Ypsilanti developers and landlords Eric and Karen Maurer purchased 120, 122, and 124 West Michigan Avenue in March 2010. With the rich history of the buildings in mind, they renamed them the Mellencamp Building. A clothing store and the longest-lived retail tenant in downtown Ypsilanti, Mellencamp’s inhabited the first-floor commercial space at 122 for 116 years, closing in July 1984.
Built in the 1850s, the buildings encompass 16,020 square feet of retail and residential space. The Maurers restored the first floor into three now-thriving retail spaces and created twelve stunning loft apartments on the second and third floors. This brings the number of loft apartments the Maurers have renovated in downtown Ypsilanti to forty-two. The twelve apartments rented by word of mouth before they were ready for occupancy. Tenants are young professionals or graduate students.
All of the apartments have some brick walls and lots of light pouring in to wide-open living spaces. Tourgoers will be seeing three apartments today. The tenants have applied personality, imagination, and style to organizing the spaces to suit themselves. Two decided against the suggested location of the bedroom—one is using it as a sophisticated dressing room that features a fabulous large wood-framed mirror leaning against the wall; the other has the space set up as her “den,” with a TV and a cozy couch. The third tenant created an enclosed bedroom for his young daughter and walled off an area for a home office. In this apartment tourgoers will enjoy seeing the mid-century-modern kitchen table with six matching chairs that came from the tenant’s grandmother. Ladders displaying beautiful shoes are scattered about the apartment of the tenant with the dressing room, and the tenant with the den has a silvery faux fireplace.
When the Maurers took possession of the property, scraps of paper documenting transactions at Mellencamp’s were found in the stairway leading to the second floor.