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Posted on Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 2:55 p.m.

Former Greek church on Ann Arbor's North Main Street to be demolished in September

By Lizzy Alfs


The blighted former Greek church property on North Main Street in Ann Arbor is set to be demolished in September.

Melanie Maxwell |

The blighted building on Ann Arbor’s North Main Street that once housed St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church is set to be demolished in September, Washtenaw County Treasurer Catherine McClary said.

The property, on the 400 block of North Main Street in Ann Arbor’s Kerrytown district, has broken windows, a hole in the roof and has been noted for safety and crime concerns.

“(The property) creates a blight on the downtown and it creates a crime issue,” McClary said. “It’s been difficult because people have wanted to inhabit it and sleep there. ... There have been complaints of crime and people wandering through there.”

In 2006, the North Main Street property was zoned as a planned unit development (PUD) when North Main/Fourth Ventures LLC proposed a 158-foot multi-family residential development called “The Gallery.”

It has since been turned over to the county treasurer following a tax foreclosure, and the property is up for auction starting Sept. 6 for a minimum bid price of $365,051.

McClary estimated that of the $365,0561 minimum bid price, the cost of demolition and past site cleanups is about $110,000 — which is being fronted with money from the treasurer’s reserve fund from its foreclosure prevention program.

If the property doesn’t sell at the Sept 6. auction, there will be a second auction starting Oct. 18. If it still doesn’t sell, McClary said it would return to the government entity that wants to pay a performance bond for the cost of demolition.

McClary expects a chain-link fence will be installed at the site on Sept. 6 and the tentative demolition date is Sept. 10. It will last about 15 business days and the parking spaces in the rear of the building will be closed off during demolition. The contractor for the project is Warren-based Blue Star Inc.

“Obviously, (demolition) won’t be completed by the end of the auction, but we are notifying people on the auction site that they aren’t buying that blighted structure,” McClary said.

Although it’s difficult to predict the level of interest in the upcoming auction, McClary said the upside to the property is it’s a “prime Main Street location.”

“It’s hard to believe that it wouldn’t be worth $365,000,” she said.

Last week, Ann Arbor City Council Member Stephen Kunselman proposed rezoning the PUD site to the city’s D2 downtown zoning, which would give it a new height limit of 60 feet rather than the current allowable 158 feet.

The proposal failed to win support at city council’s Aug. 20 meeting.

McClary said one of the “downsides” to redeveloping the property is that it has an easement held by its neighbor to the south — McKinley Inc. — for 57 parking spaces. The easement was agreed upon when The Gallery project was proposed.

“Easements don’t get foreclosed upon,” McClary said. “If you had a piece of property that went to tax foreclosure and your neighbor had an easement because you shared a driveway, that easement doesn’t go away.”

She added: “Whomever buys the property is going to have to work with McKinley on what they want to develop there.”

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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


Boris Boland

Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 4:24 p.m.

Nowhere in the article did it mention how old the church building is. I would be interested to know that, as there are very few historic Orthodox church buildings left in southeastern Michigan.


Fri, Aug 31, 2012 : 11:48 a.m.

Anything new on the Georgetown Mall demolition? Those bids were also due to the county last month. Sure, it isn't downtown so the city leaders don't really care, but those of us in the neighborhood who have had to live with that eyesore for what seems like an eternity are ready for some action.


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 6:05 p.m.

Re. Lizzy's reply: "Latest"? At least it's news from this calendar year, but won't be for long.

Lizzy Alfs

Fri, Aug 31, 2012 : 2:44 p.m.

Brad, here is the latest on Georgetown Mall:


Fri, Aug 31, 2012 : 2:32 p.m.

The connection is that the county doing the demolition just like with the mall. And that mall is a disgrace to the city as well. Were it downtown it would be getting as much attention as the church.


Fri, Aug 31, 2012 : 2:28 p.m.

Brad, you have the sympathy of many for the Georgetown fiasco also. But this particular story is about a neglected downtown property that was a also a church. The disgrace factor for the city is off the charts.


Fri, Aug 31, 2012 : 3:26 a.m.

Having spent 6 year as an altar boy, hours of Greek school classes, and plenty of wonderful memories as a community - I will miss this place dearly. My grandparents went here, my mother and father were married here years ago and years later her burial ceremony was in this church. I can still remember the day. Thanks to all the neighbors who dealt with us on Greek Easter, when we would walk around the church in prayer. Many wonderful memories. Thanks for reading.


Fri, Aug 31, 2012 : 2:02 a.m.

I have driven by that building for years. Must be going on 30? I didn't realize it was abandoned when I noticed the turret was damaged. Glad to see an eye sore being taken down. I just hope what ever goes in its place is something nicer.


Fri, Aug 31, 2012 : 1:34 a.m.

This building was once a place where holy sacraments took place. Weddings, baptisms, funerals and even the ordination a priest. Young and old gathered there. People born here and those from far away came to find a community. Students found fellowship & friendly comfort while engaged in their studies. This is not just some old blighted building but a place of very fond memories for those church members and the Ann Arbor community at large. To see the current conditions of this place must be hurtful to the core for the founders who gave so much to create it. The city has shown disrespect with this case and should apologize for allowing this process to unfold as it did. The city administration and city council has demonstrated once again that it has such backwards priorities when it comes to city real estate. If this building were to be demolished, better to have done it long ago. The painful experience continues.

Wolf's Bane

Sat, Sep 1, 2012 : 2:23 p.m.

It is NOT the city's fault, but the developers who clearly couldn't execute the project. If you want to blame someone, blame the real estate company.

Wolf's Bane

Fri, Aug 31, 2012 : 12:52 a.m.

About time. Now, what about the rest of Main street down by Summit?

Dog Guy

Fri, Aug 31, 2012 : 12:11 a.m.

Stephen Kunselman's proposal to pull the PUD on this site could only hurt chances for its sale. It would be good to have a tax-paying building there.

Jon Wax

Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 10:11 p.m.

over the last 3 weeks, as i have driven by that location, it has become more apparent that the homeless folks using that spot have become a little too comfortable in their habits = if only the current state of the building looked as it does in the picture above. but it doesn't. it's getting more and more junk heaped up daily. the garbage in the front door way used to consist of maybe a bottle or 2 "hidden" in the bushes. now... it's a full fledged dump. flat out. there is garbage from the door almost out to the sidewalk. raise it and turn it into something nice. a park. not another place to park... but an actual park. and also, sad to say = AAPD, time has come to start kicking out anyone using that spot for a bed down. it was cool before when folks were semi-concious of their belongings but now it's out of hand and the time has come to shut her down. Peace


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 10:26 p.m.

Could it be? Is this where CTN moved to? I have no problems with the homeless and wish that we could help them more, but to allow them to trash a place that they are squatting on and live in squalor, is not acceptable. If they wish to 'act like pigs' then go move somewhere else. We should find them and run them out-of-town.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 9:35 p.m.

its about time! Boy this city leadership is slow!


Fri, Aug 31, 2012 : 2 a.m.

Need to take guidance from Ypsilanti Township. We tear things down faster.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 8:59 p.m.

Shame, really, as it was such a pretty building. On the other hand I will be somewhat glad to have it done and over as seems it has been years now of hearing of this impending doom. The torture may soon be over at last! Or will it?


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 8:59 p.m.

Any word on the demolition of the north main houses or if Near North is progressing?


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 8:19 p.m.

Links to any plans / renderings of proposed development?

Lizzy Alfs

Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 8:22 p.m.

It looks like the website for The Gallery may have been taken down, but here is a link to the ArborWiki page with some old story links:

John of Saline

Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 8:09 p.m.

Should have bought it when it was first for sale, when the copper dome was still intact. Would have made a bizarre house, but fun. "Step into my living room" (leads guests into sanctuary, complete with altar).


Fri, Aug 31, 2012 : 2:04 a.m.

I hate to say it, but I saw in some magazine that churches up for sale? Are being turned into homes. I saw this one and it was pretty cool to see a nice stained glass window above the bed in a converted bedroom. I think it can be found on the internet.

Dog Guy

Fri, Aug 31, 2012 : 12:19 a.m.

Was it then advertised as "well-maintained residence of a famous carpenter" (until the artophorion was removed)?

music to my ear

Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 7:54 p.m.

well thank God for the beautiful greek church on scio church love thier yasoo festival