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ColDayMan Jul 12, 2011 2:46 PM

That is the whitest dorm renderings I've ever seen.

subterranean Jul 12, 2011 5:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ColDayMan (Post 5344853)
That is the whitest dorm renderings I've ever seen.

Word. East Asians should have outnumbered whites 2 to 1. Then again, this isn't quite north campus.

Rizzo Jul 13, 2011 1:28 AM

So yeah there was my hinted critique. It's a diverse dorm, but renderings don't suggest that.

subterranean Jul 13, 2011 1:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hayward (Post 5345613)
So yeah there was my hinted critique. It's a diverse dorm, but renderings don't suggest that.

Oh, I thought you were referring to the chick on the couch playing with herself in the first rendering.

Rizzo Jul 19, 2011 12:54 AM

So with Borders out of business now, what do you all think should be done with the soon to be shuttered downtown store?

If some of you can remember way back, it used to be a Jacobsons. When viewed from above, you can see it was several different buildings at one time. I'd say this place is at the end of its useful life. To upgrade a wood framed structure into anything seems nightmarish.

Knock it down and build a 2-3 story building in its place.

DetroitMan Jul 19, 2011 6:34 PM

University of Michigan plans $116 million renovation to East Quad dormitory
Quote:

The $116 million cost of the project will be provided from Housing resources, the College of Literature, Science and the Arts resources and investment proceeds.

Renovations would include new plumbing, heating, cooling, ventilation, fire detection and suppression systems. Other improvements would include wired and wireless high-speed network access, renovated bath facilities and improvements to accessibility.

The action request was submitted to regents by Royster Harper, vice president for student affairs, and Timothy Slottow, executive vice president.

The design process will begin after regents vote on the project. The project is not scheduled. Regents will be presented with a timetable when university officials seek approval of the designs.

Architectural firm Integrated Design Solutions LLC will be in charge of designing the project.

The project will also renovate the Residential College to current academic standards. The action request notes that since the college’s inception in 1967, spaces have been used within East Quadrangle for classrooms that were not originally intended for academic study. The request said offices and administrative functions have been housed in former bedrooms and most classrooms are located in the basement.
http://www.annarbor.com/news/univers...st-quadrangle/

DetroitMan Jul 19, 2011 6:39 PM

Ann Arbor CFO warns that 60-day purchase delay possible for Village Green deal
Quote:

Ann Arbor City Council members received an update Monday night on the long-awaited Village Green project, which calls for a 156-unit complex called Ann Arbor City Apartments on city-owned property at the corner of First and Washington downtown.

The city entered into an option-to-purchase agreement with the developer in February 2007 and it was amended last year to extend the term of the option to June 1, 2011. The city administrator later exercised authority to extend the timeline to Aug. 30, 2011.
http://www.annarbor.com/news/ann-arb...tment-project/

DetroitMan Jul 21, 2011 11:08 AM

Here's a PDF presentation I found of the Varsity in Ann Arbor. I have to say that I'm really not impressed with it. Why does everything new in Ann Arbor have to be so damn ugly.
http://annarborchronicle.com/wp-cont...011%200601.pdf

Jasoncw Jul 22, 2011 4:27 PM

Not only is the building itself bad but that .pdf is too. The layouts are all over the place, there's all kinds of crazy fonts going on (the drawings actually use one of those horrible fake hand lettering "blueprint" fonts), the photography is bad. On one of the photography pages the photos don't even line up on the haphazard grid they tried to use for that page, it's off a few pixels. According to their design narrative section, they followed the design guideline rules to the minimum. They also explain their flat brick facade and silly metal thing (err, "iconic vertical element"). And they even criticize the surrounding buildings!

Rizzo Aug 9, 2011 12:41 PM

At least some positive news:

http://annarbor.com/business-review/...us-government/


They mention U of M's construction boom, but not mentioned is despite adding millions of square feet, energy and maintenance costs have not gone up all that much since much of the renovations to older buildings and new structures have focused on energy efficiency.

subterranean Aug 9, 2011 3:10 PM

"Financial prudence", aka continuously raising tuition rates.

DecoJim Aug 17, 2011 12:32 AM

I usually get to Ann Arbor once every week and I noticed that the Zaragon West (Zaragon 2) construction is now proceeding at a rapid pace:

http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6081/...69fbe53c_b.jpg
Photo Credit: Me on flickr

This picture was taken 6 weeks after my previous one of this project.

Rizzo Aug 18, 2011 12:54 PM

Thanks Jim for the update. This one will really add some nice substance to that area.

DetroitMan Sep 3, 2011 2:36 PM

High-rise rush continues: Another apartment development proposed for downtown Ann Arbor
AnnArbor.com September 2, 2011

Quote:

Another student high-rise apartment development could be built near the University of Michigan campus on South University Avenue, accelerating a trend of similar projects that have been constructed or proposed throughout downtown Ann Arbor in the past few years.
Property owners have submitted a rezoning request and “area plan” to the Ann Arbor Planning Commission for a mixed-use student high-rise development located between the 601 Forest high-rise project and the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon on South University Avenue.

The parcel of land, located at 1320 S. University Ave., is currently a 2.5-story multi-family apartment building owned by Philip Sotiroff of 1320 South University Ltd.

The request, submitted by Jim Sotiroff, is to rezone the parcel from a D2 district, downtown interface, to D1, downtown core. Along with the rezoning, an area plan was submitted outlining a possible site plan for the location.

City planner Alexis DiLeo said that the rezoning would allow a building of bigger dimensions to be built on the property.

The area plan includes a building 145 feet tall that totals 148,876 square feet. It includes 2,748 square feet of first-floor retail space with frontage on South University Avenue with residential uses above. There is both below-grade and at-grade parking included in the plan.
http://www.annarbor.com/business-rev...own-ann-arbor/

Rizzo Sep 5, 2011 7:46 PM

This is good news. Increasing the concentration of students closer to business districts will guarantee these areas will continue to grow.

It will also help boost rental vacancies in neighborhoods that were originally single family homes.

More empty homes in student neighborhoods will guarantee renovations to dilapidated properties and possibly a reversal of the exodus of families from the city to the suburbs as rentals return to single family. It will also cause rents to fall to more reasonable levels and force certain landlords out of the business who shouldn't be in it in the first place.

subterranean Sep 6, 2011 12:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hayward (Post 5401233)
This is good news. Increasing the concentration of students closer to business districts will guarantee these areas will continue to grow.

It will also help boost rental vacancies in neighborhoods that were originally single family homes.

More empty homes in student neighborhoods will guarantee renovations to dilapidated properties and possibly a reversal of the exodus of families from the city to the suburbs as rentals return to single family. It will also cause rents to fall to more reasonable levels and force certain landlords out of the business who shouldn't be in it in the first place.


I agree with the first half of your statement, but working in housing and community development the last 5 years doesn't give me any such hope for rentals returning to single family owner occupied units. That occurrence is extremely rare in my experience.

Generally, rentals are bare bones, and the landlords rip out or paint over architectural details that make a home unique and desirable. This is more often out of necessity to keep up with the turnover of destructive renters/students.

Second, landlords generally don't sell these properties because they're so lucrative...unless the landlords downright fail (which is hard to do in a college town). And if they do sell, they usually revert right back to rentals for the aforementioned reasons. The landlords could probably still turn a profit in Ann Arbor if the rents fell by 50%.

A third reason is that college towns are transient places, with many people coming and going, buying and selling. Couple this with many houses being upside down on their mortgages, even in nice places like Ann Arbor. If my SO and I move out of very well located house between MSU and downtown, we'd almost certainly turn it into a rental for this reason. It's probably going to take a decade before homes regain their lost equity. Why sell and take a loss when you can keep it and turn a profit from well off grad students?

So I'm not very hopeful that these homes would revert to owner occupancy, but I guess anything could happen. I would predict that this would have little more affect than drawing more kids to these rental houses from outlying areas, particularly those who would rather live nearer to downtown but previously couldn't afford it.

DecoJim Sep 18, 2011 8:02 PM

Zaragon West Update
 
Construction is up to 9th floor on Zaragon West.

http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6178/...55b19f9b_b.jpg
Photo Credit: Me on Flickr

View showing Ann Arbor's tallest building, Tower Plaza, in the background.
http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6073/...3287ed08_b.jpg
Me on Flickr

DetroitMan Sep 21, 2011 11:08 AM

13-story downtown high-rise draws criticism at Ann Arbor Planning Commission meeting

http://www.annarbor.com/assets_c/201...x303-88818.jpg
An aerial view of the project known as The Varsity, shown in yellow, as viewed from the southeast on Washington Street in downtown Ann Arbor. Shown in the background is Sloan Plaza condominiums on Huron Street. To the left is 411 Lofts, and to the right is the First Baptist Church.

A proposal for a new 13-story student high-rise in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor was met with some resistance at Tuesday night's Planning Commission meeting.

The general concept of The Varsity — a dense housing development catering to University of Michigan students — appears to have support, but a few details remain to be worked out.

http://www.annarbor.com/news/13-stor...ssion-meeting/

Rizzo Sep 21, 2011 5:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DetroitMan (Post 5418092)
13-story downtown high-rise draws criticism at Ann Arbor Planning Commission meeting

http://www.annarbor.com/assets_c/201...x303-88818.jpg
An aerial view of the project known as The Varsity, shown in yellow, as viewed from the southeast on Washington Street in downtown Ann Arbor. Shown in the background is Sloan Plaza condominiums on Huron Street. To the left is 411 Lofts, and to the right is the First Baptist Church.

A proposal for a new 13-story student high-rise in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor was met with some resistance at Tuesday night's Planning Commission meeting.

The general concept of The Varsity — a dense housing development catering to University of Michigan students — appears to have support, but a few details remain to be worked out.

http://www.annarbor.com/news/13-stor...ssion-meeting/

I like this project, but I have to agree with the 4th Ward president, the Huron facade really does need some work. While it's not exactly a pedestrian street, it doesn't mean we shouldn't try to improve it. Having the new city hall entrance facing Huron was a huge first step.

In other news, seems the brand new North quad building has become a popular place

http://annarbor.com/news/students-si...ity-overflows/

Rizzo Oct 11, 2011 5:51 PM

Another article on Ann Arbor's future transit plans.

http://annarbor.com/news/ann-arbor-o...nd-streetcars/


Really? 20 years to get a system like this in place? What is it with modern planning today? We should know better by now that forecasts made decades down the road are pretty much useless. Heck, forecasts made in the 90's probably would have shown growth on the city periphery miles out more than it is in these present times of zero growth. Even then funding for ambitious plans that may be available now, can evaporate in the future.

So as long as the University maintains a relatively dense footprint, a corridor's beginning, end and points in between should be relatively static for half a century. Not to mention, North Campus has plenty of room to grow.

Just get whatever system is chosen planned in 1-2 years and built in another 2-3 years. Even a system operating by 2016 is too late to address the current problems of overcrowded buses.


Well at least it's a source of work for planners who will study, revise, study, and revise for many years to come.


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