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Posted on Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 5:55 a.m.

Thompson Block shares to be offered for $10K each

By Tom Perkins

Ypsilanti developer Stewart Beal hopes to sell shares in the Thompson Block in Ypsilanti for $10,000 each and has planned an open house for potential Thompson Block investors, tenants and the general public.

Beal hopes to sell 174 of the shares to raise $1.74 million and partially fund plans to redevelop 16 luxury lofts as well as 14,000 square feet of commercial space.

Beal recently made redevelopment plans for the Depot Town building public at an Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority meeting, and he recently pitched Thompson Block as an investment opportunity to 150 members of Michigan Real Estate Investors group. Beal said members of the group will be taking weekly tours.

So far, Thompson Block LLC, the group that owns the 150-year-old structure, has raised around $300,000.

“With the rising real estate prices in Washtenaw County there is an absolute intensive demand in Ypsilanti right now … so this is a way for someone to get invested in Ypsilanti without purchasing a property of their own,” Beal said.

The remainder of the approximately $4 million renovation will come from a $2 million loan. Investors’ shares and the loan will be paid down by sale of an already secured $2.5 million in historic tax credits.

Beal said that model was employed when the Motown Construction Partners LLC, whose managing partner is Fred Beal, Stewart Beal's father, brought 23 investors on board to buy shares averaging $50,000 each to help fund the $53 million renovation of downtown Detroit's Broderick Tower.

“It was a successful way for people to get involved in the project,” Beal said.

He said the ideal investor is accredited, meaning they have a net worth of $1 million, not including a single family residence. Beal said Securities and Exchange Commission regulations allow his company to sell shares to as many as 35 non-accredited and 400 accredited investors.


More of the Thompson Block's envelope has been completed in the last week.

Photo courtesy of Stewart Beal

Beal recently wrote a letter to the Ypsilanti City council asking for an extension to a three-year deadline for completing the building’s envelope. Beal noted the consent agreement agreed to in 2010 contained nine other provisions, all of which have been met.

A large fire gutted the Thompson Block building in September 2009 and landed Beal and the city in court over a disagreement on how to proceed with the building’s renovation.

Since last reported on the deadline extension, Beal has completed construction of more of the building’s east walls, but the roof will not be completed by the Sept. 1 deadline, Beal said.

“The roof installation timing no longer works for us because we need to incorporate that into our much larger project,” he said.

The open house will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Aug. 21 at the neighboring Sidetrack Bar and Grill and Beal said the first 100 people to take a tour of the building will receive a $10 Starbucks gift card and a beer compliments of Thompson Block LLC.

The 16 lofts are each priced at around $1.10 per square-foot with the smallest loft at 610 square feet and the largest 1,187 square feet, putting the price range per unit between $732 and $1,036 per month.

According to the listing, the commercial spaces range from 1,100 square feet, up to the entire 14,000-square-foot commercial space at $16 per square-foot. The property is listed by Howard Hanna's Tyler Weston.

“The ideal scenario is having a restaurant or large brew pub that would anchor it on the (southwest) corner and smaller retailers around that,” Beal said.



Thu, Aug 1, 2013 : 1:06 a.m.

The old freight house would be a much better investment. Ypsilanti needs a good restaurant in this area and with right remodeling and management, the ambiance would be really something nice. Haabs is nice, but could really use another one also.

Jay Thomas

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 11:13 p.m.

The city of Ypsilanti can make people demolish a building that is just a shell. The back taxes owed is just more of an impetus to take action.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 9:51 p.m.

How does the Ypsi city government keep buying this guy's line of bs? He must have some heavy hitters on his side. It is all French to me. I think I'll go up to Sidetrack for my free beer and gift card. At least Sidetrack's owners will make out good with a 100 beer sales on a Wednesday evening.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 6:41 p.m.

The Thompson Block Saga is getting old. I supported Beal 3 years ago, but that was many dramas ago. Maybe it is time to call it quits and take your losses.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 6:36 p.m.

Traditionally Nursery Rhymes were used to teach very young children about how the world works. Regarding this project, I hark back to childhood and the first time I heard the story of "Jack and the Beanstalk." Of course that story had a happy ending; Jack gained the Golden Goose! Perhaps the investors will all get a golden goose!


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 5:53 p.m.

I have a better idea. To all investors - give me $10,000 and I'll invest it and give you a a handsome return on a monthly basis until you get your money back. OK, Who's in?

Chase Ingersoll

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 5:29 p.m.

The negative attitudes and complete lack of knowledge concerning complex financing of highly regulated commercial real estate says more about the complainers than the project or developer. They also demonstrate that their collective memory is only able to remember back to the day that Beal purchased the property and not before that time when the property was in a lengthy period of demise. It is imperative that "journalists" note this history that their readership seems to forget including all of the other properties that Beal has been involved in cleaning up, while they stood with their collective hands in their pockets griping about the failed efforts of those who at least made an effort. Beal's building is not giving Ypsi a bad name. But the people who comment here. Who would want to come to a town with people who are so willing to reflect their nasty side in public comments.

Stupid Hick

Thu, Aug 1, 2013 : 2:35 a.m.

"They also demonstrate that their collective memory is only able to remember back to the day that Beal purchased the property and not before that time when the property was in a lengthy period of demise." I can't tell whether you're being obtuse and trying to blow a smoke screen for Beal, or whether you really don't remember the legal action that Ypsi took that in essence resulted in the property being taken from Kircher and awarded to Beal. Where is in giving its readers some historical perspective that would allow readers to make informed opinions about the Thompson Block, the City of Ypsi's efficacy over something like 25 years of trying to rehabilitate the property; about Beal's initial role and the eventual reversal of roles; and what lessons do we take away about the challenges of economic development in Ypsi? Will someone please write an in-depth article that puts the current Thompson Block situation in proper historical context? Has the story not been written because it's politically unattractive to I would ecstatic if Beal were to succeed where Kircher failed, and I would love to see the Thompson Block rise from the ashes. I think in many ways Beal got a raw deal in the way things played out after he was contracted to do repairs when Kircher was still the owner, but now it's clear he's going for the only play he has left: delay and pray. Anyone who has lived in the area long enough to see the trajectory of the Thompson Block over the past three decades would reasonably predict there is next to zero chance that the Thompson Block will EVER be rehabilitated. Sure, the comments are mostly negative, but in my opinion they're realistic, and deserved.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 9:43 p.m.

Enlighten us, Mr. Ingersoll. What buildings has Beal, son, not Dad, has cleaned up. His rentals in Ypsi are dumps.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 9:03 p.m.

As a former tenant of Beal's and now homeowner in Ypsi I have to disagree. Beal's rentals are dumps. He buys them out of foreclosure and slaps some paint on them. He does the absolute bare minimum to keep them up to code (or not). Naturally, his apartments tend to attract awful tenants (and squatters) dragging down the quality of life in the community.

Honest Abe

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 5:39 p.m.

The comments are not nasty. They're facts. 1) Beal wants investors, but owes back taxes on his own 'investments' (rentals) 2) Beal does not meet any deadlines given to him. 3) What successful projects is Stewart Beal responsible for himself? (Stewart, not Fred) the Thompson building was better off when David Kircher owned it.

David Cahill

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 5:27 p.m.

Beal is getting increasingly desperate, as this Rube Goldberg financing scheme suggests. Why doesn't the City just put everyone out of their misery and tear the building down?

Honest Abe

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 4:58 p.m.

Perkins: I saw no mention of the date when the Open House will be held on.

Cindy Heflin

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 5:06 p.m.

It's Aug. 21 from 5 to 7 p.m. We've added that to the story.

Honest Abe

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 4:40 p.m.

And don't let the fresh coat of paint and the plywood window covers fool you. This place is a mess! There are buildings in Chernobyl that look better than this.

Honest Abe

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 4:38 p.m.

Dear Stu: I'm going to show up and get my coffee card and beer. No investing from me though. Thanks pal! -Abe

Honest Abe

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 4:34 p.m.

So why does Beal recommend an investor to have $1M net worth, not including their home, over $10K? What? So they're not as put out when things collapse, compared to someone who has less than a Mil? Is this an indirect way of saying, this is a risk? There is a difference in 'investing' and 'trading'. Sorry, but if the strategy here is 'hope', then you would be better off putting your money into some index funds or going to the casino. Is Beal willing to put the money aside until ALL funds are raised by a certain time or investor receive their $10K back? I will make a special trip to Sidetrack the day of the open house. I'm curious to see if 100 people are going to show up. Do they have to post the $10 grand before getting their Starbucks card? Sorry Stu, its gonna take more than a cup of coffee and a bottle of beer to get that nearly $2 miilion your looking for.


Thu, Aug 1, 2013 : 2:03 p.m.

That's not a recommendation, that's a requirement by the federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Investors with a higher net worth are considered more likely to be well-informed, or better able to seek independent advice before investing, and so are able to purchase less-regulated investments such as limited partnership shares, hedge funds, etc. without bringing down additional federal oversight on the company offering the investment.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 8:58 p.m.

He can only solicit investments from Accredited Investors ($1m net worth). This is an SEC regulation put in place to keep grandma out of the poor house.

Stewart G. Griffin

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 4:33 p.m.

We need to get the ghost of Ronald Reagan to stand at a podium in front of this place so he can say "Mr. Beal...Tear Down This Wall!"


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 3:25 p.m.

How about at least asking Beal why his company has delayed complying with terms and has to ask for an extension to stabilize the remains of the building? Also, given the currently low interest rates, why are they selling shares instead of borrowing money form a bank and then keeping the profits for themselves? Is this project too risky for a bank to front the money? I don't know enough about the project to know if it's a good risk but there seems to be no actual reporting in this story. It's more like publishing a press release with only one side of the story. Ask questions. Get answers. Please.

ypsi 1

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 2:49 p.m.

Always interesting how Mr Beal keeps a low profile and does practically noting until the time is up on his deadlines! Then a new smokescreen is turned on to try to fool the courts and council into thinking renovation is near. I hope the Mayor and Council take him back into court and enforce the dangerous buildings ordinance this time. He will never get the funding this way and all their capital is going to other projects. Please stop this waste of time.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 4:08 p.m.

There had not been workers at the Thompson Building for months, until the day after the article appeared last week. They straightened up the area behind the building for a day or so, and nothing since. You are right, nothing happens until he's come up to a deadline.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

I wish him luck, but in my mind, anytime a developer/speculator can't raise money through more conventional channels, it is a red flag. For what it is worth, I drive past Broderick Tower every day and from the outside it really does appear to be a nice building. I'd like to strangle all the people going in and out of that place that double park and block traffic, though.

Honest Abe

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 2:10 p.m.

After doing some research, I can see that Beal owes a significant amount of money in back property taxes. Hmmmm


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 8:54 p.m.

He probably has the money for it (he keeps buying more houses), but he uses it as financing. I believe the late fee for overdue property taxes is 8% which probably isn't much worse than he can get from a bank.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 4:45 p.m.

he's in trouble in other words.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 4:06 p.m.

That is a chronic issue with Beal.

Honest Abe

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 2:08 p.m.

You would be tossing $10K Out the window. Not to mention that you would have to be clinically insane to buy into this place. The coat of paint and plywood windows do not hide the fact that this place should be demolished! I highly doubt these 'shares' are going to fly off the shelf. Let me ask this: If the amount is not raised or something goes wrong, does my $10K find its way back to me?

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 2:01 p.m.

It is clearly time for the city to find another developer. The original agreements were made under the assumption that the developer had the resources and a sound plan. Neither of those assumptions are true.

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 2 p.m.

The developer is in a deal with the city and their struggles to get financing for this project are news that should be reported. It does not matter whether you like it, or whether some complainers think it is not news - it is news.

Bob Krzewinski

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 1:51 p.m.

If you don't want to invest in the Thompson building, then don't. At least Stuart Beal is still trying to renovate that building, when other "owners" would have just torn in down and made it a parking lot. And funny how none of the anonymous posters on this story bring up the old Ypsi railroad depot owned by Dennis Dahlmann, owner of Dahlmann Properties and several buildings in the Ann Arbor area, including the Campus Inn hotel. Seems like Dennis is not interested in doing anything with his property except let it rot.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 2:48 p.m.

Bob....How many more years should he have to " renovate " it ? it's been vacant for at least 10 years and has been a burned out shell for about 4 the whole time he's been saying " It'll be finished by ___" and has changed the date several times.What should he get another 10 ? 20 ? and as far as the train depot goes last time I saw it it was just boarded up. My real name is Tim Weber BTW


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 2:30 p.m.

I agree the Dahlmann property is just sitting there, but at least it has a roof. And I don't believe the taxpayers gave him millions in tax credits either.

Honest Abe

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 2:11 p.m.

Drinking Stu's Kool Aid? Are we?


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 1:16 p.m.

$732 for a luxury apartment? Um, no.

Ryan Munson

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

That will get you a decent efficiency in Ann Arbor?


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 1:10 p.m.

If you've got $10K sitting around and you really want to invest it in preserving historic Ypsi, THIS is the way to use it: Rosie the Riveter's factory should come before the poor old Thompson Block! I'm sorry, I wish that sad, burned-out building could reasonably be salvaged, but I think it needs to go.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 3:05 p.m.

Thanks for posting the link to the Rosie plant.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 2:37 p.m. least if you donated to the bomber plant and it survives, you could say " I helped to save that " if you " invested " with Beal all you will get to do is look at a burned out building or vacant lot and say " that cost me 10 grand "

Honest Abe

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 2:11 p.m.

That would not be investing. That would be donating.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 1:07 p.m.

Why do I suspect that the city council and staff members will view this as a great deal and wonderful opportunity for redevelopment? Another Water Street debacle in the waiting!

Duc d'Escargot

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 1:02 p.m.

The only thing missing from this retread of a story is the artist's rendering from previous articles (it was a beautiful concept.) If any City council members are reading, please don't cut this guy any more slack.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 12:46 p.m.

Is there any one to two acre parcel in Ypsilanti that is currently worth $4 million? This should be re-posted on "The Onion".

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 12:24 p.m.

Coincidentally I inherited several million dollars but its tied up in a Nigerian bank . With a little help from one of you folks we can free it up. I promise I will be generous in my appreciation.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 8:42 p.m. should have known your second comment would be deleted.You know that was a big no no

Jack Gladney

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 2 p.m.

Craig, I am knowing that your are an honorable to being because I am Christian and a man of God. So that you can be trusting me I will be needing to you forward me your bank account number so that I may give to Mr. Beal for him to be shaing you his great to which will be yours alone.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 12:29 p.m.

Thanks first laugh of the day

no flamers!

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 11:44 a.m.

Please stop running stories on this ruin. I can't have another morning ruined by hearing about the ruinous decisions of City gov allowing this ruin to fester in open sight. (sorry)

Elaine F. Owsley

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 11:20 a.m.

Good grief!! Surely no one in their right mind would have any dealings with Beal. Especially if it involves giving him money.

dading dont delete me bro

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 11:14 a.m.

"What do we get for $10" -nwa


Thu, Aug 1, 2013 : 12:59 a.m.

To drive by and a brick fall to knock some sense into you! Just joking!


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 11:03 a.m.

Facebook stock is suddenly looking better and better. For a Starbucks gift card, I'd take a tour though!


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 2:01 p.m.

I'm in. See you there. "So far with the project, we've taken an open air approach to the facility with this extremely large skylight. To make it more peaceful, we've created a buffer zone along the nearby intersection to keep traffic noise from being too close to the building."


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 1:22 p.m.

What a great can have my free beer for your second one and I'll take your Starbucks gift card too and then we chat later over how entertaining the tour was which will probably include the line "Imagine it with a roof and without the beams holding up the wall....".


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 12:19 p.m.

I'd do it for the beer. He doesn't need to know that I laughed when I saw the headline of this story. (Note, making fun of Mr. Beal, not with that).


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 11:02 a.m.

I have an even better deal for you. I have a pile of leftover cinder blocks, wood, and shingles in my back yard. I'm selling shares in that for $100. It's a lot cheaper, and you get the same results for your money.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 10:52 a.m.

It's offensive that you continue to give him any publicity.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 8:41 p.m.

A2comments....ok whatever, I agree with you.I just see it as more annoying than offensive


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 8 p.m.

tdw: I see we meet again... He wants PR. He feeds off it. He wants attention so he can sway people to his view of how things should be. Don't give him any. keeps giving free promotion space to him to hawk his $10,000 shares. I find that offensive.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 10:59 a.m.

A2comments...Why does it offend you exactly ? I agree he's getting too much publicity, but offensive ?

Howard Beale

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 10:48 a.m.

"Beal said Securities and Exchange Commission regulations allow his company to sell shares to as many as 35 non-accredited and 400 accredited investors." Is his company publicly traded?

Chase Ingersoll

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 5:21 p.m.

It doesn't have to be a publicly traded company to have an investment regulated by the SEC.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 11:56 a.m.

The article states that his company is a LLC.

Morty Seinfeld

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 10:42 a.m.

Mr. Beal, do you know what this is... ..."beep, beep, beep, beep..." It's the sound of the impending demolition equipment being unloaded off the lowboy trailers, coming to finally deal with this eyesore.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 10:32 a.m.

I'll keep my 10 grand in case I run out of newspaper for starting a fire in my wood stove this winter


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 10:30 a.m.

Man, and I thought Ann Arbor property taxes were like throwing money away. Finally, a worse investment; this Beal character with his hand out.

Ryan Munson

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 2:58 p.m.

Do you live in Ann Arbor out of curiosity?

Jack Gladney

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 10:30 a.m.

File this one under "poor editorial judgement." I think you folks have already given this scheme enough publicity. You informed the public in several previous stories how people can toss $10,000 down a worm hole. So the story here is free coffee and a beer with Stewart Beal. Seems newsworthy. (I know, I know... Comment deleted...)


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 3:14 a.m. may as well jump in bed with this crook


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 9:26 p.m.

Well done, Mr. Gladney


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 10:29 a.m.

You surely are joking, right?


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 2:08 p.m.

I'm not joking, and don't call me Shirley.

C. Montgomery Burns

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 10:16 a.m.

Mr. Beal, with my $10,000/share "investment" into this pipe dream, will you also throw in a free bottle of your snake Oil?


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 11:27 a.m.

If you don't like it, don't invest in it. One of the benefits of private vs. public investment.