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Posted on Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

2 restaurants, multifamily housing proposed for Zeeb Road near Meijer

By Lizzy Alfs


Two restaurants and an apartment or condo development are proposed for a vacant site adjacent to Meijer in Scio Township.

Lizzy Alfs |

A housing development and two restaurant buildings are proposed for a vacant site next to Meijer in Scio Township.

Scio Group Five LLC, an entity registered to developer Philip Conlin of Ann Arbor’s Conlin Company Realtors, submitted a conditional use request to the township to build the mixed-use project on a roughly 14-acre site on Zeeb Road, just south of Jackson Road.

The proposal comes as developers continue to build multifamily housing projects in the city of Ann Arbor. Downtown is in the midst of a student housing boom, while apartment projects were recently proposed for Nixon Road and M-14, and Traverwood Drive off Plymouth Road.

But the development on Zeeb Road in Scio Township shows an increase in building activity outside the city limits, said Scio Township Supervisor Spaulding Clark.

“I think, with the somewhat resurgence of the economy…you’re seeing a certain pent-up demand,” he said. “Where three, four years ago you couldn’t build a house to save your life and you wouldn’t want to open a business, I think people are saying suddenly, ‘Things are selling again.’ ”

“I think both the real estate market has picked up, and somewhat slowly, the business end of it is picking up as well. None of it is terribly surprising, but it has been a long dry spell,” he continued.

Conlin said he acquired the South Zeeb Road property — which is zoned C-2 General Commercial and situated between Meijer and Cambridge Club Apartments — through a foreclosure in April. Conlin has been developing parcels along the Zeeb Road corridor for years, including the Scio Town Center, which included single-family homes, condominiums and commercial buildings.

Preliminary plans submitted to the township show the multifamily housing would be constructed on a 10.37-acre lot on the west side of the Zeeb Road site. Three-story, wood-frame multifamily buildings with 12 units each would border the lot, with parking located in the middle of the buildings. There would be 100 total units, and those would consist of one and two bedrooms.

"I have a commitment from Norfolk Homes to buy that 10 acres from me as soon as I get township approval," Conlin said. "At the point in time that we started negotiating, they were thinking apartments, but the condo market has improved so much that they are leaning back toward that."

The plans show tennis courts and a clubhouse building and pool would be constructed on the northeast corner of the lot.

Details on the cost and size of the units were not included in the preliminary plans.

Just east of the housing complex, two adjacent restaurant buildings are proposed. Plans show a fast-food restaurant and 99 parking spaces to be constructed on a 1.62-acre lot, and a sit-down restaurant and 98 parking spaces to be built on an adjacent 1.72-acre lot.


A site layout shows the two restaurants would be located side by side with a housing development on the 10 acres west of the buildings.

Engineering Technologies Corporation

"I have no tenants for the two retail pad sites in front," Conlin said. "I do not have anybody lined up to acquire those at this point in time."

He is marketing those two sites for sale for $650,000 each.

In 2008, a different developer targeted this site and received township approval to construct an Applebee's restaurant and a medical office and condo development.

"When I acquired it, it seemed to me that use is no longer viable in the market," Conlin said. "What I wanted to see, and what I think would be the most successful, is multifamily (housing) — either apartments or condos."

He added: "If you look at Meijer on Ann Arbor-Saline Road, that’s what you have around it. You have housing."

Washtenaw County records show $28,951 in back taxes is owed on the property. Conlin said those taxes will be paid by Manchester Mortgage Co LLC — which bought the original mortgage from Citizens Bank — before the project moves forward.

The site has a 2013 assessed value of $379,400.

There will be a public hearing for the project at the Scio Township Planning Commission meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 26.

View Untitled in a larger map

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at


Brenda Byrne

Fri, Aug 16, 2013 : 10:11 a.m.

That picture is too pretty to destroy. Too bad there can't be a ban on all new development in the name of environmentalism. The world was a beautiful place.

Ann English

Fri, Aug 16, 2013 : 1:16 a.m.

Weatherstone and Valley Ranch behind the Ann Arbor-Saline Meijer. Makes sense to put the housing behind Meijer so that the residents don't have to cross the street in front of Meijer there, or at Jackson and Zeeb, either, with these new condos/apartments.


Fri, Aug 16, 2013 : 1:01 a.m.

I think this is a pretty good use for this space. If there is demand for housing and restaurants in Scio, better here where there is already infrastructure, close to public transit, shopping, etc on an otherwise small and unproductive lot. As soon as Meijer went in, spawl began. Let's at least keep it contained to that developed area and use up every inch of land there before moving out to the more rural areas just to the north and south along Zeeb. Oh, and if you don't like chain restaurants, don't patronize them. They will fail, leave, rents will drop and the local restauranteurs will be able to afford it. Vote with your feet (and don't go).

Linda Peck

Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 8:51 p.m.

So much for our green belt, fast disappearing.

Linda Peck

Fri, Aug 16, 2013 : 1:45 p.m.

Thank you, Dipstick, that was a good map to view and see the protected areas in Scio. I hope more will be purchased in the future, too.


Fri, Aug 16, 2013 : 11:32 a.m.

We in Scio are doing our bit for keeping open/protected spaces


Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 8:36 p.m.

Right down the street is dealership alley. Might as well have it turn into fast food alley further down the street.


Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 8:16 p.m.

NO MORE fast food in this area! Please!


Fri, Aug 16, 2013 : 11:21 a.m.

Too late. Can't emulate Canton if it isn't absolutely saturated with bad franchises.

Lynn Liston

Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 6:41 p.m.

Hopefully two locally-owned, independent restaurants, and not more chain eateries. The Scio Village condos are very attractive, so hopefully something nice like those that maintains the pleasant ambiance of the neighborhood.


Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 5:24 p.m.

You know, for anyone complaining about all the evil chain stores, you're always free to open a small, independent business there yourself.


Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 7:36 p.m.

If you don't like it, don't go to it. I don't understand why some people feel personally threatened by their very existence. I like shopping at both small businesses and major chains and there are many reasons why chains are so popular, such as low prices, familiarity and consistency in products offered, just as many people might shop local businesses for unique products, local flavor and a more personal service.


Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 6:19 p.m.

If you had to open a business every time you do not like one, life would be a wee bit hard. Chains are mostly horrid, with their branding sapping the individuality out of our towns and cities. Somehow, so many of the posters here love to defend them, which is their right, but for some of us it is rather pathetic.

John Simon

Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 4:43 p.m.

As some one who lives right near here, WE DONT NEED FAST FOOD. in fact no one wants more fast food chains. we really need a couple of quality restaurants over here. perhaps a bar and grill or a nice Italian restaurant.


Fri, Aug 16, 2013 : 11:22 a.m.

Farmer Grant's was killed by Meijers. The last Farmer Grant (an actual person) retired about 10 years ago and left town.

Ann English

Fri, Aug 16, 2013 : 1:08 a.m.

I think Farmer Grant's closed after its founder, Jacob Grant, died.


Fri, Aug 16, 2013 : 1:06 a.m.

Exactly! Fast food row is ridiculous over there!! I agree, a nice healthy family option!

Boo Radley

Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 6:31 p.m.

"They had to close to make room for the urban sprawl." That property has been vacant for many years. I don't think they were forced to close to make room for anything else.

Blue Marker

Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 6:06 p.m.

@ John, There used to be a farmers market called Farmer Grant's on Jackson back in the day. They had to close to make room for the urban sprawl. Irony sure is ironic.

John Simon

Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 4:44 p.m.

an area for a farmers market might also be nice, considering zeeb road is so close to so many farms


Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 3:55 p.m.

Ann Arbor needs more Section 8 housing to take the load off Ypsi.


Fri, Aug 16, 2013 : 11:19 a.m.

Ypsi IS Ann Arbor's Section 8 housing.


Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 3:52 p.m.

YES! Cut every tree down, pave every field, and dam every stream. More more more!I don't want to see a hint of green on google maps.

Rod Johnson

Sat, Aug 17, 2013 : 3:44 a.m.

It's amazing that any tiny step always has people refuting it by imagining the most extreme possible extension of it, as if once you develop a lot you have no choice but to develop every lot. That's not really an argument, you know.


Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 3:28 p.m.

Paved paradise and put up a parking lot. And a couple crappy chain restaurants. And more cardboard cookie cutter housing. Oh la la la la la.


Fri, Aug 16, 2013 : 11:24 a.m.

@dancinginmysoul -- And don't forget Pete Seeger's "tiny boxes, ticky tacky little boxes". An ode to suburbia.


Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 3:54 p.m.

But wait! We don't have the money to fix the roads and the infrastructure.....! Awww, who cares...we'll get more taxes to pay our government wages and fringes....


Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 3:49 p.m.

Paradise is near the corner of Jackson and Zeeb roads? Who knew? Everybody doesn't necessarily want to live in Densityville.


Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 2:43 p.m.

Just what's needed, more restaurants with part-time, low wage jobs .

Boo Radley

Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 3:25 p.m.

Better than no-time, no wage, no jobs.


Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 2:26 p.m.

I don't think anyone quite gets that non-traditional looking walkable/bikeable centers are popping up without any city planners trying to create them. Where in Ann Arbor can you live where you can walk to a whole variety of shops, including supermarkets, departments stores, etc? The answer is not 'Downtown', but various places in the outskirts where there are neighborhoods surrounding shopping centers -- Ann Arbor Saline Road, Eisenhower, Arborland, and now Zeeb and Jackson. And note that these places are generally much more affordable than downtown -- not just the housing prices, but also the stores and restaurants.


Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 2:09 p.m.

Pack 'em in. Here we go again....


Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 1:47 p.m.

Housing? No. Quality restaurants? Yes.


Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 1:06 p.m.

Ain't urban sprawl great?


Fri, Aug 16, 2013 : 1:12 a.m.

more complaints in this paper about density in the city than ugly sprawl outside of town. I'd rather have the density than more featureless developments.


Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 1:25 p.m.

Oh, the humanity!


Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 12:22 p.m.

Would seem like a reasonable plan except I would like to see more details of the condo project as the figure of 100 units @ 12 per building seems like at lot for a 8~9 acres plot

Usual Suspect

Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 12:16 p.m.

I can almost read the lettering in the diagram (the second graphic). Do you intentionally do this to taunt your readers, or do you never even think about including a link to a larger copy of the image that people can actually read?

Rod Johnson

Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 8:39 p.m.

Does run ModX? I thought it was some kind of boutique software that Advance threw together. I'd like to know more.


Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 7:35 p.m.

Suspect......I agree but isn't it the first one ? or did pull one of their switcharoo's

Lizzy Alfs

Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 12:46 p.m.

Go here: Then click the "Site Plan" tab on the green bar, and it will download a PDF of the diagram.

Morris Thorpe

Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 12:45 p.m.

It *does* feel like we're being taunted. I've been annyoed by this for a long time. I'm almost sure runs ModX. Perhaps someone can look at this simple plugin?


Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 12:10 p.m.

Just what families need: more chain restaurants with unhealthy bad tasting food. Get the kids hooked early so that when they grow up they will contribute ecstatic postings on every new chain restaurant!


Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 6:21 p.m.

Of course they will be chains! As expected, fast food lovers come to the defense of bad food in droves! Enjoy!


Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 6:18 p.m.

Generally, you get national chains on sites like this because they're priced out of the market for local places which don't have the resources behind them.


Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 2:46 p.m.

Yes, because LOCAL restaurants like Blimpie Burger are oh so healthy. Oh and for the record, if you did your OB as a parent, your kids would not be hooked on anything other than good food. Last I checked most newborns to 12 year olds do not make dining decisions themselves, unless theor [arents abdicate that responsibility.

Chip Reed

Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 12:19 p.m.

I missed the part of the article that says they will be chain restaurants (unless fast-food means chains-only).


Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 11:37 a.m.

Canton here we come.

Rod Johnson

Sat, Aug 17, 2013 : 3:40 a.m.

Extending Baker Road over 10 miles through many existing parcels, not to mention swamps, when there are existing routes a few miles miles to the east and west? Yeah, I'll go out on a limb and say that'll never happen. Developers can imagine what they like. And I'm pretty confident that major commercial development in Scio outside the sewer district is unlikely to happen in the next twenty years. The master plan, zoning and political consensus are all against that, and there's no reason to think that will change.


Fri, Aug 16, 2013 : 11:27 a.m.

@Rod Johnson - and just how long do you expect that green farm land to last? I've seen developer's plans for extending Baker Road down to Michigan Ave, just how many miles of farmland do you think get sacrificed with that? (Of course those plans were created when they thought Michigan had a viable economy.)

Rod Johnson

Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 8:32 p.m.

It's fun to make dramatic pronouncements, but it will be a long time before Scio is like Canton. Scio has an extremely rigidly defined area where development like this is possible, based on the water and sewer district--basically along Jackson and a short stretch north and south on Zeeb. Go south of Park or north of Marshall on Zeeb and things are as quiet and rural as you could want. And the business along Jackson pay a lot of the taxes that support the exurban lifestyle the rest of the township enjoys. Scio's not perfect but it's a long way from sprawl.


Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 8:29 p.m.

Canton is not such a bad place. Maybe if you ever left your Utopia you would know that.


Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 2:34 p.m.

The obvious implication is that Scio is slowly being consumed by sprawl and that in the not-distant-future will resemble Canton.


Thu, Aug 15, 2013 : 1:04 p.m.

I'm confused by this comment? Do you wish to relocate to Canton? or are you trying to imply that this development will transform Scio into Canton? As a resident of Scio I'm happy with the current way the township is developing and still protecting the natural amenities and open spaces. Canton we are not.