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 Mon, May 20, 2013 : 5:56 a.m.

Luxury lofts, commercial space listed for lease at Ypsilanti's Thompson Block

By Katrease Stafford


Thompson Block owner Stewart Beal provided a rendering of what the Thompson Block site will look like by the time construction is completed.

Courtesy Stewart Beal

The Thompson Block property in Ypsilanti has officially been listed. Leases and letters of intent for 16 luxury lofts and about 14,000 square feet of commercial space will be accepted over the next three months.

"Everything is going really well so far," said Howard Hanna real estate agent Tyler Weston, who listed the property Friday. "We've been approached by six different business owners. Even without advertising we've gotten quite a lot of interest. We have three people interested in loft space."

The 148-year-old Depot Town building is owned by Stewart Beal, who said he expects a $4 million investment to redevelop the property.

The 16 lofts are each priced at about $12 per square foot and will range in size, with the largest being around 1,110 square feet. Weston said monthly rates will range from less than $800 up to around $1,300.

Leases will be available within the next three months for the loft space, Weston said.

The commercial space will be priced at $16 per square foot. According to the listing, the commercial spaces range from 1,100 square feet up to the entire 14,000-square-foot commercial space.

Construction is slated to begin in late 2013 or early 2014 and work is expected to be completed with a certificate of occupancy by early 2015.

Weston said he's spoken with people who have expressed interest in a small amount of commercial space, as well as those who are interested in the full amount.

"We’ve been in talks with both of those," Weston said. "At this point, the space is still very open and anyone can pretty much come in with their imagination. We're looking to get 100 percent of space committed before September. As the space is delineated, those things will kind of weave themselves out."

Weston said letters of intent will go out for the commercial space in the next three months. Actual leases won't be available for the commercial space until a later date, at which point deposits will be made.

The people expressing interest were trying to find space for retail stores, a bar, restaurants, a fitness studio and office space, Weston said.

Weston said he's "fairly confident" the entire property will be redeveloped and fully leased.

"In terms of our lending ability to get loans, we're looking pretty good on that front," he said. "If all the other things go as planned, we shouldn't have any problems getting loans and moving forward."

Weston said he's been in discussions with parties who expressed interest prior to the Sept. 23, 2009 fire that gutted the entire building.


This rendering shows an example of the loft space that will be available in the Thompson Block building

Courtesy Stewart Beal

Developers have established a new LLC, Thompson Block Partners LLC, to move the project forward. The building's previous owner, Historic Equities Fund 1 LLC, has been rolled into a new investment vehicle. To create more space for the new plans, Beal said the LLC purchased the property at 107 E. Cross St., previously owned by jailed landlord David Kircher, which is behind Thompson Block.

Beal is looking to combine the property with Thompson Block to create one parcel.

Beal and the city reached a consent agreement in August 2010 that gave Beal three years to complete the exterior envelope of the building, including a roof, walls and all openings sealed with at least temporary doors and windows.

Beal has until Sept. 1 to complete these renovations and so far, 10 of the 11 requirements outlined have been completed. However, Beal is in the process of working with the city to obtain a one-year extension on putting a roof on the building.

Beal will have to formally go before the City Council to ask for an extension on the consent agreement, which he says allows for additional negotiation. If council doesn't approve the extension, Beal said it would then go back to mediation.

Beal is also still in the process of applying for a facade grant from the Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority and a short-term bridge loan, or potentially longer-term financing and other financing mechanisms. He also is going to re-apply for an Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act Exemption in the name of the new investment group. The exemption would freeze the property's taxes at its current rate for 12 years.

"We want this to be our community's project," Weston said. "This has a lot more to do with Ypsilanti and Depot Town and we want to reflect the awesome things we have (here in the community)."

Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for her at or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.



Tue, May 21, 2013 : 4:31 p.m.

Precisely As Intended! I am curious if Stewie still has the banner that was hanging on the building 5 years ago that stated "LUXURY LOFTS FOR LEASE" -- If so I say bring it back and put it up for a good laugh from residents and festival goers in Depot Town this year.

Jay Thomas

Mon, May 20, 2013 : 10:24 p.m.

Be warned, if prospective buyers give Beal money for this, you have no idea when it will be constructed, because unless he gets it all it just isn't going to happen.


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 10:07 p.m.

1. Just go up to the structure, tap the bricks and watch them turn to dust. 2. The city has been more than accommodating to Beal in every respect on this project and he still asks for more and more. He holds the Historic District Commission and city council hostage with his "plans". Enough is enough.


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 8:22 p.m.

Wow. I mean, wow. The absolute poisonous responses here. Yes, he's trying to make a profit on this building, but he also took an Ypsilanti historic landmark that was deteriorating and tried to restore it, had a catastrophic fire in the middle of the project that almost destroyed it completely, but he managed to rescue, shore up the superstructure, and resurrect the building despite overwhelming odds, and now is trying to turn it into an attractive living/retail space that could add a tremendous amount of character to that area. And all you people can do is gripe and say "blah blah blah", he should fail? I'm sorry, but what he's done has actually been pretty phenomenal in trying to actually preserve that historic building and build up this city. It's attitudes like yours that keep this community down. What have you done to try and build this city up?


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 8:36 p.m.

Mercutio....Aside from him just blowing hot air for over at least 10yrs he has done nothing, nada, zip to that building.


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 8:09 p.m.

This looks like smoke blowing, trying to convince council to give him an extension on the consent agreement.


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 7:26 p.m.

"... Beal is in the process of working with the city to obtain a one-year extension on putting a roof on the building." How close can he be to renting the place if he thinks he will need another year to get a roof put on? That work should be happening now, while the weather is nice. If it doesn't happen this summer, it likely won't happen until next summer. What interior work can be done on a building without a roof?


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 6:33 p.m.

I wonder if Stewie Beal is a betting man, if so I and I were a potential tenant for this building I would ask for a GUARANTEED completion/move in date with a fee associated for every day he is behind written into the lease agreement -- if come this date and the property was not ready to be moved into a fee of $100 per day could add up real quick given his track record with this building. Would Stewie sign such an agreement....doubtful!


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 6:17 p.m.

Thank you for never letting go of the vision of what this building could be! What a win for Depot Town and Ypsilanti.


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 5:07 p.m.

Are those bars on the doors and windows? They'll probably be needed.


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 6:37 p.m.

I'm curious....why would they be needed? It's safe there.


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 6:09 p.m.

Depot town is pretty safe, but thanks for your concern. Maybe you couldn't tell with that distorted view looking down your nose.


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 5:20 p.m.

And why is that may I ask ? or is it just a shot at Ypsi to make yourself feel better

Katrease Stafford

Mon, May 20, 2013 : 3:18 p.m.

Jonathan, According to Washtenaw County records, Beal paid $11,759.15 in taxes for the 2012 tax year for the Thompson Block property.

Jonathan Blutarsky

Mon, May 20, 2013 : 3:34 p.m.

Thanks - all I could find is the assessed value of $13,000.

Jonathan Blutarsky

Mon, May 20, 2013 : 2:50 p.m.

So how much does Beal pay in taxes now for the Thompson Block?

Lizzy Alfs

Mon, May 20, 2013 : 1:26 p.m.

$800 to $1,300 per month isn't that far off from the "luxury" student and young professional buildings in downtown Ann Arbor. I've reported that prices in the new student buildings range from $850 to $1,900. I'd be interested to see if there is enough demand for units in this price range.


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 7:53 p.m.

Don't get me wrong, I love downtown Ypsi and depot town. But that's a lot of coin for downtown Ypsi for a really small place. In Ann Arbor, they can get away with it because the sheep flock to the address and the prestige. In Ypsi, which is an hour bus ride to downtown A2 (which seems way too long), there just aren't enough walkable employers to fill these places.


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 2:08 p.m.

And many want their Ypsi address. It's hip in a different way.


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 1:58 p.m.

It may not be much difference in rent, but there's a big difference between A2 and Ypsi. Many young professionals want their A2 address.

dading dont delete me bro

Mon, May 20, 2013 : 1:22 p.m.

let's hope it looks as good at the architectural drawings when complete...complete(?)

Stupid Hick

Mon, May 20, 2013 : 1:07 p.m.

Katrease, did you ask Beal or Weston how much of their "expected" $4 million investment has actually materialized since the piece you wrote on April 18?

Katrease Stafford

Mon, May 20, 2013 : 1:32 p.m.

Stupid Hick, Good question. That information will be included in a follow up article I'm working on this week. There are a few items that are scheduled to go before the DDA this week that go somewhat hand-in-hand with your question.

Linda Moore

Mon, May 20, 2013 : 1:05 p.m.

As a little girl in the mid 1950's, I lived in one of those apartments over the stores there in Depot Town. We were very poor, but I have a lot of good memories of the area. They were not very nice apartments then at all but it was home to me and my sisters! Although I have not been in the renovated ones, I'm sure they are much nicer. :) I've been following this story with great interest; I don't know enough about it to comment, but I've always been interested in what happens in Depot Town. I remember the building was on one of the Ypsi Home Tours a few years ago and I toured it with a friend. It sure has an interesting history!


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 12:47 p.m.

Instead of "luxury" housing, the city would be better served to foreclose on the property, connect with HUD and make this into Midrange housing for seniors and nontraditional students. $800 is a lot for 660 square feet. This is Ypsi, not Atlanta. The area is served by the buslines and there are many small shops within walking distance. One big issue is difficulty of reaching grocery stores by bus. However, there does not appear to be room for much parking for this building. In the future, there will be a move toward mixed age range housing. The Baby Boomers do not want to live in isolated towers with difficult access to necessary services.

Dirty Mouth

Mon, May 20, 2013 : 12:31 p.m.

The estimate for the project's completion? 148 years!

Hugh Giariola

Mon, May 20, 2013 : 12:25 p.m.

I'm curious as to why he needed to create a new LLC. Is there some liabilities for which the old LLC is responsible? Anyway, to further tdw's point: yada, yada, yada, we've heard it all before.

Jack Gladney

Mon, May 20, 2013 : 12:04 p.m.

My neighbor let me have a burned out 1978 Ford Pinto in exchange for a wheel barrow that was missing its wheels. I wonder if I can use my Pinto as a collateral deposit on one of Stewart's luxury lofts. That's about how much I would invest in this project.


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 10:58 a.m.

The saga continues, if for one minute you think this is going to be completed, you have spent too much time with the sheep. His goal is to make money off the construction and the rentals without using a dime of his money. He gets way too much press coverage for free , however it turns bad because no one but a few followers believe this anymore . I've been told by many that his father was a very honorable man , who could be trusted .


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 10:35 a.m.

Ypsi should not give one-eighth of an inch. Nor go to mediation. Nor give tax incentives. If he misses the deadline, foreclose.


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 10:13 a.m.

Bla bla bla....I'll believe it when I see it


Mon, May 20, 2013 : 7:51 p.m.

It's a long step from a burned out shell of a building that has to be supported to not fall down to luxury lofts. In 2000, the city and area would have been all over this. Now, not so much.