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Work to start on Hughes building

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Work to start on Hughes building

FLINT

THE FLINT JOURNAL FIRST EDITION

Thursday, May 06, 2004

By James M. Miller

[email protected], 810.766.6318

FLINT -- Work is expected to start this week to repair the roof of the former Hughes & Hatcher building in downtown Flint. The job could take two to three weeks to complete, and once that is done crews will be able to begin remodeling the building for mixed use -- commercial use on the first floor, a county office on the second floor, apartments on the top two floors.

The building is owned by Genesee County, and County Treasurer Daniel T. Kildee has proposed using the second floor as an office for the county's land bank program. The program handles properties taken over in the tax foreclosure process, which is the way the county obtained the Hughes & Hatcher building.

There were broken or open windows on the upper floors of the building, making the space an attractive habitat for pigeons, so more than 20 years of "bird stuff" had to be removed before other work could begin.

"It was a mess," said Kildee. "Plus there was a lot of junk that had been left in there."

The building was home to the Hughes & Hatcher clothing store from 1974 to 1980.

Crews also removed asbestos pipe insulation, asbestos tile and other environmental problems, in preparation for giving the building a new life. The County Board of Commissioners has approved a contract for $82,386 to repair the roof.

Kildee said the next step will be to prepare construction documents, and bids will be sought in June.

Plans call for developing six apartments on the upper floors, and building a "light well" through the third and fourth floors to bring natural light to rooms on those floors and the second floor.

"The floors are each about 6,000 square feet, so there's a lot of room," he said.

Kildee said he is looking for a commercial tenant for the first-floor space, and has talked to some interested tenants.

As part of the renovation, the building will get a new facade.

"A lot of people think it was an old building that had a '50s facade put on it, but it's not," Kildee said. "It's a good building -- it's not that old, it's in good shape."

The building, one of the newer ones along Saginaw Street, was built in 1955 for the A.M. Davison clothing store. The four-story steel-frame structure replaced two earlier buildings on the same site that had been combined by A.M. Davison.

Because it is a wide building, Kildee said, plans call for a new facade that will make it look like two separate buildings.

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