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Fire-damaged building in Ypsilanti could be demolished and replaced with affordable housing

Ypsilanti City Hall
Josh Hakala
89.1 WEMU
Ypsilanti City Hall

A fire-damaged building near downtown Ypsilanti could receive a new lease on life.

After an historic building in the 200-block of North Washington Street caught fire in 2017, there have been questions about what to do with it. Ypsilanti City Council is now expected to let a developer turn the building into affordable housing.

At Tuesday night's meeting, City Council is expected to approve a Payment in Lieu of Taxes, or PILOT agreement, with Avalon Housing. The tax break will allow for demolition of the fire-ravaged structure and creation of a new complex comprised of 22 one-bedroom apartments.

Christopher Jacobs is the city’s Community Development Manager. He says it's a tough decision to replace a building that dates back to the 1800s.

“We would have liked to have seen it salvaged. However, it’s not economically feasible and housing is a major, major priority in this city. And so, we really felt that demolishing the property was probably the best option.”

Absent any delays, the plan is to break ground early next year.

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Josh Hakala is the general assignment reporter for the WEMU news department.
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