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Posted on Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Gault Village Plaza Kmart demolished, but Ypsilanti Township says issues remain

By Tom Perkins


The former Kmart on Grove Road has been torn down, but the project still isn't complete.

Tom Perkins | For

Ypsilanti Township officials are hopeful renewed court pressure may soon bring an end to the many issues surrounding the partially demolished abandoned Kmart off Grove Road.

In early September 2011, Washtenaw County Circuit Court Judge Donald Shelton ordered Union Lake Associates to demolish the Kmart connected to the Gault Village Shopping Plaza that the company owns within 60 days.

But the project is still not complete.

That put Ypsilanti Township and an attorney for Sylvan Township-based Union Lake back in front of Shelton on March 27.

But township attorney Dennis McLain said Shelton ordered the attorney to bring Union Lake’s managing partner, Michael McGlothin, into the courtroom on April 24 to provide an explanation as to why the company has ignored Shelton’s order to demolish the property for well over a year.

As of April 5, the entire Kmart building had come down and crews were working on a new exterior wall next to Measurement Inc., a business that grades standardized tests for Michigan schools. Measurement Inc. was previously attached to the Kmart, so a new exterior wall has to be built as part of the demolition project.

“Apparently we got their attention,” McLain said when told that crews were once again working on the wall, though he expressed frustration that the company needed the threat of being held in contempt of court to complete the project.


A cinder block perimeter remains and must be removed from the site.

Tom Perkins | For

Among other issues, the Kmart, which is on the west side of the 235,000-square-foot shopping center along Grove Road near Interstate 94, had a collapsing roof, crumbling outer wall and mold infestation.

The store was been abandoned for more than 20 years before demolition started on Dec. 20.

The entire plaza also has seen a variety of issues ranging from crumbling walls to mold infestation.

McGlothin coud not be reached by

Although the wall appears to be nearing completion, there are a variety of smaller issues that also must be attended to, McLain said.

Among those:

  • A cinder block perimeter remains in the ground and is considered a hazard. Per the demolition agreement, Union Lake was to leave a completely smooth surface.
  • Sewage holes where the toilets were in the store were left unplugged.
  • Hydraulic fluid was left on the site near where the hoists in the Kmart body shop were set up.
  • Mold remained on the outside Measurement Inc.'s wall.
  • No maintenance plan has been developed for the problematic plaza.

McLain said the township will have to conduct a final inspection after Union Lake says it has completed the work.

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



Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 5:35 p.m.

I would like a list of other local properties owned by Union Lake Associates so I can avoid spending my money anywhere their footprint is.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 3:11 p.m.

It should be a requirement for businesses to demolish their buildings if they go out of business. Especially if they are sub-par buildings such as Kmart. They shouldn't be able to make the local municipality have to clean up their mess simply because they couldn't make it.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 5:42 p.m.

I recently read an article in the NY Times which stated some municipalities deal with this problem by charging significantly higher property tax rates for vacant buildings. I know this would help my currently locale, where abandoned strip malls stand next to new construction. They'd rather build new than remodel or tear down and build on existing sites. I would love to see these laws in my area, sounds like they would do well in SE Michigan as well.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 4:07 p.m.

It's the owner of the building who is responsible for the structure, not the business housed in it....unless the business owner owns the building too. In this case, it's a company called Union Lake Associates, not Kmart, that owns the shopping plaza. Can you believe the building has been empty for 20 years?

Basic Bob

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 3:43 p.m.

Can we extend that to state-owned buildings as well, such as the many abandoned prisons within an hour drive of Ann Arbor?


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 2:22 p.m.

Why does Georgetown in Ann Arbor and this eerily ring a bell? At least the building is down. Can't say much for that other thing on on Packard Road. What are they going to do about the old grocery store leaking roof?


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 12:33 p.m.

The parking lot was probably full with Measurement, Inc. employees. They started their spring projects recently, and they do employ both day and night shifts for some projects. For some projects, there are over 300 employees in the building at one time -- day and night. Employees are hired on a per-project basis and there are usually 3-4 projects per year, each lasting 4-6 weeks.

Cory C

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 12:12 p.m.

I noticed the parking lot was PACKED here last night, are they holding meetings in there or something? Definitely more than just a work crew.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 11:04 a.m.

It take way to long and way too much expense to get these Condemnations through the court system. In the end the citizens win, but it is certainly not a slam dunk. I'm sure the Township had considerable legal expense to get this accomplished, how about a penalty applied to the owner? So now we have footing there and a concrete slab, I say ticket them for 'blight" unless that is cleaned up. Don't get me wrong I fully support the Townships efforts we just need a short cut to get to the end result. Was this system designed by Attorneys for Attorneys, makes one wonder sometimes?