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Posted on Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 5:56 a.m.

AAA Insurance submits site plan to demolish building, construct new one in $3M project

By Lizzy Alfs

After holding a citizen participation meeting earlier this month, Ann Arbor’s AAA Insurance branch at 1200 S. Main Street submitted site plans to the city of Ann Arbor to demolish its existing building and construct a new one.

The plans call to demolish the existing two-story, 9,320-square-foot building and construct a new one-story, 5,443-square-foot building on its adjacent north parcel, which is currently used for AAA parking.

The project will cost an estimated $3 million, and AAA hopes to start the project by summer 2012, said spokeswoman Nancy Cain. It should take about nine months to construct the new building and two months to demolish the existing one, according to the plans.

The site plan also calls to reduce the total number of parking spaces to 36 from 95, because a parking study found the peak demand for the site is only 30 vehicles. It will reduce the amount of paved surface by 50 percent and double the site's green space.

AAA also is requesting to rezone a portion of the parcel from “Office” to “Parking” to accommodate the new parking lot.

The main reason for the project: “The building is outdated and not up to our corporate standards,” Cain said.

The current AAA branch was built in 1955 and had an addition in 1965. Cain said the branch needs less storage space now because of technology advances over the years.

“We just weren’t using a lot of that space anymore,” she said.

Cain said the new building will have more windows for natural light, will be more open, handicapped accessible and LEED certified.

“This will fit in better with the local environment,” Cain said. “It’s going to be on one level and look more modern. We will still maintain our iconic brand, but everything will be energy efficient.”

At a citizen participation meeting on Dec. 1, six Ann Arbor residents attended to ask questions. Comments included concerns about construction noise levels, parking during football game days and lighting.

Cain of AAA said the existing branch will remain open while the new branch is being constructed, and all 21 AAA employees will work at the new office.

The architect for the project is NSA Architects, Engineers, Planners out of Farmington Hills.

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


Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 1:57 p.m.

As a AAA insured I have mixed feelings. I embrace new construction and the jobs that come with it along with revenue to building suppliers. On the other hand all of us AAA members will ultimately pay for the structure. I trust its truly needed. My biggest concern is the reduction in parking. According to my math the 59 lost parking spots if rented on football Saturdays could pay for the entire 3 million dollar project in just 285 (+/-) years based on $25 a pop times 6-7 home games.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 9:31 p.m.

Who knows ... UM parking has been mentioned by a couple posters so far.

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 7:46 p.m.

Did you think I was "serious" about a 285 year payback from parking?


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 7:22 p.m.

Wow ... and I'm sure AAA Insurance is in business for the purpose to strategize about providing parking for UM football games instead of for their employees and customers.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 1:53 p.m.

Darn, there goes our awesome tailgating location for the Michigan-Nebraska game! Seriously, this sounds like a good plan for the AAA branch. The new building will be more efficient, better to work in, and better for visitors. Plus, I think that north lot has a great view of the U-M campus because it's up pretty high and not right across from the stadium.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 1:26 p.m.

I wonder if the property & Business tax will reduce along with the square feet of office space and parking spaces?


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 1:45 p.m.

Who cares - its their property! Let's see how City Council obstructs this business.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 1:16 p.m.

Dear Lizzy Alfs, Thank you for listing the name of the architect and engineer. Signed, a Black Lake neighbor