Make it an extra large: Pizza House high-rise proposal grows by 59 percent
Rendering by J Bradley Moore and Associates
Editor's note: The percent increase of the square feet in the plan has been corrected.
The development group behind the 624 Church Street project that will add a 13-story high rise above Pizza House has expanded its vision. New plans submitted to Ann Arbor's design review board indicate that the high-rise will now extend to the corner of Church and Willard streets.
According to the new designs and renderings, the 144,437-square-foot plan has 122 apartments with approximately 230 bedrooms and is 59 percent larger than the original 83,807-square-foot proposal.
The original $17 million project that included a 72-unit high-rise with at least 175 bedrooms had been approved by city council in March.
“Everyone keeps asking ‘why aren’t you under construction yet?’ and the reason is that the adjacent property owner decided that he would in fact sell his property to be included in the project,” project architect Brad Moore of J. Bradley Moore & Associates said.
Rendering by J Bradley Moore & Associates
The additional property that will be included in the project is at 1117 Willard St. According to city records, James and Kathy Smiley have owned the property since 1994. The property was last assessed for $209,000 in 2012, making its approximate market value $418,000. Terms of the sale of the property are not yet available.
Moore said that as part of the redesign the interior was changed to take out higher-volume apartments and make the common areas larger and more attractive. The new look is intended to diversify the population of the new high-rise beyond University of Michigan undergraduates.
“They intend to market it more widely, not just to students,” he said.
“There were four-bedroom apartments in the previous proposal when it was just student focused, but there are none in the new design. Opus does urban residential projects in places like Minneapolis so they decided to market this project more broadly. They’re certainly going to take students but are hoping to get others to sign on as well.”
The new design includes studio apartments as well as one-, two- and three-bedroom floorplans.
Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com
“One of the criticisms we heard in our last public participation meeting was that people didn’t like the long solid look,” Moore said.
“So having that previous feedback we wanted to make sure to break it up and make it look like two separate side-by-side buildings instead of one long one. Not only are there material changes, there’s a notch that breaks up the tower as well.”
Moore hopes that the new proposal will make its way through the design review board, citizen participation meetings, planning commission and city council review by late winter or early spring 2014.
“It really just pushes the project back a year,” Moore said. “Instead of shooting for occupancy in 2014 it will be in 2015.”
Original approval for the project by city council came before the current review of the A2D2 zoning and strong statements from the mayor and city council members on the future of student high-rise developments in the downtown area.
Ben Freed covers business for AnnArbor.com. You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Get in touch with Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2