House set for demolition given a reprieve by city council

BURTON — A home slated for demolition June 1 has received a second chance after a new potential owner stepped forward Monday night with a proposal to rehabilitate the property.

Mark Yuschak, president of MEY Investments, in Grand Blanc addressed the Burton City Council at its Monday night meeting asking for more time to rebuild a home destroyed by fire in 2018 which was facing demolition in six weeks.

Yuschak, a local real estate professional who specializes in the reconstruction, restoration and investment of single-family homes, said he currently owns 16 homes in the city of Burton and has one property under contract purchase.

He said he currently is under contract to buy a home at 6044 Davison Rd. which was severely damage in a fire almost three years ago but needs more time to finish the reconstruction work.

“I have a long-standing, positive reputation for buying properties that are dilapidated and refurbishing them to current market standards,” he told the council in a letter. “Those properties are then sold to homeowners who otherwise do not have the interest, skill sets or funds to rehab a home.”

Yuschak said this is a great benefit to the city for improving homes, increasing taxable values and reducing blighted properties, as well as being beneficial to his business model.

In total he said he has rehabbed more than 100 homes in Genesee County, adding the betterment and improvement of single-family homes has offered him a great rapport with city officials, particularly in the building department.

Before closing on the Davison Road house, Yuschak said he learned from Amber Abbey, deputy DPW director, the property was scheduled to be demolished on or about June 1 unless significant progress was made to restore it.

“Given the timeline I have, just learning about the property and going under contract, there is no way I can have the home restored to meet building and plumbing, HVAC and electrical codes in less than six weeks,” he said. “Especially with tradesmen being in very high demand in the current state of the economy.”

Unable to meet what he called an “unrealistic deadline”, Yuschak asked the council to give him an extension to bring the house back to code by Dec. 1, or face demolition.

Charles Abbey, director of the DPW, said the city has had no issues with Yuschak or his company in their efforts to rehab Burton homes.

“He does a good job, seems to do what he says he’s going to do, and they turn out well,” said Abbey. “My only suggestion is, if it’s the council’s intent to give Mark time to buy this (home) and rehab it, is that we put that extension in his name because the other owner only had until June.”

He said if the extension is put in Yuschak’s name, if something happens and the deal doesn’t go through, and the original owner doesn’t plan on rehabbing it, the city isn’t stuck starting the whole process all over again.

Council President Steve Heffner suggested asking Yuschak for a surety bond to make sure the city isn’t out anything if the redevelopment of the home falls through.

“So, if we put on a $2,500 surety, which probably costs him $100 to get that bond, if he follows through with his word, he’ll get that surety bond back,” said Heffner. “No big deal, that way our costs are covered.”

Abbey said normally the city would say $10,000 surety because they’d want to cover the cost of the demolition if he doesn’t follow through. But he said, since Yuschak’s history has been good he was OK with the $2,500 bond.

“There have been some that are a lot less desirable that we’ve had to make those kind of calls with, but that hasn’t been the case with Mark,” he said. “They’ve done a good job and he’s forthright in saying that.”

Heffner said he was also in favor of giving Yuschak until Jan. 1 to complete the work, allowing an additional month.

Council Vice President Greg Fenner asked if there was insurance money set aside from this house to cover demolition, which Fire Chief Kirk Wilkinson said there was – to the sum of $13,000.

Should the work on the house not be complete by Yuschak, even though the insurance money belonged to the previous owner, the city would continue to hold it until the work on the house was completed and approved by the building department.

The council voted unanimously to approve the deadline extension to Jan.1, with the $2,500 surety.