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Posted on Thu, May 9, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Holiday Inn Express proposed for vacant land near Zeeb Road in Scio Township

By Lizzy Alfs


The proposed Holiday Inn Express in Scio Township would have 112 rooms.

Courtesy of Scio Township

A 112-room Holiday Inn Express hotel is proposed for vacant land near Zeeb Road and Interstate 94 in Scio Township.

Tony Anton of Ann Arbor Hospitality Inc. submitted a rezoning request to the township for a 1.4-acre property behind the BP gas station at 325 N. Zeeb Road. Anton is requesting the property be rezoned from C2, general commercial, to C3, highway commercial. The C3 zoning allows hotel uses.

In addition to the parcel behind the BP gas station, the hotel would occupy a portion of the property behind the Big Boy restaurant at 497 N. Zeeb Road, which already has a C2 zoning classification.

Plans submitted to the township say the hotel would have “ample meeting space” and 122 parking spaces.


The outlined site is currently zoned C2. Plans submitted to the township are requesting it be rezoned to C3 to allow the construction of a Holiday Inn Express.

“We believe this site would benefit from that zoning classification and fit in with the overall master plan of the community while bringing a much needed business to the community,” the plans say.

The land behind BP is owned by Michigan Commerce Bank and listed for sale with Swisher Commercial’s Charlie Koenn. Koenn said Anton is under contract to purchase the property. Anton, who is registered as the president of a Holiday Inn & Suites hotel in Farmington Hills, could not be reached for comment.

The site is adjacent to a vacant property owned by the Washtenaw County Road Commission where Costco proposed building a store several years ago.

The proposal comes as hotel occupancy rates in the county are strengthening. Rates in the Ann Arbor area reached 63.4 percent in 2012, up from 62.5 percent in 2011. Ann Arbor occupancy rates are the strongest in the state, according to a report by Charles Skelton of Hospitality Advisors.

Three miles east of the proposed Holiday Inn site, an Ann Arbor hotel owner wants to build a Hampton Inn & Suites at 2900 Jackson Ave. Akram Namou of A&M Hospitality and Executive Hospitality, also the owner of the Clarion Hotel, submitted plans in January to construct a four-story hotel containing 100 rooms, a workout facility and a pool.

There will be a public hearing for the Holiday Inn Express rezoning request at a 7 p.m. Planning Commission meeting on Monday, May 13. Scio Township Planner Doug Lewan said planning staff will be recommending approval.

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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



Thu, May 9, 2013 : 10:40 p.m.

Scio residents want some decent restaurants. Not another hotel in Ann Arbor


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 9:04 p.m.

The Jackson rd corridor, with the parkway road infrastructure, is ready for more development. It will benefit everyone. The Costco store should have been built there. And, a reasonably nice, but affordable hotel on the Zeeb/I94 corner is perfect, plus the one planned for the old Clarion property. There are also plenty of stores already, on Jackson and Zeeb roads to support the hotel guests, so there'll be no market backlash. It's win win.

Ann English

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 11:15 p.m.

You call it "parkway road infrastructure." I raised the question almost a year ago, what the difference is between a parkway and a boulevard. I've heard the term "boulevard" used more to describe Jackson Avenue since the left-turn islands were put in to keep through traffic moving. But this describes Eisenhower Parkway, too. It was a good idea to turn Jackson Avenue into a boulevard (or as you say, "parkway road infrastructure") for visitors staying at an inn nearby in the future. That part of I-94 doesn't have any exit/entrance ramps to/from Zeeb Road making for risky driving, like the I-94 Jackson Avenue interchange does; no dangerous interstate bends as a bridge, almost hairpin entrance ramp. That interchange already has its inns.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 4:35 p.m.

Did you notice in the article that hotel occupancy in Ann Arbor has only risen to 63.4%? Valiant Partners' proposed a 150-room luxury hotel to be built over the subterranean library parking structure that needed 75% occupancy (at room rates close to $200 per night) in order to be profitable. Chuck Skelton, a local hotel expert, produced a detailed report which indicated that the Valiant Partners hotel plan was not feasible. His study contributed to City Council withdrawing its RFP to Valiant Partners, killing the prospects for a hotel at least temporarily. The private hotel industry is telling Ann Arbor that building a hotel downtown is undesirable but opportunities abound on Ann Arbor outskirts.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 4:21 p.m.



Thu, May 9, 2013 : 4:14 p.m.

The DDA and some members of City Council maintain their desire to have a hotel built on one of the five pieces of publicly owned land downtown that are included in the Connect William Street plan. They prefer that the hotel be built next to the library as was proposed by Valiant Partners LLC. If building another hotel downtown is so advantageous why are the large, successful hotel enterprises like Holiday Inn and Hampton Inn shunning downtown and building on the outskirts instead? If either hotel chain had inquired about the available properties downtown I am sure we would of heard about it. These professional corporations know how to make money and, more importantly, know how not to lose money.

Boo Radley

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 8:11 p.m.

It seems clear to me that the hotels are counting on business from travelers on I-94, which it why the two new hotels went in at Briarwood, one proposed on Jackson Rd., and this one at Zeeb/I-94. All of those locations are right on I-94, along with the two built not too long ago in Chelsea.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 7:12 p.m.

Lizzy Alfs - The cost of land purchased for hotel construction is only one expense for a developer. By building a parking structure next to the library that could support a hotel and provide needed parking spaces, I believe that the DDA and certain City Council members were hoping to save developers $20 million in construction costs. This incentive would halve the amount of financing that Valiant Partners LLC (or any other developer) would have to obtain at a time when getting a loan was difficult. Essentially, the DDA and City Council were gifting Ann Arbor tax dollars to subsidize private development.

Lizzy Alfs

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 4:42 p.m.

Yes, @Veracity: The "making money" part of this is key - building a hotel downtown is certainly more expensive because of the land costs. If you look at the Hampton Inn that's proposed, the developer already owns that land, so for him it makes sense. I don't yet know the details of the deal for the land on Zeeb, but the parcels with Swisher are listed for $440,000.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 3:04 p.m.

"The site is adjacent to a vacant property owned by the Washtenaw County Road Commission where Costco proposed building a store several years ago." That was successfully ambushed by the competition, with implausible zoning arguments. The same arguments apply to this proposal. Revealingly, we are not hearing them.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 3:05 p.m.

Thanks to Pittsfield Township, Ann Arbor very belatedly has a Costco.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 2:47 p.m.

More sprawl for Scio. I can't wait until SE MI is just one big ugly united mass of concrete and mediocre big box stores. Guess I just have to keep moving west until I can escape this kind of garbage.

Blue Marker

Mon, May 13, 2013 : 11:25 a.m.

Taxes in Scio are just a smidge lower than Ann Arbor proper. But what I pay for water more than makes up any tax difference.

Usual Suspect

Fri, May 10, 2013 : 3:25 a.m.

No, then you get near the gravel pits, and they have to complain about those, too.

Rod Johnson

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 9:37 p.m.

Or you could move a half mile north or south. All development in Scio is restricted to the Jackson Road corridor. Go south of Park or north of Marshall/Pratt and it's as rural and bucolic as you please. Those businesses along Jackson are a big part of why you pay such low taxes for Scio's (rudimentary) township services.

Blue Marker

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 6:49 p.m.

Let's change the name from Scio to New Novi.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 1:29 p.m.

Let's hope that the few dozen nearby NIMBY's who blew away the Costco (which was going to pay the Washtenaw Cy Road Commission a much needed $750K ANNUALLY in rent) don't start in on this. Good fit, decent rooms, etc. But, it would be nice if they could make sure that the lighting is designed according to best practices for minimizing light pollution. We have more than enough of that at that intersection already, and it's wasteful, unhealthy and makes it hard to enjoy our beautiful Michigan night skies.

Ann English

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 10:49 p.m.

Just as long as the inn doesn't interfere with the Peach Mountain Observatory's night sky scanning. They made a good choice of location for it, well away from the freeways, which are prime spots for motels.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 12:50 p.m.

Good luck with this request. Scio township doesn't have the best track record for approving new businesses unless they meet certain "standards".

Usual Suspect

Fri, May 10, 2013 : 3:24 a.m.

When those standards are that they don't want the area to end up like the traffic mess along Washtenaw Ave between Ann Arbor and Ypsi, or like around Briadwood, they I'm all for it. I realize some people will never get over the absence of their dear Costo, but that's too bad. Costo wanted too much and wanted to dictate terms to the township.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 1:14 p.m.

You don't think they learned their lesson from Costco?

Melissa Richter

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 12:30 p.m.

Living in the Dexter area, where there are no hotels, I think this is great idea and wish it was ready for this fall. Both Webers and Clarion are good hotels but sometimes, you just need a place to rest your head after football and family gatherings and not spend $189 for a pool and other amenities you're not going to use.

Lizzy Alfs

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 4:39 p.m.

Thanks for commenting, Melissa. This is an interesting point; I was thinking about the demographic the hotel would try and reach, and you're right about the cost/convenience piece for people in the Dexter area.

Jack Gladney

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 11:55 a.m.

This is a perfect fit for that interchange. It fits in with other service related businesses right there. Great national brand name with consistently good service, decent rooms and reasonable rates. What's not to like? Oh, right... Development. Boo.

Boo Radley

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 11:53 a.m.

I have no idea if the Ann Arbor area needs another hotel, but developers seem to believe that the market is there now. This proposal actually looks like the perfect spot for a hotel. Walking distance from the hotel to both McDonalds and Big Boy, and immediate freeway access. And plenty of shopping right in the immediate area. Holiday Inn Express hotels are usually very nice properties.

Ann English

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 12:36 p.m.

Just said yesterday that streets off of freeways are prime spots for motels and inns. Putting in a hotel off Zeeb will help visitors from the west; no need for them to go southeast on I-94 to State Street's hotels or northeast, east and finally south to Plymouth Road's hotels off I-94. State Street's and Plymouth Road's hotels are in good places for visitors from the north, east and south, but definitely NOT from the west.

Boo Radley

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 12:08 p.m.

Not to leave anybody out of the "walking distance" benefit to those staying at this hotel ... Metzger's, Grand Traverse Pie and Baxters are also right there.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 11:49 a.m.

Hi Lizzy, The images shown, banal as they are, are copy-written architectural drawings. Would you please identify the name of the designer?

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, May 10, 2013 : 1:10 a.m.

They certainly aren't copy-written. They may be copyrighted.

Lizzy Alfs

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 4:44 p.m.

Thanks for asking - these images were submitted to the township and then provided to me as public record. The name of the designer was not on them, but I'm checking on that now.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 11:45 a.m.

Oh boy, more development!!! That seems to be the theme these days, doesn't it- pave over every square inch of land in the Ann Arbor area and if there is already something there, knock it down and build something grotesquely bigger. The Ann Arbor area is quickly turning into another overdeveloped concrete jungle.

Blue Marker

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 6:47 p.m.

Yes, let's build everything we can and become New Novi. Great!


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 6:36 p.m.

Some people are NEVER happy. Having a hotel come into Ann Arbor would mean more jobs and growth for all the businesses in the area. Oh darn.... I think this is a great idea!

Boo Radley

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 11:56 a.m.

"Oh boy, more development!!! That seems to be the theme these days, doesn't it ..." That certainly is what many people have been hoping for for a number of years while the economy has been depressed. Development again, replacing lost tax revenue that has crippled local governments, and bringing more jobs to the area.

Blue Marker

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 10:56 a.m.

Let's keep the hotels together in the State St area. 15 years ago I moved out to the Zeeb area to get away a little bit, ever since the sprawl has followed. Is there really a need for more hotel space in A2?


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 8:56 p.m.

I heard for UM graduation some people making last minute arrangements couldn't find a hotel room closer than Novi


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 4:27 p.m.

I would contend that there is no need for "more" of a number of things. And most of them are downtown. But then when I decide to invest my money I will have more say on what is built and where.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 10:25 a.m.

Another mediocre hotel at the fringes of town? What we really need is a quality business hotel downtown. The Campus Inn is an embarrassment.


Fri, May 10, 2013 : 9:47 a.m.

Go ahead and build one of the type and at the location you deem appropriate. Let others do the same.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 12:30 p.m.

Feel free to invest you capitol on a hotel WHEREVER you wish!