With a dramatic nudge, a demolition man pushed a giant battering ram into an old smokestack from the former Eaton Corp. building and it fell to the ground in three pieces.
That was the end of Eaton and the beginning of Liberty Lofts, the 68-unit condominium and retail project being led by Chicago-based Morningside Group. The developer held a ground-breaking event Friday, marking the end of the tear-out and beginning of construction.
“Demolition is nearing completion, and we hope to submit our plans for a building permit soon, and construction would start soon after that,” said Ron Mucha, vice president of Morningside.
Rubble covers the ground behind the five-story building that will house some of the condos. The company also will build a new structure behind the former auto parts factory for the remaining condos.
Mucha said the project, which is expected to be completed by fall of 2006, is on schedule.
About 75 people turned out for the ground-breaking. Politicians, neighbors, local real estate folks and future residents stood in the crowd.
Laurie Gailunas, who lives three houses west of the factory on West William Street, said she’s hoping for a market.
“The neighbors and I would love at least one the shops to be a grocery store,” Gailunas said.
“The complex includes a long warehouse-like building that is slated for retail uses.
Morningside received a strong initial response to the condos and has reserved about 70 percent of the units, which are priced between $250,000 and $550,000.
Most of the Eaton complex was built in the late 1920s and 1930s, although some buildings date back to 1868. One of the structures that was removed was a former tannery that engineers determined unsafe for renovations.
Mike Ramsey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (734) 994-6864.
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