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  #301  
Old Posted Jun 30, 2014, 1:37 PM
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That march of (possible) development spreading north and west of Downtown Ann Arbor.

Quote:
2 Ann Arbor properties listed for sale as redevelopment opportunity for condos



The owners of two neighboring properties just north of downtown Ann Arbor are looking to capitalize on the growing demand for urban living.

Beal Properties is marketing the sites at 221 Felch St. and 214 W. Kingsley St. for sale as a redevelopment opportunity for apartments or condominiums.

The price tag for the properties: $3.9 million.



“The reason it might be attractive to sell at this time is you’re seeing more of these near downtown or in downtown condo developments,” said Stewart Beal. “My father (Fred Beal) and uncle (George Beal) are of the age where it makes sense to start talking about retirement … one option would be to sell this property.”

Stewart Beal said the properties were listed for sale in 2009, but interest waned as the real estate market crashed. He said his family is not interested in developing the site, but would prefer to sell.

The decision to market the properties for sale again comes shortly after three Ann Arbor developers proposed a 22-unit condo project across Kingsley Street from the Beal Properties. Peter Allen, Mark Berg and Tom Fitzsimmons want to build 121 Kingsley West on the corner of Kingsley and North Ashley — a property once slated for a 46-unit condo project called Kingsley Lane.

....

Working with Ann Arbor architect Brad Moore, the Beals have outlined potential redevelopment options for the site:
  • Combine the parcels, demolish the existing buildings at 221 Felch St., rezone the property to O Office and construct a new office building of up to 66,000 square feet
  • Combine the parcels, demolish the existing buildings at 221 Felch St., rezone the property to R4D Multifamily and construct a residential building of up to 96,000 square feet for as many as 51 condos or 75 apartments.
Stewart Beal said the building at 214 W. Kingsley St. could remain, but the purchase of that property is necessary to meet the minimum lot size requirement of 83,000 square feet under the R4D zoning.

....
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  #302  
Old Posted Jul 3, 2014, 3:07 PM
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Quote:
Next redevelopment site in downtown Ann Arbor? City hires broker to market Library Lot



Ann Arbor officials are getting ready to officially market the city-owned Library Lot as a potential redevelopment site.

City Administrator Steve Powers has selected CBRE, a real estate firm with offices in Southfield, to assist the city with the marketing and sale of the property.

Powers said CBRE will help the city achieve the highest attainable return consistent with the vision for the property articulated by the City Council.

The council is interested in a mixed-use development, one that could include commercial and residential uses, as well as public open space.

....

If there was ever another good spot for Ann Arbor to put a decent high rise, this would be a good spot to put it.
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  #303  
Old Posted Jul 26, 2014, 1:15 AM
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Ann Arbor has an odd case of NIMBYism. Residents want lesser density but also want less (or none) sprawl. It seems like straight up a demand for population control.


Quote:
Neighbors fight plan for 500 residences proposed north of Ann Arbor



David Caddell is worried a proposal for almost 500 new residences in on the northeast side of Ann Arbor will create traffic bottlenecks in his neighborhood.

Sheila Jensen fears the character of the area where she lives on Lakehurst Court will be changed forever. And Ron Durbin says the project, which includes a mix of three-story townhouses and attached two-story carriage homes, is just too dense.

They are among dozens of northeast Ann Arbor residents who have banded together to oppose plans for the project at Nixon and Dhu Varren roads announced earlier this month. Their goal: Get Toll Brothers to reduce the density of the proposed community or convince Ann Arbor City Council to deny Toll Brothers’ annexation request as they consider the impact of this type of development.

...

Residents have several concerns about the project.

Density

The city’s master plan recommends residential uses for the vacant sites, at a density of between seven to 10 dwelling units per acre. At 491 units, Toll Brothers’ project would result in a density of about 4.5 units per acre, less than what's master planned for the site.

A mixture of housing types is encouraged for the site, including single-family detached homes, attached townhouses and multiple family, the master plan says.

Many neighbors would like the three-story buildings removed from the Toll Brothers plan.

“I think we all realized that at some point in time that property was going to be developed,” Durbin said. “I don’t think we’re going to stop development. …My concern is the density of these units. I really object to three-story buildings.”

Joseph added: “This really is an issue of density and I think we should stay very, very focused on that in terms of services and schools, sewers, trash pickup, traffic, drainage — all of these things are density issues, ultimately.”

....

Traffic

Some residents in northeast Ann Arbor worry Toll Brothers’ community — along with a 294-unit apartment project proposed across Nixon Road — will worsen traffic backups where Nixon Road meets Green and Dhu Varren roads. The intersection is an unconventional four-way stop where the road jogs, with no traffic light.

The city has talked about realigning Dhu Varren so it lines up with Green Road and/or possibly constructing a roundabout to improve traffic flow.

Rampson said the apartment project has been on hold while the city evaluates options for the intersection. She said both Toll Brothers and the developer of the apartments, Bleznak Real Estate Investment Group, have indicated they would contribute to fixing the intersection.

...

Environmental impact

The properties Toll Brothers plans to develop have extensive environmental features, including wetlands and a woodland preservation area.

Toll Brothers’ plans call to build around several wetlands on the property.

According to the plans: “Both the layout of the proposed development as well as the storm water management system will be designed in harmony with the numerous wetlands and high quality woodlands located throughout the property. In particular, significant tree stands being preserved along the western property line provide both a buffer to adjacent uses, as well as natural passive recreation open space area.”

But some residents still worry development will have a negative impact on the wetlands, wildlife and trees on the site.

“When a developer does replace a wetland, it’s never as good as what Mother Nature created,” said Lisa Dusseau, who lives on the north side of Ann Arbor.

More housing planned

Jensen said she’s concerned about more than just the Toll Brothers project; in all, more than 1,000 residences are planned in northeast Ann Arbor as the region’s housing market improves and developers target vacant land to build new projects or complete unfinished ones.

Along with the Toll Brothers development and the Bleznak apartments, other projects proposed or approved in the area include: 141 single-family homes and 63 apartments or condos at 2701-2801 Pontiac Trail, north of Skydale Drive; and 19 homes at 2000 Traver Road, just northeast of Barton Drive.

Briere said a number of infrastructure issues need to be addressed as development continues in northeast Ann Arbor.

“The roads are in bad condition, I’m concerned about the stormwater, I’m concerned about wastewater, I’m concerned about traffic,” she said.




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  #304  
Old Posted Jul 26, 2014, 3:02 PM
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Those townhomes look nice.
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  #305  
Old Posted Jul 26, 2014, 6:37 PM
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They might not get built if the NIMBY neighbors have their way.
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  #306  
Old Posted Jul 28, 2014, 8:54 AM
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I'm confused. From what little research I've done, this land at Nixon at Dhu Varren - if I have the right parcel - is just across Nixon in adjacent Ann Arbor Township. What say would the Ann Arbor City Council have in this? Or is this just them venting at Ann Arbor? Because it sounds like me they should be taking this up with the Ann Arbor Township Board of Trustees.
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  #307  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2014, 12:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LMich View Post
I'm confused. From what little research I've done, this land at Nixon at Dhu Varren - if I have the right parcel - is just across Nixon in adjacent Ann Arbor Township. What say would the Ann Arbor City Council have in this? Or is this just them venting at Ann Arbor? Because it sounds like me they should be taking this up with the Ann Arbor Township Board of Trustees.
Ann Arbor has plans to annex the land before it is developed.
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  #308  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2014, 8:19 AM
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Well, that's what I get for originally not reading the whole thing. lol

Anyway, I can kind of see the current residents' points, at least on the traffic issue. I've always been surprised how quickly Ann Arbor gets windy and sprawly right outside the core/inner-city, and without the road capacity and connections to really handle the traffic in the residential neighborhoods. It was planned and built differently than the likes of Flint, Lansing and Grand Rapids, which are pretty heavily/regularly gridded outside their cores.
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  #309  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2014, 7:33 PM
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My guess is that since the city wasn't as founded on manufacturing like the other mentioned cities, it wasn't really expected to see high growth. That "smalltown charm" is definitely because it was built like one that would've been in the middle of a rural area. Even a lot of Michigan cities that are smaller in population seem more gridded and planned out than Ann Arbor.

The freeways don't help either. If you notice, A2 doesn't have a spur or loop that goes into Downtown Ann Arbor like in most other cities in Michigan. M-14 looks like it could have almost kept going down Main and then turn right at Huron and connect to 94 from there, but it doesn't. Ann Arbor just seems like an odd-ball city.
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  #310  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2014, 1:47 AM
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For the better though. A spur downtown would have been destructive. Heck, I94 BR or Huron/washtenaw is undesirable, which is why it was left for institutional buildings, service stations and frat houses. M-14 cannot be upgraded so it will remain as is for a very long time unless it is ever removed and relocated.

Ann Arbor was always a farming town, and interestingly never intended to be a university town until the original 40 acres were acquired.
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  #311  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2014, 8:23 AM
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That's the one thing I'm glad never happened to Ann Arbor. I can't even imagine how much of the inner-city would have been taken out had a freeway been rammed through. We only have one freeway driven through Lansing that actually didn't do as much damage as quite a few other inner-city highways. But, like you said, Hayward, even the business routes can be destructive. In fact, it's the business routes and surface state highways (BR 96, BR 69/MI-43 and MI-99) which made downtown Lansing into an island by destroying and fraying the edges of the district.

Yes, the cities I mentioned and Ann Arbor is definitely their purpose. We're talking industrial centers versus a college town that never expected to get as big as it did.
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  #312  
Old Posted Aug 5, 2014, 12:47 PM
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Didn't enjoy seeing this in the paper this morning. Just a few miles northwest of this site, a developer is in the really early stages of trying to put up a massive development of low-density homes along Whitmore Lake Road in Northfield Township:

Quote:


Company targets 460 acres north of Ann Arbor for residential development

By Lizzy Alfs | MLive.com

August 5, 2014

A Birmingham-based real estate firm has targeted 460 acres of land in Northfield Township for a residential development.

Biltmore Development is exploring the possibility of assembling nine properties and building housing along Whitmore Lake Road just west of US-23 and north of Joy Road. Biltmore has an option to purchase the properties from the seven different owners.

But because the Northfield Township master plan designates the land as agriculture, Biltmore is asking for a master plan map amendment to zone the land for medium density residential. Northfield Township’s current master plan was adopted in 2012.

Biltmore’s plans are in very preliminary stages, and the company has not determined the type of housing or how many units would be constructed on the site. A medium density residential zoning would allow Biltmore to develop housing on quarter-acre lot sizes.

The first step, said Biltmore’s David Stollman, is to see whether Northfield Township officials want the land developed for housing.

...

The nine properties Biltmore wants to develop consist of vacant land and very low density single-family residential. There are extensive wetland systems on the site. The current agricultural zoning allows for single-family dwellings on five-acre parcels.

...
Northfield needs to tell them to take a hike. This is pure, unapologetic sprawl. It's not even on the right side of the freeway (i.e. where the planned commuter rail service will eventually come through). The very last thing suburban Ann Arbor needs is anything that helps is sprawl up towards the sprawl of Livingston County, and quarter-acre lots, no less. This is crazy. US-23 is already a nightmare enough as it is.
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  #313  
Old Posted Aug 6, 2014, 10:08 PM
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Unfortunately as the economy picks up, the sprawl machine will pick up as well. Washtenaw is going to become the next Oakland County but with triple the inadequate roads.
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  #314  
Old Posted Sep 4, 2014, 6:22 PM
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http://www.mlive.com/business/ann-ar...ing_rents.html

Rents in Ann Arbor are skyrocketing. Quite a few landlords reporting apartments with 100% occupancy. Others are also reporting 10% rate increases over the last year. There's no sign of demand letting off as Ann Arbor/Washtenaw County is expected to grow in employment during the next few years.
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  #315  
Old Posted Sep 5, 2014, 2:36 AM
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I'm paying less for a gut rehab condo rental in chicago than my worn out vintage apartment in Ann Arbor. I paid about $1000 / month for a small 1BR near kerrytown in 2009. It's typical in college towns to be expensive and also a reason why new college grads don't blink an eye when they see rents as they move off to the big city
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  #316  
Old Posted Sep 15, 2014, 1:18 PM
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Quote:

Romain Blanquart | The Detroit Free Press

Ann Arbor experiencing a boom in high-end apartments and condos

By JC Reindl | Detroit Free Press

September 14, 2014

An unprecedented building boom of apartment high-rises and condos has made construction cranes a lingering fixture of the Ann Arbor skyline.

No fewer than six cranes hovered over downtown last week as private developers raced to erect more luxury student and post-collegiate housing within walking distance to University of Michigan classrooms.

The half-dozen residential projects that are under construction or slated to begin are the latest round in a boom that has been under way for at least three years and is permanently altering the city’s housing situation.

Many of the current and earlier developments specifically cater to U-M students, offering additional near-campus living options aside from blocks of grubby old houses. Other projects have targeted high-earning professionals and empty-nesters and are filling up faster than local observers anticipated.

Fueling the boom has been an eagerness among lenders to finance high-end student housing projects, the willingness of parents to pay upwards of $1,400 a month for a child’s college bedroom, and what appears to be pent-up demand in general for amenity-filled Ann Arbor apartments.
http://www.freep.com/article/2014091...ty-of-Michigan
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  #317  
Old Posted Sep 15, 2014, 1:59 PM
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Gangbusters. Can't help but feel a little bit cheated up here in the capital city, but glad to see so much positive Michigan development news lately. Now if they could just get a handle on the affordability issues.
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  #318  
Old Posted Nov 3, 2014, 6:37 PM
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25-unit condo building proposed in downtown Ann Arbor
By Lizzy Alfs. November 03, 2014.

Longtime Ann Arbor developer Tom Fitzsimmons has plans for another low-rise condo building downtown.

Fitzsimmons, of Huron Contracting LLC, submitted plans to Ann Arbor’s Design Review Board to construct a four-story, 25-unit condominium building at 408-412 N. First St., between West Kingsley Street and Miller Avenue.

There are two existing structures on the site: a residence at 412 N. First and Huron Contracting’s offices at 408 N. First.

Fitzsimmons said he has an option to purchase the site at 412 N. First St. from registered owner Karl Lopata. The property has a 2014 assessed value of $135,700.

“We see a strong demand for downtown condos, and we’re attempting to fill that demand,” Fitzsimmons said. “If we have the ability to bring a project online once a year and be able to deliver 15 to 20 condos, we see that we’ll be able to increase supply and meet that demand.”

Fitzsimmons is in the midst of building two low-rise condominium projects in the downtown area: an 18-unit project at 414 N. Main and 401 N. Fourth that is nearing completion, and a 22-unit project at 121 Kingsley that Fitzsimmons expects will get underway this fall.

The majority of the site at 408-412 N. First St. is located in the Allen Creek flood plain or flood way. It’s in the city’s D2 zoning, which has a maximum allowable building height of 60 feet.

Four stories of residential units would be constructed atop lower level parking with 37 spaces. Five additional parking spaces would be located nearby in an easement held with the property owner to the south. Parking is hidden from view from public streets by metal screening and landscaping, the plans say.

....











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  #319  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2015, 2:09 PM
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Hopefully this doesn't become a trend.

Quote:
New height limits approved for future development site in downtown Ann Arbor
By Ryan Stanton. January 06, 2015.



The Ann Arbor City Council voted unanimously Monday night to set new height limits for future development on a prime piece of downtown real estate.

The property at 425 S. Main St., at the southeast corner of Main and William streets, is being downzoned from D1 to D2, allowing less density.

The property's 180-foot height limit is being replaced with new restrictions that would allow a future building to rise as high as 120 feet at the north end of the site, but the remaining southern portion now has a 60-foot limit.

The unanimous agreement on that compromise, which came out of many months of discussion, was reached only after an unsuccessful attempt Monday night by Council Member Jack Eaton, D-4th Ward, to impose even stricter limits.

....



The city began looking more closely at the zoning along the edges of downtown two years ago when the controversial 413 E. Huron high-rise was proposed.

The 14-story apartment tower at the northeast corner of Division and Huron streets, which some argue is out of scale with the adjacent neighborhood, was approved because it fit the zoning, according to a majority of council members.

The city launched a review of the downtown zoning in 2013 in hopes of avoiding another controversy like 413 E. Huron. One of the recommendations that came out of that public process was downzoning the 425 S. Main property.

"We've been looking at this a long time obviously," Lumm said, noting the city doesn't want to "repeat the mistakes of 413 E. Huron."

....
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  #320  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2015, 7:10 PM
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The height limits will ultimately make things look worse. You'll have these oppressive canyons of fat and squat buildings rather than slender tall ones that allow light to permeate to streets, add character to the skyline and facilitate better preservation of existing structures since density would be more concentrated.

I know besides typical zoning setbacks Ann arbor probably enforces some design guidelines in regard to terracing and stepping higher floor levels that could add some interest. But creating height ceilings doesn't stop Ann arbor from continuing to grow and replace existing buildings with what will become a plateau of boxy midrises
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