PLAINFIELD TWP. The side wall of the Witmark building collapsed Thursday as workers began demolishing the building, which had been vacant for about 20 years.
Local residents commonly refer to the 45,000-square-foot, boarded-up building at 4189 NE Jupiter Avenue as an eyesore. Plainfield Township issued an order to the property owner, citing security concerns Regency Equities Corp. on June 28th to demolish the derelict building. The company appealed against the order, which was confirmed on September 21 by the municipality’s building complaints committee because of the dangerous, empty and neglected condition of the building.
Plainfield Township superintendent Cameron Van Wyngarden said the landowner is voluntarily paying for the demolition costs and following the township’s order.
Grand Rapids based Pitsch Contractors Inc. oversees the demolition, which began around noon today as the teams demolished the side walls and roof of the building.
Van Wyngarden said the township was considering pursuing a significant domain to take ownership of the property because of the depraved nature of the structure, but is aiming for demolition instead.
Meanwhile, the 3.82-acre property has been listed for $ 3.2 million, according to a listing by the Plainfield Township-based broker MOXIE Holdings LLC.
“It’s interesting how an abandoned building can be such a focal point for a community, such a gathering point,” said Van Wyngarden MiBiz. âI hope the church can see this as progress. It’s funny to say that about a demolition, but hopefully we can then use the property productively again. ”
The size and location of the property opens up a multitude of potential re-uses – including a mixed use residential, office and retail space – for future developers, added Van Wyngarden.
“The door is really open for creative developers to come in and propose something,” said Van Wyngarden.
In addition, the new development of the site corresponds to that of the community Reinvent Plainfield Corridor Plan, a broad vision to redesign Plainfield Avenue north of Grand Rapids to encourage more mixed-use and pedestrian-friendly features along the route north of I-96.
âWith our Reimagine Plainfield plan, we’re really focused on converting the suburban community corridor into more residential uses, and we want to build a vibrant, mixed-use community. (The Witmark property) could be a big part of it, âsaid Van Wyngarden.
The Plainfield Township Board formally approved the Reimagine Plainfield Corridor Plan on May 24th. The planners have since argued over some of the zoning changes recommended in the plan. The commissioners were divided by 3-3 votes during their October 26th meeting on the implementation of the zone changes in the plan. The municipality board will examine a first reading of the proposed land use changes at its meeting on November 8th.
As part of the process of creating the plan for the Reimagine Plainfield Corridor, the municipality has imposed a moratorium on single-story developments along the corridor, which will be expanded until the end of 2021. If the zone changes are accepted in the plan, they will go into effect immediately before the moratorium is lifted, which will affect future developments in the region.