Buildings in search of new life: Livingston County’s nine worst vacant eyesores

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There’s a lot of eye candy in Livingston County – beautiful stores, restaurants, schools and other establishments.

Unfortunately, though, we also have our share of eyesores – buildings that have been sitting vacant and abandoned for months, years and in some cases, decades.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of Livingston County’s nine worst vacant eyesores. Some of these places have been vacant for a short while; some have been vacant for a long while. Every one of them is located along a major artery in Livingston County or in another prominent location, and every one of them deserves new life.

So without further ado, here’s our list of the county’s worst vacant eyesores – starting with No. 9 and moving up to No. 1.

9. The original Howell Wendy’s on Grand River Avenue

It’s only been sitting empty for a few weeks, as the old owners closed the doors for good this spring. But it’s already looking sad and lonely. It’s not like we NEED another fast-food place in that stretch (the Meijer/Walmart area), but it sure would be nice to see something take its place.


8. Carson’s, Howell

Located along Grand River Avenue in Genoa Township, Carson’s was a wonderful department store that closed up shop in 2018 when its parent company went out of business. We HATE seeing a major anchor location like this sitting empty for so long.

7. The old Fowlerville car wash

When folks come into town next week for the Fowlerville Fair, they’re going to be greeted – once again – by this dilapidated old car wash. It’s located on Grand River Avenue just east of the fairgrounds, and it’s been vacant for much of this decade. We’d like to see it either torn down or brought back to life.

6. Lindbom Elementary School, Brighton

Located in the heart of the city, Lindbom has been closed since 2010. And it’s not like they haven’t tried bringing it back to life. A private developer bought the property in 2015 with plans on turning it into a charter school. When that didn’t happen, the next plan was to turn it into a senior housing development. Those plans seem to be on hold, though, so it’s still sitting empty.

5. The old Johnny Howell service station

The was a landmark gas station, service station and towing place for decades before closing down several years back. Located smack-dab in the middle of Howell, we’d love to see it come back to life.

4. The Howell Clark gas station

Located just a block east of Johnny Howell’s place, this sad-looking eyesore has also been sitting vacant for many years.

3. Pinckney Elementary School

It’s been closed since 2012. They used to play baseball and softball games at the site after it closed, but those stopped a few years ago. Now it’s just a huge vacant building surrounded by a huge vacant playground.

2. Barnstormer Banquet Center, Green Oak Township

Owner Rob Cortis has been battling tax problems and occupancy issues since 2012 at this well-known site, which used to host weddings, banquets and other special events. Located at the intersection of M-36 and U.S. 23, it’s just a big eyesore now.

  1. The McAuley-McPherson Health Building, Brighton

Ah, yes. The Grandaddy of Livingston County’s Vacant Eyesores. What was once a thriving and vibrant health building is now just an eyesore that sits on one of the most prime pieces of real estate in Livingston County, in front of the Meijer building on Grand River Avenue in Brighton. It’s been sitting vacant since 2001 or 2002, and the owner reportedly likes it that way. He supposedly won’t sell it, won’t list it, won’t fix it up and won’t find another tenant for it.

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About The Livingston Post 1585 Articles
The Livingston Post is the only locally owned, all-digital information and opinion site in Livingston County, Mich. It was launched by award-winning journalists who were laid off from the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus by Gannett Co. Inc. in 2009.


  1. Ya, the Howell Clark station needs to be torn down! The city tried to work with the owner who claims to want to re-open it yet all he has done is turn on the gas price sign, it seems that he has no intention to re-open.

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