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Historic Owosso building faces demise

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 11:16 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - In the quiet town of Owosso sits an abandoned building with a rich history dating back to its construction in the late 1800′s as an extension of the old Owosso Casket Company.

But, because of its deserted state the structure’s roof has caved in, windows broken out, and some of the bricks are crumbling. As a result, the city plans to take it down.

“It’s hard to look at and you see all of the broken windows,” said the building’s neighbor Brandon Taphouse.

For Taphouse, it’s an eyesore he can’t avoid because the dilapidated building overlooks his home.

“It’d be nice to have it remodeled and turned it into something for kids to go in there and hang out and play,” he said.

That’s where Michael Luongo steps in. While his idea isn’t entertainment-related, he has petitioned the city to allow him to buy the property and renovate it.

“I’ve done a building out in Corunna. I’ve worked on similar issues that this building has. In fact, I believe it’s less work than what this building has,” said Luongo.

With giant holes and a collapsed roof exposing the inside of the building, Luongo turned his property in Corunna into a place where people can call home. Much like what he hopes to do with this structure.

“It’d be split into about nine apartments. There would be entrances below for indoor parking,” he said.

With signs warning the public the property is unsafe, it’s also the reason the City of Owosso believes they have the right to tear it down.

“This building is savable. There’s a chance here to do something good,” said Luongo. “To have this building brought back to life. It’s something that once it’s gone it’s going to be gone forever and it’s not something that is going to be rebuilt.”

Despite Luongo’s vision, Taphouse sides with the city and hopes they tear it down.

“Turn it into a go-kart track behind the building because there’s a big open lot. Right now there’s just a bunch of trash sitting back there,” said Taphouse.

Even with Luongo’s best efforts, the Owosso City Manager says the building has met its end and there isn’t anything that can be done.

The final decision on the building’s future will be determined on October 25th in court.

Copyright 2021 WILX. All rights reserved.

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