The Team

Thompson Block Partners, LLC a Michigan limited liability company formed specifically for this project, has recruited a talented group of redevelopment experts to the project including:

JC Beal Construction Inc., as Construction Manager
Beal Properties, LLC, as Property Manager
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, Inc., as Residential & Commercial Real Estate Broker
David Lavender Architects PC, as Project Architect
Mason Brown Associates Inc., as Civil Engineer

Amenities

Residential Lofts: (Please note not all units have all of the listed amenities, see floor plans for details)
  • Excellent Depot Town views
  • Elevator
  • Private deck
  • Skylights
  • Air Conditioning
  • Exposed spiral Duct Work
  • Exposed brick wall finishes
  • Hardwood floors & ceramic tile
  • Granite countertops
  • Bar seating at kitchen counter
  • Walk in closets
  • Custom designed kitchen cabinets
  • Washer & Dryer, Range Hood, Dishwasher
  • Refrigerator with ice maker and water dispenser
  • State of the art fire suppression system

Commercial Spaces:

A strong white box will be provided to each commercial tenant. Additional build out allowances are also available and will be negotiated. Email tweston@thompsonblock.com for specific details.

JC Beal Construction Inc. Approach to Renovation

The re-development of The Thompson Block, consisting of 6 bays of 3 story 1860’s era brick building located at 400 North River Street in Ypsilanti’s Depot Town area, will require a somewhat unique renovation approach by JC Beal Construction Inc..

The buildings, originally constructed in 1861 using recycled brick from a yet earlier structure, have seen many uses, and significant alterations over the last 150 years. While an active commercial venue for almost 100 years, and presumably well maintained during that period, they were primarily used for storage and severely neglected in the period of 1950-2000 and suffered a significant fire in 2009 at which point only a heroic façade stabilization effort by JC Beal managed to keep the street facing facades intact.

While the remaining portions of the building are structurally sound, especially since the completion of additional floor framing and façade stabilization work in 2011, significant areas of the building require the construction of new bearing walls and floor systems not originally anticipated in the 2008 renovation plan, and the installation of complete new infrastructure and finishes to convert the existing condition into the planned bustling mixed use community of retail / restaurant, and residential uses.

The Renovation Project: Work to Date

The planned re-development of the Thompson Block, came together starting in late 2005 through the vision of Stewart Beal when JC Beal Construction Inc., a local firm specializing in historic rehab / redevelopment work was brought in to assist Historic Equities Fund in assembling the project. After two years of work in design and engineering, tax credit assembly, marketing, pursuit of financing and pre-construction planning, construction was initiated in mid-2008 but halted abruptly shortly thereafter when the bank providing the construction loan was felled by the national recession and banking crises.

Unfortunately for the project and its developer, the building suffered a significant arsonist set fire in 2009 while the recession continued. Fortunately the JC Beal Construction Inc. team, led by Fred J. Beal was able, through heroic façade stabilization effort initiated while the fire still smoldered, managed to keep the street facing building facades intact. The temporary shoring system cobbled together on less than 8 hours' notice at the time of the fire, was removed in the summer of 2011when the major facades and portions of the adjoining cross walls were reconstructed, and tied together by floor and roof framing added in the south building bay an across the front of the building.

Construction Work: Project Completion

At this point the building facades and floor systems are structurally sound, and while additional infill is required, the construction activities required are straightforward, consisting as with the work performed in 2011of constructing multiwythe brick walls and installing floor systems of structural wood bond beams, joists, and decking to provide a platform for the remaining work. This work will all be performed by hand, working from scaffold erected within the existing building envelope.

The additional work activities required to convert the existing building into the 16 luxury lofts and 14,000sf of retail / restaurant space proposed can be broken down into several basic categories: Exterior Restoration, Life Safety / Building Circulation, Utility Upgrades and Interior Build-out.

Exterior Restoration: Portions of the masonry building exterior were stabilized when construction began in 2008 and additional areas saw improvement in the 2011 façade stabilization effort. That said the entire building envelope will be revisited when work restarted to insure the building’s long term improvement. All masonry work will be inspected, and tuck-pointed where necessary. The windows originally intended to be restored, but almost without exception destroyed in the 2009 fire, will be replaced, and the storefronts rebuilt in a historically accurate manner. Site improvements will include a new raised front patio area and sidewalks along River and Cross Streets, and a parking lot on Cross Street.

Life Safety / Building Circulation: In its recent past the building had contained multiple staircases and no functioning elevator. A new stair / elevator tower will be constructed near the parking lot and a second egress stair added within the building to provide for safe, convenient, and fire rated access / egress pathways. The building will also be equipped with a modern fire alarm and fire suppression system that will greatly enhance the building’s overall safety.

Utility Upgrades: The building’s electrical, mechanical, plumbing and communications systems will be completely modernized. New electrical switch gear will be installed and each tenant or dwelling unit will be individually metered. New residential HVAC systems will be installed to provide economical heating and cooling to the residential units, and individual roof top mechanical units will serve the retail/commercial component. Phone, cable television and internet service will be installed throughout the building.

Interior Build Out: The interior of the building will be developed into two distinct components: Commercial, and Residential. The commercial component in the basement and first floor will see the development of “white box” space to house several separate businesses, while the residential component on floors two and three will be finished out as 16 luxury loft apartments in studio, one, and two bedroom configurations.