Michigan School for the Blind redevelopment



  • I drove by this campus over the weekend, and it looks like work is well underway. It will be much nicer once the older, remaining buildings are rehab'd - there's still a lot of plywood up on the old window openings.

  • I drove down Willow yesterday and saw the elevator tower and the first walls of the new apartment buildings are going up at The School for The Blind site. I think it is interesting that these new buildings around town are mainly wood-framed structures, I wonder about sound from the neighbors. My old building is brick and cement and is very quiet. Also, is the development still going to be called Walnut Park? Maybe we should change the name of this page to that, but I'm sure it will take folks around here a while to stop calling it The School for The Blind. I still often say Olds instead of GM.

  • Thanks for the update. I haven't been up that way in a long time and it's good to hear that construction is well under way. I'll have to make it point to drive by there soon.

  • I was by this place a few days ago and grabbed a picture, they're pretty far along:
  • edited April 2018

    I was just wondering about the progress on this one the other day. lol Looks way more substantial than I imagined. I used to be in this part of town quite a bit, but can't remember the last time I was on Willow, honestly. Could you tell when you were there if the floors are metal decking, or is it wood like the rest? I can't quite tell from the photo. Either way, the quality looks to be better than the Gillespie stuff, or at the very least the construction method.

    BTW, why is the photo so huge?

  • Yeah, the building does look larger than I thought. When I took this picture was the first time I'd been by the site since construction began, I'm going to try to remember to go by there in a couple months or so to see how the facade looks. Regarding the materials, as far as I can tell the building is essentially all wood, I'm sure with some metal beams low down.

    As for the picture size, I uploaded it from my phone thinking it would automatically resize. It's just showing as a link for me, is it the same for you?

  • Yes, but I was talking about when I clicked on it.

  • When looking through property records for the Abigail to see when it was constructed, exactly, I came across projects filed with the city for the renovation. Apparently, the developers filed the renovation project with the city on March 16. Currently, they've filed a commercial plan review and site plan review for the conversion, which are currently in the process of review.

  • edited August 2018

    Just by this one yesterday. I am genuinely stunned by the quality for an "affordable" apartment building. It looks like they are using actual masonry for the facade and not some cheap brick veneer crap, though, I didn't get much time to look. In either case, it looks very nice, and even if you don't like the faux-historic style the massings and materials and such look better than half the crap Gillespie has put up, which charge much higher rents than something like this. Now, the first floor and half or so have what are concrete-brick like the renderings show, but even that doesn't look horrible.

    Just more proof that there is no good excuse for bad architectural design. I was surprised because some of the stuff on the TWG website looks mediocre. They really did a good job of respecting the existing architecture of the campus.

    BTW, the building page for The Abigail has been updated to show that a remolding permit was issued on August 2 and expires at the end of January of next year, with work costing about $5.3 million. Seems super ambitious.

    In any case, it looks like works has either started or will start very soon. The curious thing is that the site plan approval is still listed as "In Process." Wasn't aware you could get permits before the site plan had been approved. Will have to ask the city about this.

    As for Walnut Park, the building permit for that one expires near the end of January, too.

  • Yes, I agree! this building looks so great, and really successfully references the academic buildings of the old school. It makes me happy to see a developer building something that looks better then it has to.

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