Vacant building in heart of downtown St. Johns finally being discussed

Print More

By Nathaniel Bott
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter

The buildings of 116 and 118 N. Clinton Ave. sit right in the heart of downtown St. Johns. The former furniture store has been vacant, but was bought by a local investor at the end of 2015.

The buildings of 116 and 118 N. Clinton Avenue sit right in the heart of downtown St. Johns. The former furniture store has been vacant, but was bought by a local investor at the end of 2015.

ST. JOHNS — What to do with the vacant space at 116 and 118 N. Clinton Avenue was a major point of discussion for the St. Johns City Commission at its regular March 28 meeting.

The building, which was a former furniture and mattress liquidators store, has been vacant for some time, and the planning commission began to take matters into their own hands.

The planning commission recommended the the city commission approve a petition for special land use allowing residential units to be constructed on the second and third floors of the building.

The planning commission also strongly suggested the city commission deny a petition set forth for a transitional district on the first floor, citing that the proposed hotel use was not suitable for the “prime retail frontage” component of the CBD, or Central Business District, of St. Johns.

“That property has been sold, it was purchased at the end of 2015 by a local investor,” NAI-Mid-Michigan retail agent Logan McAnallen said. “He purchased the property, I certainly knew he had in mind to build some apartment units but I had no idea what he was doing with the property for sure.”

The City Commission meetings takes place in room 2200 of the Clinton County Courthouse on the second and fourth Monday of every month

The City Commission meetings takes place in room 2200 of the Clinton County Courthouse on the second and fourth Monday of every month.

According to some retail sites, the building has been on the market from as early as February 2012, a long time for a building with no business to take up space in the seat of Clinton County’s downtown.

The month of March has been a stressful one for the commissioners of St. Johns. Along with their two regularly scheduled meetings, four additional special meetings occurred in the month, including two on March 9 and one on March 21.

One special meeting was the same day as the March 28 meeting, this special meeting called into place to discuss the 2016-2017 budget that morning.

That stress continues to grow for the city commission, and with the pending decision, the city commission must weigh their options. Either they can approve and accept the recommendation of the planning commission or work with the applicant on an alternate plan that addresses the issues brought up at the previous planning commission meeting.