Courtesy LESLIE LYNCH-WILSON and LITA TONEY
Lincoln Park Preservation Alliance
We are in jeopardy of losing the historic art deco Neisner Dime Store Building, 1736 Fort Street, Lincoln Park due to a proposed grocery story by Save-A-Lot to encompass 1736 and 1716 Fort Street. Neisner Dime Store building is located within the National Register of Historic Places-Eligible North Fort Street Historic District. Not only would we lose a historically significant structure but it would also greatly impact our ability to getting the Federal 20% historic preservation tax credit for contributing properties within the historic district.
Save A Lot wants the DDA to replace the back parking lot, remove some planter boxes and trees as well as commit to snow removal of the parking lot which is already being done during the winter. They also want the DDA to replace a portion of the parking lot. Snow removal is already being done. And wants the DDA to not to object to the sign on top of the building which remains from the Arbor Drug Store days as well as a 2nd sign out by Southfield Road. They also want to change the traffic direction of the alley.
The DDA approved a not to exceed figure for the work. Only Nay was Leslie Lynch-Wilson. The DDA feels that the side walk and parking lot need to be done regardless. Save A Lot proposes a 15,000 square foot building within the CVS building, demo Neisner Building to add onto the building, and create a walk way to connect pedestrian foot traffic from Fort Street to rear lot. Basically DDA felt that the design was ugly, wanted more windows on Fort Street side.
(Lincoln Park Emergency Manager Brad) Coulter said that they were starting with an ugly building. The coolers are also along that 'back' wall which prevents windows. There is a door and awning on the Fort Street side but the main door would be parking lot side. Pete Romain felt that the layout of the store was wrong. Coulter said that brokers have said that LP is a pass through community and that we need to do something so that Detroit doesn't move in. Coulter's attitude was like we need to do something and like somethings better than nothing. But the DDA had the same attitude on the condos and look where that got the DDA. Property owner would invest $1.5 million into the property with Save A Lot leasing for 10 years.
Evidently other communities are being considered and Save A Lot had a hard sell on their investment committee due to the rear parking lot. As to the National Register of Historic Places Historic District - the status is that the northwest side of Fort Street from Fort & Southfield (old Woolworth building) to Euclid and across to the Park Theatre and the old bank is part of a the National Register of Historic Places- Eligible Historic District known as the North Fort Street Historic District. Yes, declared "eligible" by the National Register Coordinator at the Michigan Historic Preservation Office, Lansing, MI in 2008.
Why not complete? It typically takes a year of research and writing to complete and get approved a nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. A historic district is very extensive work compared to a single building. A consultant has been needed to be hired to do the nomination on a timely basis. LPPA has the funds but one consultant felt that the project was not the best fit for them and another consultant did not want to do the project because she did not want to take LPPA's hard earned money. The price for a consultant is $6000 or $5000 if LPPA does the photography themselves. LPPA then recruited a volunteer who eventually quit due to lack of time for the project. The other issue with the DDA supporting the demolition of Save A Lot is that the DDA is an associated member of Michigan Main Street. The Main Street program is all about historic preservation. DDA risks that status. However, eligibility is enough in the event if Federal funds (as opposed to private funds) would be used. Then the developer and Save A Lot would have to go through a Section 106 Review with the MI State Historic Preservation Office.
POST-SCRIPT: In late 2014, the Neisner building was in fact torn down, and the Save-A-Lot opened in late 2015.