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Former Smith Furniture Store Getting New Lease On Life

Bob Eccles

A long-time downtown Ypsilanti eyesore appears to be getting a new lease on life.  The former Smith Furniture Store at 15 S. Washington Street has sat empty, collecting rainwater and mold, for about 20 years.

The building was sold at auction in August, and the people who bought the property have hired Stewart Beal to be their real estate broker. 

Beal is President of Beal Properties. 

His vision for the building is to create Washington Market + Shops - sort of a mini Kerrytown, with a grocery store or market surrounded by shops. 

Beal owns or manages 80 properties within walking distance or a short drive of the old furniture store.  He also lives four blocks away.

"So both from a business standpoint and just my personal wishes and desires," Beal says, "it's really nice to be able to rent in one of my properties or be able to live where I live and be able to walk to this concept of the Washington Market + Shops and have a great meal, do some shopping, buy stuff for later, just like you could at Kerrytown."

Before anyone can even think about moving into the building Beal says the roof will have to be repaired or replaced, and mold inside taken care of. 

He expects that work will happen either late this year or early next year. 

Ash and Mike Farha bought the 24,000 square foot building for about $100,000 in a county tax foreclosure auction.