SkyscraperPage Forum

SkyscraperPage Forum (
-   Midwest (
-   -   Ann Arbor Construction updates (

nofunk Dec 20, 2008 8:11 AM

I don't see anything wrong with elevated rail. Given the topography along Fuller Road and the fact that the route would run through very dense areas once it got south of the medical center, I think elevated probably makes the most sense. Many roads downtown and near central campus are narrow and congested, and I'm not sure removing automobile right-of-way in those areas is a good idea.

(I have wondered in the past why the university hasn't considered running articulated buses on its commuter routes, but then again, maybe some of the turns along the routes would be too tight for them.)

Rizzo Dec 20, 2008 8:15 AM

Articulated buses would be nice. But yeah I share your concern on that. I typically get on at Victor Vaughn and the drivers always struggle making that downhill corner. I can always expect a curb clipped maybe once or twice a week.


Originally Posted by Jasoncw (Post 3984686)
Also, in general, for non-bus mass transit, I don't think it has as much of a benefit over buses that it might in other areas. There are no businesses for there to be spin off investment to, and there is no stigma to the UM buses.

I don't think it's necessarily intended to stimulate business growth, rather move people from one busy commuter location to another. Like Pierpont to CC Little. Again, I don't know much about this plan other than what I've seen in a few advisory drawings. Regardless, there is planning going on for a "high circulatory system"

Jasoncw Dec 21, 2008 5:33 AM

I think that once you got into central campus it might make sense to elevate the rail, but I don't think it's necessary anywhere north of those train tracks. I think some kind of People Mover-esque system would be nice, but the physical act of elevating the rail is silly for most of the trip. I don't recall there being much topography on Fuller, and they could probably make it flat enough shuffling around some dirt.

And of course, if it were elevated it would be put on some kind of neo-neoclassical columns, or disguised as a roman aqueduct, or put on gothic piers. :)

Rizzo Dec 21, 2008 7:57 AM

Knowing Ann Arbor, it would probably be gothic styled or something lol. I think the part of fuller we are thinking about is over by the hospital where there are dramatic changes in topography and lots of ground activity. Curving roads, busy intersections, railroad tracts are all in the way. In fact, the location of the hospital makes ground light rail impossible. No way the U would ever let a train block their ambulances. Maybe along that flat area where it becomes a boulevard it would make some sense, but if you really try to plan out a route on the ground between CC little and pierpont, you'll find it almost impossible...assuming you don't level a dozen buildings.

As unsightly as elevated rail may be, it's really the most practical for negotiating Ann Arbor's built environment. I realize North Campus is somewhat flat and open, but that's less than half of the trip.

the urban politician Dec 21, 2008 7:09 PM

I would like to thank everybody here for keeping us all updated on what's going on in AA, especially U of M. U of M will always have a special place in my heart, and it's good to know that things are still full speed ahead for this place.

Jasoncw Dec 22, 2008 1:33 AM

Yeah, I agree that spot would probably need some kind of elevation, but for all of north campus, it could be on the ground. Then, once you get south of that part of fuller, you're into the campus and you have a lot of boulevards and "campus" to work with. It also depends where it would go, since I was thinking that it would basically go to Pierpont (or some other convenient spot on North Campus) to the CC Little Building (or some other convenient spot on Central Campus).

But it would be nice if it could be driverless and automatic and run all the time, lol, which could be done if it was totally elevated or separated.

Folk313 Dec 22, 2008 3:15 AM


Originally Posted by LMich (Post 3984743)
Folk, that response was unnecessarily rude. Please find a more appropriate way of expressing your opinion.


all i was saying is that elevated rail was a popular idea in decades prior, but today is a bad idea for a city like ann arbor as a matter of pure reason. i would be surprised for any planner, professional or not, to make a suggestion. :shrug:

and hayward,

i agree with you: streetcars aren't going to cut it for intercampus transportation. i feel like it's the next best option up from buses, though. i would not advocate it myself. they'll just have to ramp up the buses.
i didn't mean for my response to sound vitriolic.

Rizzo Dec 22, 2008 3:37 AM

Don't get me wrong, I'd hate to see something like the people mover or something out of epcot meandering through AA's streets. But in certain areas elevating it is absolutely necessary for rail to exist, where others it is not. Like Jason mentioned, areas around north campus would likely see tracks on the ground, and perhaps nearby CC Little on Central Campus.

This system (with what very little info we have) isn't my idea, and I don't necessarily support elevated rail, if it were to even happen But what I do support is some sort of express rail system between campuses that would also permit U of M to continue to operate bus services to areas distant from the h-c route.

I know several forumers here commute between North and Central and understand how ridiculous the crowding can get. I don't think U of M can add more buses without being impractical. I did a project a year ago and surveyed ridership of buses between north and central. Sometimes 3 pull into a stop at the same time and they are all full. Even with service running every 5 minutes, it's not going to help people get to class in time. The real blunder was building North Campus and expecting people to travel a mile between classes. I don't think they ever predicted that amount of intercampus travel. As both campuses grow, so must the transit system, beyond the technology we already have.

DecoJim Dec 22, 2008 8:43 PM

Hopefully the elevated portion is just to get across the lower elevations of the Huron river valley. Light rail does not like steep grades. I think its about a 100 foot drop from the medical campus to the low lying areas next to the river. North Campus is also on higher land.

After my first two years at UM, I avoided the bus problem by moving to North Campus were most of my (engineering) classes were.

Mid-Michigan Jan 3, 2009 5:04 AM

Are they done building the CCS hospital in Ann Arbor?

Rizzo Jan 3, 2009 5:20 AM

Still a long ways to go. Steel construction is still incomplete on the northern wing of the building. The rest of the building is being fireproofed with only a minimal application of exterior cladding put up.

subterranean Jan 4, 2009 8:27 PM

December 31, 2008
A Rust Belt Oasis, the University of Michigan Is Spending Billions to Grow
The New York Times

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — An army of ironworkers, masons, carpenters and laborers are swarming the campus of the University of Michigan these days, as the university undertakes a construction campaign budgeted at $2.5 billion, ranking it among the largest university building programs in the United States.

Nine major buildings for science, medicine, health, art, business, sports, food service and student housing are in various stages of construction here. They encompass nearly three million square feet, at a cost of about $1.66 billion. Five others are in the design stage.

This comes after the completion in the last two years of 10 other buildings — for biomedical research, cardiovascular treatment, science, technology, engineering, public health, public policy and drama — covering 1.7 million square feet at a cost of $836.4 million. The square footage in the new and renovated buildings comes to the equivalent of 105 acres.

“Having the right facilities is crucial to a thriving public research university,” said Philip J. Hanlon, vice provost for academic and budgetary affairs at the University of Michigan, where the first building was completed in 1840. “We are producing the work force of the future in the industries of the future. And we are doing that even as the help our state government provides is declining.”

Indeed, college campuses have emerged this decade as important centers of building design and construction, according to executives overseeing university buildings and operations across the country. As in Michigan’s case, university construction programs are often the largest capital projects in their states.

University administrators here and in other states say the burst of construction, which began at the start of the decade and accelerated in recent years, has enabled campuses to catch up with years of deferred maintenance and to add new installations that respond to fast-evolving economic priorities and markets.

Among the most important of those is attracting the best students and faculty to elite institutions like Michigan, which sees itself as competing with universities like Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Columbia and Virginia and the major campuses of the University of California.

Universities are also racing to become leaders in new technologies to produce successful graduates and royalties from spin-off businesses that can contribute to revenue. Michigan is making a particular effort to be a leader in nanotechnology, medical science and new mechanical engineering applications.

The race for financing is particularly urgent now, development officers say. The national financial crisis has drained endowments and may affect fund-raising. Michigan’s endowment at the end of June was $7.7 billion, but it has dropped by about 20 to 30 percent since then, the university said.

Still, its construction program proceeded apace even as state funds steadily diminished. For its 24 projects, the university says it has received just $20 million from the state of Michigan for three of the projects. The rest were financed with donor gifts, bonds and operating revenue.

Other campus construction programs also have large price tags. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, for example, is completing a 10-year, $2.1 billion renovation and construction program that included a $122 million genetic research center. The University of Virginia has $1.51 billion in new buildings in the planning and construction stages, according to a report by C. A. Johannesmeyer, the director of facilities planning and construction.

At the University of Michigan, “two goals guide the program,” said Henry D. Baier, the associate vice president for facilities and operations. “We have to stay competitive. And we need to be good stewards of this campus and this state.”

The university is one of the most prominent institutions in a Rust Belt state saddled with a jobless rate of 9.3 percent, tied with Rhode Island for the nation’s highest. But Ann Arbor, with 114,000 residents, is holding its own, in large part because of its highly ranked university, which has a $5.2 billion budget, 41,000 students and employs more than 30,000 people.

Nothing about the campus building program will harm its reputation. The biggest projects include a $754 million, 1.1-million-square-foot medical facility to the C. S. Mott Children’s and Women’s Hospital.

The university, which already has more than 200 buildings, is also putting up its first dormitory in 40 years, the $175 million, 360,000-square-foot North Quad, which also has classroom space.

The famed “Big House” football stadium is adding 450,000 square feet for luxury boxes, a new media center and more than 2,000 seats, which will give it more than 108,000 seats, surpassing Penn State’s Beaver Stadium as the nation’s largest. The cost: $226 million.

The most significant architectural statement is made in the $145 million, 270,000-square-foot Stephen M. Ross School of Business, designed by the New York-based architects Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates. The L-shaped building is six stories tall, with glass walls in the top stories. The exterior base is sandstone topped by terra cotta walls.

Michigan’s program also includes the $132 million, 230,000-square-foot Kellogg Eye Center and Brehm Diabetes Center; the $42 million, 96,000-square-foot renovation and expansion of the Alumni Memorial Hall Museum of Art; and the $48 million, 41,000-square-foot Robert H. Lurie Nanofabrication Facility.

Jerry A. May, the vice president for development, led an eight-year capital campaign, recently completed, that raised $3.11 billion, a record for public universities in the United States, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. More than 360,000 of the university’s 439,000 living alumni contributed.

Mr. May, who headed a team of professional fund-raisers and volunteers, noted that many of the largest gifts for the construction projects came from prominent developers who graduated from Michigan.

The largest gift, $100 million, was donated to the business school by Mr. Ross, a New York-based developer who is the chief executive of the Related Companies, which built the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle.

Mr. Ross, a 1962 Michigan graduate, was co-chairman of the capital campaign. He also donated $5 million more to help build a $12 million, 38,000-square-foot academic center for university athletes; it was completed in 2006.

Rizzo Jan 6, 2009 4:11 AM

The changes that have occurred across the U of M campus is amazing. It's already a dramatically different landscape than when I started school here 6 year ago, and even different when my sister started 4 years prior to that. In a decade the University has built so much, and is looking better all the time. Investing in quality architecture will continue to make U of M an attractive environment for learning.

Rizzo Jan 10, 2009 6:32 AM

Looks like Dominicks wants to expand. They said possibly including a small grocery. That would be awesome for that corner. I always thought it would work better as a commercial street than dumpy residential and the DeltaDeltaDelta house, not that they have to go lol. It's really built itself up with the university essentially enclosing this block. I think the plan fits well with the city's vision for this area

About the project. A2gov website:

Rizzo Jan 19, 2009 4:34 AM

I'm pleased to find out that something is FINALLY being done with this vacant bank

Many of you from AA may be very familar with this long vacant storefront. It's connected to the tall red brick parking structure called "Tally Hall," more recently renamed Liberty Square.


Old bank's vault poses challenge

by Stefanie Murray | The Ann Arbor News
Saturday January 17, 2009, 11:49 PM


Fencing recently went up around the former bank building that fronts the Liberty Square parking garage in downtown Ann Arbor.

Real estate company McKinley owns the building and is starting renovation. Specifically, they're getting the space ready for retail tenants, said Royal Caswell, the company's executive vice president of commercial real estate.

Business Team Leader Stefanie Murray can be reached at 734-994-6932 or
Caswell said the process has been delayed somewhat because of financing. The company recently closed its construction loan for the project with KeyBank.

"It's a long process in this environment," Caswell said about financing.

The renovation will open up 16,000 square feet of retail space on East Liberty Street. One particular challenge will be removing the vault inside the former bank - Caswell said he was told it'll take two weeks and the use of saw blades that are 6 feet long to cut it out.


And a side note regarding banks. There is definitely a lack of ATMs in that vicinity, just TCF.

Rizzo Jan 20, 2009 7:04 AM

University of Michigan regents to vote on Crisler Arena practice facility Thursday

by John Heuser | The Ann Arbor News
Monday January 19, 2009, 1:39 PM

More than five years after a sports architecture firm drew up plans for a practice facility to be built alongside the University of Michigan's Crisler Arena, the school is ready to take a decisive step forward.

On Thursday, the university's Board of Regents will be asked to approve a 50,000 square-foot addition to Crisler, which would be situated on the venue's east side and cost $23.2 million. The new facility, called a player development center by Michigan, would house two basketball practice courts, locker rooms, a strength and conditioning center, a video theater, an area for athletic medicine and offices for coaches and staff members.

Athletic director Bill Martin was not immediately available for comment Monday afternoon, but in a statement released by the university, he said, "This is a major step forward in improving our basketball facilities. This facility will allow our student-athletes to practice later in the day and give them more flexibility in scheduling their academic classes."

The time frame for the construction of the facility is unclear. Pending approval by the regents, however, the athletic department is expected to hire Jickling Lyman Powell Associates as the design architect.

The addition to Crisler Arena will be paid for by athletic department financial resources and gifts.

"Having our coaches' offices, strength and conditioning, video theater, training room and practice court all connected to Crisler Arena will only enhance student-athletes' development and our efficiency as a staff," Michigan men's basketball coach John Beilein said in a statement.

twomutts Jan 22, 2009 3:01 PM

Interesting. I've heard rumours that Crisler is going to be replaced in the not too distant future by a new building where Pioneer High School is now (in the large lot currently used for football parking). If the practice facility goes up, that would pretty well eliminate that idea!

Rizzo Jan 22, 2009 11:56 PM

I was wondering about that. Plus they built that new facility at the base of the outdoor concourse. I'm definitely not a fan of Crisler Arena, it's really showing its age despite repairs. But I really appreciate its location so close to Michigan stadium.

twomutts Jan 23, 2009 5:15 AM

Well, it's not like the new arena would be much of a hike if they did move it over to Pioneer; it's right across the street. If they could tear down the old building and use that space for tailgating in the fall, it could be pretty interesting. Of course, the proposal I had heard of talked about tearing down Pioneer, and I could see that idea causing all kinds of problems for the neighbors and alums of the school. I guess we wait and see how things play out.

Rizzo Jan 24, 2009 12:53 PM

I did a South U photo thread that can be viewed here:

All times are GMT. The time now is 8:03 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.