Excavation work expected to start soon at site of new underground parking structure in Ann Arbor
Expect to see crews digging a "big hole" starting next month to make way for an underground parking garage in downtown Ann Arbor.
Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board members received a brief update today on the DDA’s $59 million Fifth Avenue underground parking structure project.
Michael Ortlieb, the project manager from Carl Walker Inc., said the design process is continuing as planned, and the construction manager is now in on the discussions.
Ortlieb said the DDA will soon go out for bids for excavation work, and crews should begin “digging a big hole” in October.
"It's going to take several months to dig the hole, so that's a fairly long process," he said.
Once the hole is nearly done, the foundation will start to go in, Ortlieb said. By March or April, the DDA should have a good idea of what kind of development will be going on top of the parking structure, he said.
Ray Detter of the Downtown Citizens Advisory Council spoke at today's meeting to say his group recently reaffirmed its support for the parking structure project. But he said the group hopes the DDA and city of Ann Arbor give careful consideration to what goes on the city-owned lot.
"We still strongly support residential development on that site. We want the downtown to be vital," Detter said, suggesting that a residential complex with 200 people living in it could significantly improve the downtown economy and expand retail businesses.
Adrian Iraola, another project manager from Park Avenue Consultants, said he's been working on where to put excavated soil materials from the site. He said the city of Ann Arbor has formally notified the DDA that it doesn't want the soils at the city's airport.
Iraola said he's now approaching excavation companies to see if they're interested in taking the soils. He's also talking to concrete manufacturers and other organizations about recycling the soils if possible.
Last month, two downtown businesses filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming construction of the underground parking garage would have a devastating impact on their businesses and the surrounding environment. That case is pending.
Photo by Ryan Stanton, AnnArbor.com. DDA board members discussed updates regarding the Fifth Avenue parking structure project at today's board meeting.
Ryan Stanton covers government for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at email@example.com or 734-623-2529.