Battle Creek’s Historic Binder Building Site, Before and After
Battle Creek’s historic sandstone tower known as the Binder Building met the wrecking ball, just before Christmas, as the aging structure failed and the city deemed it unsafe.
Once a slaughterhouse, the iconic structure was considered by some to be Battle Creek’s version of New York City’s Flatiron building, because of its triangular shape.
Here are some photos and a video of the demolition in progress last December.
Owner Bryant DeBolt argued that the building was full of historic artifacts, but city officials would not allow him near the building, again because of safety concerns. He got several reprieves, but the building met its end.
Eight months later, there’s not much left at the site, except a new cement slab, and a few old safes. But DeBolt and the city are still fighting, this time over who pays the $357,109 demolition bill. Judge Sarah Lincoln could rule on that this month. Debolt claims the demo crew made off with some of his property, worth $100,000. City officials have been quoted as saying that the crew was hired to scrap anything in the immediate area of the demolition.
At least one witness testified in court that he saw a large safe door lifted by a crane into a pickup truck. Debolt says it wasn’t his truck. It remains to be seen if more witnesses will come forward, or even if that will make a difference in the judge’s decision. City attorneys may seek liens on the property and maybe even DeBolt’s home to recover some of the cost of demolishing the tower and sealing up the rest of the building.
We first reported that the building was in trouble in September of 2019, when two upper floors collapsed, causing one wall to bulge outward.
Here’s what the site looks like now, and some photos of what it used to look like.