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Posted on Fri, Jun 22, 2012 : 2:55 p.m.

Demolition starts for new shopping center on Washtenaw

By Paula Gardner

Heavy equipment and new fencing moved onto the property recently signaled the launch of site preparation at Arbor Hills Crossing, the new shopping center planned for Washtenaw Avenue in Ann Arbor.


Arbor Hills Crossing will be built on property that includes vacant land that formerly housed an auto dealership on Washtenaw.

Angela Cesere |

By Thursday, both were put to work: Demolition of the former Stucchi's building on the south side of the road — across from Whole Foods in Huron Village — had been started.

And Friday morning, crews had returned to the site, clearing debris.

The property is 7.45 acres that extends from 3000 Washtenaw at Platt Road — including some older retail spaces — east to include a large vacant lot that formerly housed a car dealership.

The land was targeted for development in 2006, then sold following foreclosure to RSW Washtenaw LLC, an entity controlled by Tom Stegeman of Campus Realty in Ann Arbor.

Stegeman obtained City Council approval in 2011 to build Arbor Hills Crossing on the property. Plans call for a 90,700-square-foot complex across four buildings.

Demolition permits were issued on Wednesday by city building staff.


The remains of the former Stucchi's building on Washenaw as of midday Friday.

Angela Cesere |


Now, city officials are reviewing building permits filed by O'Neal Construction of Ann Arbor in late May that call for construction of all four buildings. O'Neal posted renderings of the project on its website, calling it a featured work in progress.

Unclear is the timing of construction now that demolition is under way: Stegeman was not available to detail his plans.

Ralph Welton, the city's building official, said he expects to issue permits to build the foundation by early July.

"They're anxious to get them," he said. "It sounds like they have all of their ducks in a row."

The previous plan for the property — The Shops at Arlington — called for a 138,000-square-foot retail project with underground parking. It originally had been called "Huron Village South."

From an Oct. 18, 2011, story in

Ann Arbor real estate owner and developer Campus Realty bought the property from the lender in 2010, and is partnering with Chicago-based North Shore Properties Group on the Arbor Hills Crossing development.

Earlier this year, Tom Stegeman of Campus Realty said that Arbor Hills Crossing will have no large anchor, such as the Whole Foods Market across the street.

He said he hopes to attract national chains, regional players and local businesses. It will include a mix of tenants, including most likely food use, apparel and specialty retailers.

He also said North Shore, who is handling tenant selection and leasing, has been in serious discussions with a number of potential tenants and there is strong interest.



Mon, Jun 25, 2012 : 3:45 a.m.

More shopping centers?


Sat, Jun 23, 2012 : 4:01 p.m.

I just don't understand why this couldn't be a Unicorn farm.

Wolf's Bane

Sat, Jun 23, 2012 : 11:29 a.m.

What about the former Georgetown Mall?


Sat, Jun 23, 2012 : 5:03 a.m.

More new jobs created under the Obama Administration, starting with construction and leading to permanent retail positions. Lower unemployment, more income taxes paid, higher business taxes paid, more goods and services money flowing through the economy. I guess this adds to the 4.3 million new jobs created during Obamas time in Office, and the consecutive 27 months of job growth. Bush added 3.0 million new jobs over 8 years of his Presidency, as a comparison for those of you who like to critique. All facts, easily verifiable.


Sat, Jun 23, 2012 : 3:49 p.m.

Link: Hope the that helps you out. These numbers are well reported over and over by the Bureau of Labor Statistics who compares apples-to-apples, but more power to you if you choose to dispute them. They only have a century of having collected and analyzed labor numbers.

Jim Osborn

Sat, Jun 23, 2012 : 10:45 a.m.

Please provide major media sources, with links, please. And, full-time jobs, not part time ones. And compare pay scales, too. Since President Clinton singed NAFTA, many manufacturing jobs have left America, especially Michigan and Ohio. If Obama has done such a great job, why is the unemployment rate still so high, and so many have quit looking and simply not included?


Sat, Jun 23, 2012 : 2:05 a.m.

I'm amazed there is heavy equipment available for this job. I thought it was all being used on the astounding number of road repair/construction projects all happening in the area at once.


Sat, Jun 23, 2012 : 1:23 p.m.

Caterpillar knows how to make sure Ann Arbor has enough heavy equipment to get the job done. As for those orange barrels? I think they have a farm up north growing them.


Sat, Jun 23, 2012 : 1:18 a.m.

The building of the Arbor Hills Crossing on speculation (meaning that no clients have been identified who will lease space) may not produce any economic benefits for Ann Arbor. Revenue generated through leasing may be insufficient to allow payment of property taxes. In addition the city is promising the developer to return TIF payments in order to reimburse the costs of Brownfield remediation and infrastructure upgrades required by the development, according to the following article:


Sat, Jun 23, 2012 : 1:01 a.m.

Well, I'm in mere walking distance from Arbor Hills Crossing and I just hope they have relevant and viable stores and businesses there. I already feel sorry for the people who will have to drive there, the driving on Washtenaw is going to be horrendous.


Fri, Jun 22, 2012 : 11:45 p.m.

I am beginning to feel like a mole. More under ground parking? As if shutting down 5th was not enough now we are going after Washtenaw? O I can't wait to see that one. Glad to see that empty lot being built. Maybe some discount shops?

Rod Johnson

Sat, Jun 23, 2012 : 3:19 a.m.

Read harder: "The PREVIOUS plan for the property — The Shops at Arlington — called for a 138,000-square-foot retail project with underground parking." (Emphasis mine.)

Red Floyd

Fri, Jun 22, 2012 : 10:54 p.m.

Oh, good! Because what Washtenaw needs is another shopping plaza full of vacant stores.

Wystan Stevens

Fri, Jun 22, 2012 : 10:09 p.m.

Does anybody out there remember, 'way back -- before the auto dealership -- when these bucolic acres housed a big dairy operation (Ira Wilson and Sons), and not much else? A rustic store, Barrett's House of Beautiful Furniture, stood a bit to the west, on the corner of Platt. (And across Platt was the County Infirmary.) Over to the east, Huron Parkway didn't exist at all!

Rod Johnson

Mon, Jun 25, 2012 : 6:07 p.m.

Madeleine, Wystan has written and edited several books.

Madeleine Borthwick

Sat, Jun 23, 2012 : 5:51 p.m.

Hi Wystan, Madeleine here. I am continually amazed at your knowledge of this city's history. please write a book!!

Rod Johnson

Sat, Jun 23, 2012 : 3:17 a.m.

Wystan, you might remember, as few others will, when that area was actually a separate city, East Ann Arbor, with its own downtown down at Packard and Platt. Along with Barrett's, Washtenaw and Platt was the site of the East Ann Arbor Hardware. The whole city, which existed for less than a decade, seems to have completely disappeared from memory.


Sat, Jun 23, 2012 : 12:25 a.m.

I don't go back as far as you in Ann Arbor, but I did buy a lovely teak cabinet at Barrett's shortly (months?) before they closed the store. With all the vacant capacity nearby, including practically the entire center on the southeast corner of Huron Parkway and Washtenaw, I hope the private buyer is bearing all the costs of demolition. As far as returning to having a more natural setting there, that's unlikely, but at least we have County Farm Park with the wonderful recreation building at the northeast corner of County Farm Park. We need to make sure that the ideas of some to "beautify" Washtenaw Ave. by reducing the number of traffic lanes are modified into considering how to increase lanes before any new buildings are erected too close to the street to make widening the street possible.


Fri, Jun 22, 2012 : 9:06 p.m.

Great. When the demo team is done please send them over to the Georgetown Mall. Our neighborhood has had to suffer with that eyesore far too long.

Madeleine Borthwick

Sat, Jun 23, 2012 : 5:46 p.m.

absolutely Brad, I used to work at the Georgetown Kroger, I remember how it looked in it's "heyday". now it's just an embarrassment. so sad.


Sat, Jun 23, 2012 : 1:21 p.m.

I believe this on line place mentioned it. Might want to do some research on it.


Sat, Jun 23, 2012 : 1:01 p.m.

And before that it was last fall. They're way short on credibility, so I'll believe it when I see the dozers rolling.


Fri, Jun 22, 2012 : 11:46 p.m.

Last I heard that team will be on your doorstep hopefully by fall. The demo on that eyesore is on the way this year.


Fri, Jun 22, 2012 : 9:02 p.m.

Elijah--yes, you bet, this "Hopey Changey", is really working well for us! Well, you keep the Hopey Stuff & I will go for the "Change", thank you very much!

Elijah Shalis

Sat, Jun 23, 2012 : 4:51 p.m.

I think you might be a racist against Obama


Fri, Jun 22, 2012 : 7:56 p.m.

It is surprising that any company is willing to risk their money in an economy like this. I guess they are betting on a Regime Change in November!


Sat, Jun 23, 2012 : 1:40 a.m.

Unfortunately, developers experience few risks since they contract to get their one or two percent fees off the top of any financing secured for the project. As an LLC the developer will not risk personal wealth should the development fail financially. And developers are very adept at finding financing, even during recent recessionary years. As an example, BAC lost about $14 million financing Ashley Terrace which was constructed in 2008 by "Joseph Freed & Associates as part of a building boom following intense developer interest in downtown Ann Arbor," according to the following article:


Fri, Jun 22, 2012 : 8:54 p.m.

Romney is doing pretty good. 2009 adjusted gross income appears to have been about $6.47 million 2011 around $20,000,000. Source: I bet he wishes he had a teachers retirement package, though.

Elijah Shalis

Fri, Jun 22, 2012 : 8:46 p.m.

ACtually no the last thing they need is a new Bush like admin


Fri, Jun 22, 2012 : 7:55 p.m.

I just hope to goodness that ample parking is available, and access to Washtenaw done in a logical, safe, and common sense manner. I have some foreboding about this though, based on Ann Arbor's track record.


Sat, Jun 23, 2012 : 1:03 a.m.

Look at the following illustration of the prospective Arbor Hills Crossing: Two entrances to the shopping mall are planned along Platt Road and one along Washtenaw Avenue. I am sure that another stop light will be required at Platt Road and Washtenaw Avenue which will only reduce traffic flow along Washtenaw Avenue which is counter to the intentions of the Re-imaging Washtenaw Corridor association.


Fri, Jun 22, 2012 : 7:48 p.m.

Washtenaw is not crowded enough? There aren't enough vacancies in existing strip malls?


Fri, Jun 22, 2012 : 11:47 p.m.

Why does the image of Scrooge come to mind? Get out of my mind Marley!!!


Fri, Jun 22, 2012 : 7:24 p.m.

Why can't we have a clear timeline with names of individuals/companies, dates and what happened. When did the foreclosure happen? Who purchased the property in 2006? Stegman purchased it when? Plans call for a 90,700-square-foot complex across four buildings. What are the details of this complex? Where will cars enter and exit Washtenaw, an already highly congested area with impossible left turns onto Washtenaw from many existing strip malls? What stores are going to be in this strip mall development, which, IMO, is totally not needed. There are huge retail vacancies around town and Washtenaw is a nightmare in terms of traffic and congestion. Another strip mall only fattens the wallets of the developers. The developers do not care about the impact on the traffic or surrounding areas. The city approves this stuff for the tax revenue and the developers get rich building these commercial monstrosities that create more traffic headaches for Washtenaw Ave.


Sat, Jun 23, 2012 : 1:07 p.m.

johnnya2, why so belligerent? JRW asked some questions that do not have answers and raised what is, in my opinion, the most critical issue: how a mall of this size at this location is going to affect traffic on Washtenaw. Your response to that is, "Let's shut down Washtenaw?" Are you the developer of this property? You'd do your cause more good with a more reasoned response. Washtenaw is the main artery between Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, and between Carpenter and the Stadium cutoff is extremely congested, especially--but not only--during rush hours. It would seem that this development is going to make the situation much worse. I think that raising the question of how that traffic is going to be handled is legitimate and necessary.


Sat, Jun 23, 2012 : 4:44 a.m.

Amen Johnny and Rod !

Rod Johnson

Sat, Jun 23, 2012 : 3:13 a.m.

@johnnya2: I wish I could vote your response up multiple times. Thanks.


Fri, Jun 22, 2012 : 7:53 p.m.

1. "Why can't we have a clear timeline with names of individuals/companies, dates and what happened" Reading comprehension coaurse are available. The timeline seems pretty simple to me. 2. "What are the details of this complex? " Well you could go to the ONeal website as the article says. It took about 20 seconds 3. "What stores are going to be in this strip mall development"- "He said he hopes to attract national chains, regional players and local businesses. It will include a mix of tenants, including most likely food use, apparel and specialty retailers." Was that hard to read? 4."which, IMO, is totally not needed." Your opinion matters why? If somebody is willing to pay money to build something, then the OTHER landlords in town will need to improves their service, or their facilities, or lower their rent. THAT iss a good thing, But because YOU do not like it, and YOUR opinion of what somebody does with their moeny should matter, that is more important. 5. "Another strip mall only fattens the wallets of the developers." And the vacant land only sucks the value out of the surrounding homes and properties. Do you think it should fatten YOUR wallet? You havent invested a DIME in this, so mind your own business. 6."The city approves this stuff for the tax revenue" So now tax revenue is a bad thing? I guess you prefer more property tax for people instead? 7. "hese commercial monstrosities that create more traffic headaches for Washtenaw Ave." Then let's shut down Washtenaw. Close Arborland, and the worst intersection in the county is actually at Carpenter., lets close the Palm Palace and make Washtenaw into a cow pasture. Another typical NIMBY who wants to whine about everything. If you wanted that property to stay vacant BUY IT.