A piece of Lakeview history may be history

Posted by Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 9:43 pm on Friday, October 21 2011

LAKEVIEW — A 117-year-old piece of history prominent in Lakeview’s downtown area is in trouble.
Montcalm County Building Department Director Scott Minard has condemned the Lakeview Inn at 333 S. Lincoln Ave. He labeled the building as “dangerous and unsafe.”
County Treasurer Marcia Sawdy also is foreclosing on the building because because of unpaid taxes.
The Lakeview Inn occupies a brick building erected in the heart of the village’s downtown area in 1894. The building features upstairs apartments and a downstairs bar and restaurant.
Lee Tanis holds the ownership title for the building through Tanis Investment LLC in Grand Rapids. Andrea Rawson currently has a land contract with Tanis.
Tanis and Rawson applied for a liquor license transfer early this summer, according to Lakeview Village Manager James Freed. All liquor transfer requests require a building inspection, according to state law. Freed asked Minard to conduct an inspection.
Minard inspected the building and condemned it June 7 due to “severe deterioration of the exterior of the structure and lack of maintenance.” Minard gave Tanis 30 days to correct the situation.
Tanis obtained a building permit to correct the violations July 14. However, only minimal work was done at the site. Also, that work was not in compliance with masonry standards or state construction code, according to Minard.
He inspected the property again Oct. 3 and found more violations, including:
• An insufficient number of smoke detectors in the upstairs apartments where people lived.
• Egress components being locked or blocked, making them insufficient for use.
• “Hazardous” electrical work out of compliance with state code.
Minard gave Tanis 10 days to remove the tenants from the building. Minard said the building would be secured and no one would be allowed to use or occupy the property beginning Oct. 15.
Yet, several people were seen entering and exiting the building Friday afternoon.
Minard said Tanis has only done “a couple of hours of work” on the building since it was condemned. Minard said repairing it to meet building codes would be costly.
“It is a hazard and the cost to properly repair it is not feasible for the value of the building,” he said. “It has been let go too long.”
Tanis could not be reached for comment. Rawson did not return repeated messages seeking comment.
Rawson was planning to use the building for a St. Baldrick’s Foundation fundraiser earlier this month but had to cancel the event days before it was scheduled due to the condemnation order.
Minard authorized the village of Lakeview to take necessary steps and precautions to secure the building and make the property safe and secure to protect the health, safety and welfare of the occupants and the general public.
“It’s a historic landmark,” Freed said. “It’s disappointing that it’s come to this, but we’re obligated to keep our community safe. This building is dangerous.”
Additionally, the Lakeview Inn has a total of $11,885.95 in delinquent taxes dating back to 2009, according to Montcalm County Treasurer Marcia Sawdy. She is in the process of foreclosing on the Lakeview Inn and will do so by next spring if the 2009 taxes are not paid.

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