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Posted on Wed, May 15, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Investor buys building on downtown Ann Arbor's South Fourth Avenue after foreclosure

By Lizzy Alfs


The building at 210-216 S. Fourth Ave. was sold this week.

Courtney Sacco |

New management is making plans for the future of a building on downtown Ann Arbor’s South Fourth Avenue after a sale was finalized on Tuesday.

212 4th Ave. LLC, registered to Joe Barbat, purchased the mixed-use Town Center Plaza building at 210-216 S. Fourth Ave. from lender Bloomfield Capital, which foreclosed on it earlier this year.

Tenants in the building include Bandito’s Mexican Restaurant, Salon Vertigo, and offices on the second floor.

“We’re just getting the architect to give us an idea of what we have to do (moving forward),” said Jim Chaconas of Colliers International Ann Arbor, which represented the buyer and seller in the deal. “Structurally, (the building is) fine.”

Bloomfield Capital initiated foreclosure proceedings on the property in July 2012 after the building’s former owner, local landlord Dale Newman, failed to make mortgage payments. Filings show Newman owed the lender $1,291,089.

Earlier this year, Bloomfield Capital took full control of the building following a redemption period and Birmingham-based real estate firm Broder & Sachse took over management of the property to position it for a sale.

Chaconas declined to reveal the purchase price of the building and Barbat — whose Southfield-based company Barbat Holdings LLC owns and manages several Ann Arbor properties — couldn’t be reached for comment. The building has a 2013 assessed value of $766,500.

“I had a few people who were interested (in buying it),” Chaconas said.

“(The building) has some great features; it has very high ceilings on the second floor,” he added.”

The sale comes two months after the 17-year-old Eastern Accents Asian bakery closed its doors at 214 S. Fourth citing a dispute with the landlord. At the time, Eastern Accents co-owner Carol Sun said she had extensive issues with the way the building was managed by Newman and said it was plagued with maintenance issues that were often ignored.

Meanwhile, the lease for the Blue Lotus hookah lounge and carryout restaurant that planned to open at 210 S. Fourth was terminated while the building was in transition, Chaconas said.

Ken Sing, owner of Bandito's Mexican Restaurant, said he hopes to remain in the building under the new owners.

"I'm just hoping it's for the best," he said.

Chaconas estimated the second floor of the building is about 30 percent leased and the first floor is about 25 percent leased. Colliers has been hired to take over the leasing of the building.

He said the new owner is working with architect Brad Moore of J Bradley Moore & Associates to determine how to move forward. He said the building could be gutted and the new owner is considering expansion options, but it shouldn’t result in any immediate changes for the building’s current tenants.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at


Lizzy Alfs

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 8:56 p.m.

I should note - I connected with more tenants in the building today and I'm under the impression that a fair amount of maintenance work took place in the last year or so. The building has a new roof, windows and heating and cooling system.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 6:18 p.m.

I wish Eastern Accents could have held out to see whether the ownership change fixed things.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 6:19 p.m.

(I realize they didn't know it was coming, and in no way fault them. The situation is just sad.)

Marcia Feingold

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 6:08 p.m.

Whatever the new owner does, please try to bring back Eastern Accents. That was a unique shop -- nothing to compare it to anywhere -- in terms of food, prices, ambience. Restoring EA will bring more foot traffic to that area.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 3:30 p.m.

What is the zoning for that parcel?

Lizzy Alfs

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 4:34 p.m.

It's D1 zoning:


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 3:29 p.m.

Why is it that people in Ann Arbor always think they can have it both ways? We have 157 parks, the greenbelt intiative, etc. limiting what parcels can be developed, people here complain about the U buying up too many other parcels and taking them off the tax rolls... but when someone comes in and tries to expand the tax base in the only way it can be expanded (building up) people throw a fit! What do you people want, higher taxes instead of spreading them around? And heaven forbid we have a high rise a block east of other high rises, that would just RUIN our skyline! Or, you know, create one! People just like to complain from what I can tell. Well, you can't have it both ways. Either we grow or we don't, and if we don't then don't complain that we don't have enough money for your pet projects because YOU didn't want the to expand the tax base to raise that money. As for Banditos, that's my favorite Mexican place in town. Great food, great service, wish them the best and hope to see them thrive for a LONG time.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 4:34 p.m.

I agree with the indiscriminate building being something we'd want to avoid... but putting a tall building in an area with lots of tall buildings already hardly seems like indiscriminate building that endangers the beauty of town. Quite the opposite, it puts the density where we want it to PRESERVE the open spaces elsewhere. This theoritical tall building isn't at Washtenaw/Huron Pkwy. or Hill and Geddes... it would be downtown. It could be a decent looking building, not every tall building is ugly. Well, not in my opinion, I suppose that could be the issue for some but, hey, diversity of ideas is a good thing, no? I just don't get the knee-jerk opposition to every tall building even suggested in this town, or every development period (just look at the hoops that Zingermans had to jump through to expand and they're a beloved pillar of the community)! Call me crazy but I want more jobs in this town, more taxes being paid to hire more cops and firefighters and librarians and park workers, more success stories being written... if a nice new tall building can help with that then pass me the shovel and I'll dig that first hole myself.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 4:01 p.m.

I would pay more taxes and continue to live in a beautiful city than take the tradeoff of more 413 type monstrosities and lower taxes.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 3:52 p.m.

Ann Arbor is an award winning city now and will sustain its success even if the population doesn't grow much which is what SEMCOG predicts for the next 27 years (only 6% growth). Most recent highrise construction has been and continues to be speculative. We will likely experience a declining number of students who can afford and would want to live in many of our new residence buildings. Soon we will see how many young professionals want to fork out $2650 monthly for an 1100 square foot apartment in the soon-to-be-completed Village Green City Apartments. Ann Arbor is a mature city but still on the rise. Indiscriminate building will do more harm to Ann Arbor's character and reputation than add to its success.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 3:28 p.m.

Finally! It's a shame Eastern Accents had to go, but I'm so glad this place now has a chance to actually become occupied by more businesses.

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 2:37 p.m.

Here we go again. When is the council going to fix the zoning laws and stop complaining about how their "hands are tied"?


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 3:41 p.m.

Soon, I hope!

Kyle Mattson

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 1:47 p.m.

We're probably a bit early to be speculating on the complete redevelopment of the building and construction of a new one; however, the property is of considerable size and neighbors the corner building recently purchased by Running Fit owner Randy Step. Considering that and the central location of the property it could make a very attractive location for another downtown tower. Any agree or disagree with that? For reference here is a photo of the building as seen from our offices here downtown: On a side note, you're looking beautiful on this fine spring day Ann Arbor!


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 3:12 p.m.

I would hope that nothing like that is in the works, but the architect they hired is the same one who gave us the Varsity monstrosity (not to mention City Place), so anything is possible ...

Kyle Mattson

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 2:44 p.m.

Hi Veracity- I'm not making an argument either way for such a building nor that it would be successful, just saying that the size of the property and location combined with the Running Fit building does seem to match up with the potential for such a development. Obviously it is up to developers/investors to make decision to fund such an endeavor and they reap the risks and rewards accordingly.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 2:21 p.m.

Well, I guess another 14-story student residence could be built there. No need exists for such a large commercial or office building that would mostly remain empty as may another residence tower. Of course, shoving a tall building in that spot will ruin the skyline and destroy the quaint small city appearance that downtown is struggling to maintain. Kyle and others believe that you can just throw in a skyscraper and what ever occupies it will be successful which is not always true. Developers drool at the thought of receiving large fees from constructing big buildings. Often these developers are from outside Ann Arbor and are long gone by the time their development fails or the local citizens realize that they were sold an ugly bill of goods.

Jojo B

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 1:24 p.m.

Does this mean that Bandito's is in jeopardy? I'm still sad about Eastern Accents choosing to close; landlord issues were one of the deciding factors. The space next door with the stairs going to the basement was always junky and unfinished. It would be nice for something fresh to happen here.

Lizzy Alfs

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 1:43 p.m.

Chaconas said the current tenants should be fine as long as they are paying rent. Once the leases expire, that could change though. Sing wasn't sure the exact details of his lease since it was complicated by having Newman as the landlord and then the foreclosure.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 1:15 p.m.

City Council needs to proceed with its review of the zoning ordinance with haste so that another 413 E. Huron Building is not constructed on this South Fourth Street site. I must say that I am not pleased with the facade as depicted in the picture. I hope that the architect recommends exterior changes that will give the building an interesting appearance like seen on a number of older Main Street buildings.

b master b

Thu, May 16, 2013 : 3:02 a.m.

Veracity, I think you should become informed before voicing your opinions. Zoning permits 4x FAR. That would mean a maximum of 40,000 SF on this site. Ten stories would mean 4,000 SF a floor. Include an elevator and a staircase as required and you'd have one tiny studio on each floor. Maybe you should figure out what you're talking about before voicing an opinion.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 3:38 p.m.

Just look at the picture at the beginning of the article and imagine ten more stories. If it can be done, and I am certain that it can, there will be a developer somewhere anxious to do it (and to gain a hefty fee for it).

b master b

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 3:07 p.m.

Please enlighten me as to how a highrise could fit on this site?

sandy schopbach

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 1:13 p.m.

Offices 30% rented only. Shops already closed. New opening terminated. I see another high-rise here. Just sayin'.

Lizzy Alfs

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 1:06 p.m.

As some of you are noting, yes, I think the building has a lot of maintenance issues that were deferred for years. We've written about Newman in the past, and there is also a great piece in the Ann Arbor Observer by Sally Mitani from 2011. I highly recommend it: Also, the following is from Brad Moore: "We are currently conducting a thorough investigation of the building and are discussing with the new owners how the building can best be reborn."

Linda Peck

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 12:23 p.m.

This is a great location and the current tenants deserve better than they have had for the last number of years.

Dirty Mouth

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 12:09 p.m.

So glad Dale Newman finally lost this building. Let's hope these new guys an do something interesting with it.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 6:50 p.m.

so now I will no longer have to look out the window and see he and one of the many "young" lady friends of his on the roof in the blow up pool


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 12:08 p.m.

The previous owner was Dale Newman. His property management / ownership problems have been been well documented. Not sure if he still owns anything else downtown.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 12:38 p.m.

A few years ago I checked out a couple of his student rentals on Brown St that were being foreclosed on. Let's just say they were "maintenance deferred". Not sure if he got them back during the redemption period.

Dirty Mouth

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 12:10 p.m.

He actually owns a few private residences, including his current home in the Barton Hills.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 11:16 a.m.

I have given maintenance quotes there over the years, and never got the work, from the look of the building nobody ever got the work. Hopefully a new owner will care for it a little better.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 2:12 p.m.

A2 slumlords abound. The fair exterior shell says nothing of what's going on inside the building.