Government and Real Estate

County eyes VFW building

February 1, 2016
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Kalamazoo VFW building
The VFW building in Kalamazoo, far right, is next to a Kalamzoo County administration building, bottom. Copyright © 2009 Pictometry International Corp. All rights reserved

The sale of a VFW post in the region is in the works.

Kalamazoo County is considering purchasing the Veterans of Foreign Wars building in Kalamazoo, at 323 N. Church St., for $375,000 from the Luzon Argonne Post to use the area for parking.

VFW Post 827 plans to relocate a mile away in city's downtown central business district.

Option to buy

The Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners approved entering into an agreement with the VFW Luzon Argonne Post last summer after the post’s leadership indicated it would be interested in selling the building to the county for $375,000.

Thom Canny, corporate counsel for Kalamazoo County Administrative Services, said a county administration building is located nearby, on the corner of N. Rose Street and W. Kalamazoo Avenue, and the county owns almost half of the lot immediately to the west, which is where the VFW building is located.

“The county entered into an option to purchase,” Canny said.

Canny said the county paid nearly one-tenth of the sale price to secure the option to purchase by the end of this year.

Plans for the site

The county currently uses the property near the VFW building for parking and is interested in acquiring the facility “for the immediate purpose of adding parking space” and to have the option of developing a new parking structure or locating a county building at the location, according to the August 2015 Kalamazoo County board meeting minutes.

Canny indicated the county conducted an environmental assessment of the land and is in the process of considering an abatement of hazardous materials strategy. The county plans to demolish the existing building to pave the area in the short term, if the transaction is finalized.

“The county plans to acquire that portion of the parking area,” Canny said. “If we develop that in the future, it will make the future development that much easier, and we can always use that parking space.”

VFW move

The VFW Luzon Argonne Post plans to relocate its operations to the Home Bar’s location in Kalamazoo, at 562 Portage St., since the owner plans to retire.

The more than 40-year-old bar recently moved from its former location at 592 Portage St. to 562 Portage St., after renovating the former Tradewinds Lounge space in 2013.

Canny indicated the VFW’s potential move to the new location and the county’s possible acquisition of the Church Street building is beneficial for everybody.

“The VFW has an arrangement to acquire the Home Bar, which is on Portage Street,” Canny said. “I think they get a more modern building that is better for their needs.”

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