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Posted on Mon, Jan 25, 2010 : 3:56 p.m.

Dahlmann seeks to expand Campus Inn conference center space in downtown Ann Arbor

By Paula Gardner

The Dahlmann Campus Inn could be giving up one amenity in favor of expanding much-sought conference space in downtown Ann Arbor.

Owner Dennis Dahlmann submitted a plan to the city planning department today, seeking to remove the existing outdoor pool at the hotel at 615 E. Huron.

In place of the pool and surrounding deck, Dahlmann wants to build about 3,325 square feet of conference space adjacent to the hotel’s existing ballroom.

“(It will) make the ballroom that much bigger,” said Alexis DiLeo, city planner assigned to the proposal.

The filing, dated today, comes days after Ann Arbor officials narrowed the pool of development proposals for the Library Lot.

Two proposals still being considered include hotel rooms and at least 30,000 square feet of conference center space for the city’s property north of the downtown branch of the Ann Arbor District Library.

Among the four proposals removed from consideration was a suburban park plan called Ann Arbor Town Square submitted by Dahlmann Apartments Ltd., an entity owned by the owner of the Campus Inn.

The Campus Inn has five meeting rooms, with total capacity of 200, according to promotional materials from the Ann Arbor Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The ballroom and pool are on the second level of the hotel, DiLeo said.

The plans will not add to the building’s footprint, she added. In addition to the expanded conference space, the proposal calls for constructing a new stairway for emergency access.

The added capacity would seat an extra 150 people in a traditional conference room. Ben Dalhmann, the company’s vice president, declined to provide specifics on how the space will be used.

Among other Ann Arbor area hotels:



Wed, Jan 27, 2010 : 11:17 a.m.

I hate to say this because I do appreciate Mr. Dahlmann's efforts wrt Library Lot and Key Bank. Since it appears Valiant was awarded the project 4 years ago, which should instead be placed across the street from Mr. Dahlmann's park. And Valiant also suggested add'l hotels should be built on YMCA Lot during their presentation (work they may have already been promised by our elected officials). Mr. Dahlmann should take that 2.5M and buy new comforters and curtains. How many grandmas in the 70's sat in their homes freezing due to the run on quilts and drapes created by the Campus Inn interior decorator? I'm sure the people that work there are extremely nice and hard working, but a little competition downtown would make this go away:


Tue, Jan 26, 2010 : 10:59 p.m.

You have to be kidding me, the Depot Town area in Ypsi is a pretty well traveled locale. Sell it to one of the Frenchs if all you are going to do is let it sit there and fall into further disrepair like the Thompson building.


Tue, Jan 26, 2010 : 5:29 p.m.

I was delighted to read this news -- touche', Mr. Dahlmann! Why should he wait around and watch his business eroded by a taxpayer-funded white elephant? And why should we? The occupancy numbers posted on this web site all indicate that A2 does not need another hotel and conference center -- especially one that requires up-front cash from the city. I have not stayed at either of the Dahlmann hotels, but have seen the lobby and a conference room at the Campus Inn -- very nice! And the hotels have curb appeal, which I feel is lacking with the proposed hotels. So I say "good on him!"

Susan Milne

Tue, Jan 26, 2010 : 3:14 p.m.

In response to Thick Candy Shell. When Dennis Dahlmann purchased the City Center Building in 1994, its occupancy was only 25% due in large part to neglect by the previous out of state owners. Mr. Dahlmann proceeded to spend several million dollars upgrading the building. Among the improvements were: a new central air conditioning system, new windows, new roof and upgrades to the elevator and lobby. He then remodeled each floor with new marble floors, new carpeting, wood paneling, new lighting and artwork. Occupancy is now 85%. If anyone would like to see an example of the level of care and detail Mr. Dahlmann puts into his buildings, all they have to do is look at the recently renovated Key Bank Building downtown on the corner of Main and Huron. Mr. Dahlmann was the recipient of the City of Ann Arbor's 2008 Historic Preservation Project of the Year Award for his work on this building. As part of this major restoration project, he installed a new cornice at the roof line, new exterior LED lighting, new lobby new elevators, and newly remodeled floors. Susan Milne Senior Vice President Dahlmann Properties

Chris Taylor

Tue, Jan 26, 2010 : 1:02 p.m.

I wish our city government was full of capitalist pigs.


Tue, Jan 26, 2010 : 11:08 a.m.

@Paula thanks for the info I like to know the facts.I was under the assumtion by comments about the Thompson building that stated that Beal also owned the Depot

steven zarnowitz

Tue, Jan 26, 2010 : 11:01 a.m.

From Steven Zarnowitz, Vice-President, Dahlmann Properties In response to Andy F post. The Depot in Ypsilanti is vacant, unoccupied property. When economic conditions in the Ypsilanti area justify new construction, we will develop this property.


Tue, Jan 26, 2010 : 10:06 a.m.

AndyF stated that Dahlmann owns the train Depot in Ypsi I thought Beal owned it


Tue, Jan 26, 2010 : 9:27 a.m.

@ Michael Harman: This is the same comment/post you used earlier this month. Anyone can make up names like this. Are these the only three satisfied customers of this establishment? Please. Dahlmann's true colors have finally been shown the light of day.

Michael Harman

Tue, Jan 26, 2010 : 7:46 a.m.

From: Michael Harman. General Manager Campus Inn January 26, 2010 In response to Thick Candy Shell post The following are recently received comments from several Campus Inn guests: We are season ticket holders to University of Michigan football games. We choose to stay for the games at The Dahlmann Campus Inn for many reasons: STAFF are exceptional; ROOMS are beautiful; LOCATION cannot be beat; the TEAM can be seen departing there to go to the stadium. The hotel is elegant; the pianist's music is delightful; and we always feel like the staff is very, very happy to be working there. Restaurant is excellent. Artist 55, Oakland Co., MI 11/30/09 The Dahlmann Campus Inn is just about as good as it gets! Upon arriving, we were greeted at the entrance by friendly, helpful attendants who unloaded our car and directed us to the check in desk where courteous personnel professionally registered us and directed us to our beautifully appointed rooms. Service was exquisite throughout our stay. The meals were excellent in both the breakfast area and the lovely dining area...well above normal hotel fare. Overall, convenient location, excellent friendly service, well appointed rooms, and an outstanding experience make this the best hotel in the Ann Arbor area. Roger and Linda F. Annapolis, MYD 12/15/09 We have conducted executive education programs in the finest hotels worldwide in cities as diverse as London, Hong Kong, Madrid, Istanbul, Munich and Singapore. In Michigan, we conduct our programs five times a year at the Campus Inn, which has proven itself to be an excellent facility and operation every time. It is among the select few hotels in the world that we consider to be the very best." Frank P., Ph.D. President The G. S. Consulting Group The Campus Inns challenge is not with the quality of its facilities or its guest services. It is with its occupancy, which hovers around 50% or less year after year. There are simply too many hotel rooms in Ann Arbor.

Inspector 57

Tue, Jan 26, 2010 : 12:16 a.m.

"Dahlman always takes good care of his properties, they are a credit to the city." I'm guessing you don't live in one of his properties. Dahlmann's history as a landlord is not exactly sparkling.


Mon, Jan 25, 2010 : 11:55 p.m.

Dahlman always takes good care of his properties, they are a credit to the city.


Mon, Jan 25, 2010 : 6:53 p.m.

A2Grateful, I agree with the majority of your post, but it is tough for me to side with the Dahlmann efforts to obfuscate this entire process for personal gain.


Mon, Jan 25, 2010 : 6:11 p.m.

Actually, the opposite may be true. The City is so busy emphasizing the "need" for downtown conference space, Dahlmann decided to listen and give the idea a try. Why not? It's a small space that may prove to yield more productive use. No public money is being used, so who cares? As far as the reports of zero need for hotel and conference centers, those are the opinions of just about every national real estate investment advisor for every market across the United States. All must be Dahlmann henchmen, right? The only folks crying that there is not enough hotel and conference space are the unemployed, on-the-verge-of-bankruptcy developers looking for somnambulant and sitting ducks like those of Ann Arbor municipal government. While every bank, life company, and private investment firm seeks divestment of the myriad failed hotels, conference centers, and casinos, the City sees "opportunity." Too bad they have forgotten Civic responsibility in the "mirage of opportunity." The City's product is recycling material and compost. They don't sell enough of either to fund anything. As City service is forgotten, the City's main focus has become blocking private development and investment, while assembling as much land and development rights as possible, and creating the "City" of their dreams, with none of their own money. The City no longer seems much a City. It is more like a sovereign kingdom where those in charge are no longer accountable or responsible for their duties. They have no passion for City service provision. They seem to be most focused on making their leader's real estate fantasies and visions come true. Is there surprise that our leader focuses on real estate given his background? How could this be? Besides producing recycling material and compost, there is one intangible, yet most valued product: citizen apathy. If this is true, enjoy our collapsed bridges, sink-holed roads, zero police patrols, and evaporating City services. However, there is one service you can always count on! Administration and collection of your tax bill will continue as always.

Thick Candy Shell

Mon, Jan 25, 2010 : 6:06 p.m.

@AndyF, I hope you are not serious about the Dahlmann properties being an asset!?!?! My parents stayed at the Campus Inn one time and would never do it again. They said they had better rooms at a Motel 6. In addition, the Dahlmann folks have been sticking it to the City for years at the City Center Building and have never really improved the building.

Andy F

Mon, Jan 25, 2010 : 5:40 p.m.

It's nice to hear Dahlmann has plans to improve and invest in his Ann Arbor properties. He is a slumlord property owner in Ypsilanti. Dahlmann's Ypsilanti investment, the train depot in Depot Town, has continued to be an eyesore in our community since he bought it, 7 or 8 years ago. Dahlmann's Campus Inn and other properties in Ann Arbor are huge assets to the community. I wish he took the same pride with the Depot, and not add to the blight in the Ypsilanti community.


Mon, Jan 25, 2010 : 4:28 p.m.

Does anyone find it more than a little strange that an associate of the Dahlmann's gives us a report that says we don't need a hotel and conference center downtown right before Dahlmann asks to expand its own in the Campus Inn?