The following is in response to the article (“Former Gibson Guitar smokestack in line for demolition pending permit review”) posted 1/12/2015 by Al Jones in the Kalamazoo Gazette.
The property located at 225 Parsons had been in a court ordered receivership for almost a year, during which time multiple structural evaluations were done. Restoration work to the smokestack over the last decade had been unsuccessful, and Kalamazoo based Byce & Associates was engaged in spring of 2014 to do further observational structural evaluation. Byce determined that the smokestack is leaning, bulging, is located over a 14” gas main, and is in danger of failing due to deferred maintenance. Restoration costs approached $800,000. A failure poses hazards to human life, the building structure, the smokestack itself, and the roof structure. Because of these issues, the receiver petitioned the court to have the smokestack removed. A court order was issued December 2, 2014. This court order occurred prior to the purchase dated December 31, 2014 by 225 Parsons, LLC.
As the demolition plans were already in process at the time of purchase, the owner stepped in to request that the smokestack bricks with the iconic Gibson name be retained as possible for future use during redevelopment of the building. Plazacorp Realty Advisors, on behalf a number of owners, has a strong history of stewardship of historical buildings within Kalamazoo. Since the late 1990s, such stewardship has given new life to a number of condemned, structurally obsolete, and environmentally contaminated downtown structures including the Globe building, the Shakespeare and Speareflex buildings, and the United Building. Any questions may be directed to the property manager, Midwest Realty Group, LLC at 269-323-0717.