

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 4:02 p.m.

I don't think he is hurting for money........


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 11:48 a.m.

it will be missed. great history for ypsi and the sesi family.

Gordon Dooley

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 11:45 a.m.

I can remember my dad taking me in to visit "Old Man Sesi" and he always had jokes and candy lol. Sad to see this icon go, but I would like to point out that at least they took responsibility and took the facility down to prevent another eye sore for East Michigan Ave. Now if we can see some solid redevelopment in the near future that would be great....


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 11:37 a.m.

Makes sense if their plan is to keep the property for the foreseeable future. Taxes are a lot cheaper on a vacant lot than one with structures. It makes me wonder why more people with old run-down buildings don't demolish them (unless they aren't the type to worry themselves with paying taxes).


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 1:45 p.m.

Ah, it costs big bucks to tear an old building down and things like the EPA make the costs higher yet.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 12:17 p.m.

there are a number of reasons why, most make little sense to anyone but the owner. In some cases you may have a non-conforming bulding that gets grandfathered into current zoning (especially signage) although most progressive communities have sunsets on grandfathering when the property is unused. Another reason is that despite the condition of the building, the bones may be good, and its cheaper to rehab than rebuild. Besides, as the owner, you dont know what the next user is going to want, they may want to take it over, cheaper than if it was updated, or be ok with some vintage aspect of it. Like I said, makes little sense, I would rather see them be torn down, but these are some reasons I've heard directly from the property owners!

Elaine F. Owsley

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 11:03 a.m.

Sesi has set an example other businesses might follow. Then, perhaps there wouldn't be so many derelict buildings in the area making more blight.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 10:42 a.m.

Near the intersection of East Michigan Avenue and Grove Road? I would say near Ecorse Rd and Michigan Ave.

Tom Perkins

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 1:41 p.m.

Thanks, cybercitizen. The story has been corrected.

dading dont delete me bro

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 11:37 a.m.

sorry, I posted before yours loaded up on my bad.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 11:23 a.m.

I agree.It's really not even close to Grove and Prospect is even closer

Red Barber

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 11:23 a.m.

That's what I would say, too.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 10:07 a.m.

I am glad it is being demolished instead of just sitting and rotting like Smith Furniture! That is showing responsibility on the part of the owner.