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Posted on Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

Multi-family housing development proposed near Ann Arbor's Kerrytown

By Lizzy Alfs

A house and parking lot on North Fifth Avenue in near the Kerrytown district is the latest Ann Arbor property to be targeted for development.

Ann Arbor architectural firm Bowers + Associates submitted a site plan to the city last month on behalf of property owner Robert Burskey, seeking to demolish the existing structure and build a 2.5-story development.


A house at 515 N. Fifth Ave. in Ann Arbor could be demolished for a multi-family development.

Lizzy Alfs |

The four-unit, multi-family development would include six parking spaces, according to the plans.

Situated on a .2-acre parcel just north of East Kingsley Street, the property has a large and underutilized parking lot adjacent to the house. The 3-bedroom house is currently a rental property, said City Planner Matt Kowalski.

The property has an assessed value of $152,700, making its estimated market value about double that. Burskey purchased the property in March, according to city documents. He did not return requests for comment about the plans.

Kowalski, who has only completed a preliminary review of the plans, said he does not see any planning and zoning issues. The site plan is expected to go before Ann Arbor’s Planning Commission in November before moving to City Council.

Just a block northeast of the North Fifth Avenue site, a developer submitted an application last week to Ann Arbor’s Historic District Commission to build a flat-iron multi-use building.

Dan Williams of Maven Development wants to demolish a 400-square-foot blighted gas station at 544 Detroit Street to construct a 4,000-square-foot building with office space on the first floor and condominiums on the second and third floors.

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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



Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 7:29 p.m.

@ Granger , et cetera: My 'pointless negativity' stems from living up street from the now (allegedly dead) NearNorth housing project. You know? The one suitable for this side of town which was allowed to exceed all zoning and was going to function as a halfway house with a super size liquor store in the ground floor? Yeah, that one. No question about suitability for the neighborhood or historic nonsense when it was here.... But, I am going to bet that the neighbors of this proposed development will have all sorts of issues with it and suddenly these properties will be significant historically or some other way. I doubt this will be built and if it is it won't be in a timely manner because this is Ann Arbor and if it looks to easy, well, it is.


Thu, Oct 4, 2012 : 2:46 a.m.

I get your frustration, but had you bothered to read the article and consider that of which you spoke, the apples to Buicks nature of your commentary would have been readily apparent. You could have also just taken a walk around the block.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 8:15 p.m.

the Near North project,although in the end you being a neighbor, feel the disapointment about the process and outcome, had so many other factors at have to admit that not every project will be similar. I think it will be interesting to see what they come up with for this one. You'd think good architects would relish the opportunity to challenge the paradigm instead of slappingup low cost structures.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 3:02 p.m.

How soon before the entire Kerrytown area turns into high-rise student apartments?


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 4:06 p.m.

That has nothing to do with this. And name ONE high rise student apartment building in the Kerrytown neighborhood. Pretty sure there are ZERO at the moment. Ugh.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 2:01 p.m.

Maybe this is what we're going to see more of with the increased density pulling students out of these houses. Rather than families tackling the burden personally, developers will take the now 'less-valued' property and flip it into something families can move into. maybe?


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 4:07 p.m.

Seems plausible.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 12:52 p.m.

the owner is smart to do this now....when the 725 parking space garage is finished next to Kellogg, the Fifth and Fourth St traffic [as the only 2 way streets onto/off the Bridge] will change. For that matter,the flatiron building will be situated in the midst of a traffic mecca. Good Luck.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 2:53 p.m.

simply amazed:there has been quite a bit of discussion about the expansion of the parking in relation to the neighboring residential climate. In fact,council representatives even spoke about it on behalf of the opinions of their constituents. There was substantial communication between the Univ parking representatives and the issues around Fuller vs alternate sites. The University's actions as it's facilities expand into neighborhoods is significant:they would even agree to that fact: reaching fair compromises has consumed time and energy of many people. To say the University has nothing to do with it[traffic/congestion and spillover effects] is a statement of zero value.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 2:44 p.m.

sellers:that would be nice.

simply amazed

Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 1:42 p.m.

DJBud, What does UM have to do with either of these proposed developments? Neither of these were purchased by UM. I'm missing your point.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 1:27 p.m.

Yes that structure is really going to stink it up around the Broadway bridge area, also up Pontiac to Barton Exit and out Fuller. For all that UM does to make Ann Arbor vibrant, when it comes to building, they sure get to run roughshod over public opinion or public good. I have heard that some cities have a better relationship with the state universities, where the universities pay their fair share to repair the roads that their constant construction traffic ruin, and the city planning Comission has some say into the university growth, etc. if only Ann Arbor had the kind of leadership that could work with the UM for the best interest of the city, not the university. Sadly, we do not.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 1:19 p.m.

I highly doubt you will be able to measure more than 5 cars more per hour on such streets due to a parking garage.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 12:04 p.m.

Ok "pbehjantnia" at least get your facts straight - maybe reading the article would help, though the article leaves much to be desired. This house is not in the historic district so the Historic District Comission has nothing to say about it and the developer is free to tear it down The only question here is whether the developer gets an exception to the rules that lets him build a new building that's bigger and holds more people than the current zoning allows. If you lived next door or across the street in a smaller house that fit within those current zoning rules, you might have some very, very strong opinions about it. That's why the Planning Commission and City Council hold public hearings.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 11:47 a.m.

Not even going to read the article. This is a film we see in Ann Arbor too often. I can't wait to hear all the nonsense that inevitably will come in protest to the demolition of yet another run down rental. It will suddenly become a historic structure with particular architectural significance and value as a landmark to the city of Ann Arbor. Thousands of dollars will be spent by the developer and the public to appease the historic stupid commission and in the end - after multiple delays because this is Ann Arbor - the project will either be built with including units for renters who cannot actually afford to live in them or will fall to the wayside after the developer walks away in disgust. Oh, and because this area is not Burns Park (where our fearless leader resides) a liquor store or drug testing facility or some other such neighborhood enhancing garbage will also be a requirement....if it gets built. Yes. I cannot wait to see this drama unfold.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 4:04 p.m.

Maybe you haven't been paying attention lately? ...But all the new, smaller scale development proposals that I have seen in articles here lately have been generally SUPPORTED. Pointless negativity.

Ron Granger

Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 1:11 p.m.

"a liquor store or drug testing facility or some other such neighborhood enhancing garbage will also be a requirement." That is a very interesting and considered viewpoint that you express. Really quite enlightening, on many levels.