You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.

Owners of Target shopping center on Ann Arbor-Saline reveal long-term redevelopment plans

By Lizzy Alfs


Developers want to build apartments on a vacant plot of land off Ann Arbor-Saline Road, which was once planned to be a motel and restaurant building.

The owners of the Oak Valley Centre on Ann Arbor-Saline Road want to bring the decades-old shopping complex up to date.

That includes utilizing a vacant piece of land behind the northern portion of the center for a 16-building apartment complex with a range of high-end amenities.

“We’d like to create a more pedestrian friendly, walkable environment,” said Andy Jacob of Oak Valley Centre LLC, who owns a portion of the shopping center with a group of business partners, including Oakland County-based developers Tom and Fred Goldberg.

“The center was built in a time where the thinking was different; the thinking was retail uses are obnoxious and you should hide them,” Jacob continued.

The Oak Valley Centre, developed in the late 1980s, is located at Ann Arbor-Saline and Waters roads in Pittsfield Township. Technically two separate buildings, tenants in the center include Target, Office Max, Chuck E. Cheese’s and Arbor Fit, among others.


The owners of the Oak Valley Centre on Ann Arbor-Saline Road want to build apartments behind the northern edge of the complex, near the Chuck E. Cheese's.

Joseph Tobianski |

Jacob said Oak Valley Centre LLC purchased the complex a few years after it was developed and another entity controls the southern portion of the center.

Oak Valley Centre LLC later purchased the vacant land behind the shopping complex, which was previously approved for a motel and restaurant use.

“We all thought (an apartment complex) was a better option and better use than going the motel route,” Jacob said.

Plans submitted to the township call to construct 16 buildings with 12 units each on the vacant land. Each unit would include a two-car garage, and Jacob said the units would be more upscale than traditional apartments.

“I know a lot of communities are sensitive to apartments, so I wanted to do something more upscale…we’ve noticed there is more and more demand for a rental-style property with attributes of an ownership-style property,” he said.

Along with the attached garages, the units would include wood floors, island kitchens, stone countertops and “generous” square footage. Jacob said rental rates would be comparable with other apartment complexes off Ann Arbor-Saline Road and South Main Street, but didn’t have official rates yet.

If the township approves the plans, construction could begin in spring 2013 and the apartments could be completed in fall 2014.

A more long-term plan, Jacob said, includes redeveloping the shopping center so that it coincides with the apartment complex. That could include breaking up the spaces to attract smaller tenants, opening several restaurants and making the compound more pedestrian friendly.

“The whole idea is to interconnect the residential with commercial and retail that’s next to it,” said Pittsfield Township Supervisor Mandy Grewal.

Although the redevelopment probably wouldn’t happen for several years, Jacob said he’d like to attract more restaurant and entertainment tenants. He’d like to see two or three restaurants in the complex.

“One of the nice things about living next to a shopping district is if it had uses in the center that were walkable for people, you could just walk next door and have dinner. Right now, the shopping center is not configured for that,” he said.

He added: “We’re working together with the township to get a sense of what we think works and what they think works.”

Pittsfield Township Planning Commission will consider a Planned Unit Development rezoning request and preliminary site plan for the apartment project at its Thursday meeting.

A staff report provides several suggestions to the developers, including proposing the project in two phases and creating a stronger pedestrian connection between the northern and southern portions of the development.

“Looking broadly at the Oak Valley area as one mixed use area, the residential uses support the adjacent commercial and service uses and vice versa,” the report says. “Overall, we find that the development of this site advances the intent of the master plan.”

View Larger Map

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



Fri, Dec 14, 2012 : 12:45 a.m.

Retail uses ARE obnoxious and you SHOULD hide them. Also, it's worth noting that pedestrians haven't fared well recently in this part of town. Do we really need to encourage it?


Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 7:43 p.m.

Like I said in the previous articles, it's not clear why they had to cut down all the trees years ago that would be blocking most of the I-94 noise. Instead they'll now need to build one of those ugly walls, which besides being ugly will simply reflect more sound to the northeast side of the freeway (so then people will probably then ask for an ugly wall on the OTHER side, too - ugh, it'll make Ann Arbor look like Detroit). I don't really have a problem with upscale apartments having a shopping district within walking distance, in fact that's actually a good idea. But the wetlands, the schools, and the traffic will all have to be dealt with. I'd like to see their proposed solutions.


Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 5:49 p.m.

The perplexing thing about this proposal is the idea that there is market for "upscale" residents on a very narrow wedge of property adjacent to the Interstate. I think I'd hear the road noise and look elsewhere, were I a potential buyer. Ill-fated from the start?

Basic Bob

Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 5:21 p.m.

"Advances the intent of the master plan" But does it CONFORM with the master plan? Or are we looking at rezoning like they did for Costco?

Lizzy Alfs

Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 2:58 p.m.

I'm not sure at this point how the developers and township are planning on dealing with the added congestion. I'll certainly ask about that as these meetings continue. Also - keep in mind that the developers did sit on this land for 12 years before proposing the project. They've also been in discussions with the township since the spring trying to sort out the details.

Nicholas Urfe

Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 2:35 p.m.

"The center was built in a time where the thinking was different; the thinking was retail uses are obnoxious and you should hide them," Jacob continued. That great wisdom was timeless. Please stick with it. Your sprawling strip mall development is nothing special. Seriously.


Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 4:23 p.m.

Luckily Pittsfield's berm requirement at the time helped preserve the transition into the city. Please tell me this will not change!!


Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 2:29 p.m.

money grab pure and simple


Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 4:10 p.m.

Moneys a good thing. You should try it some time.


Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 1:32 p.m.

1. How many of these would be rented by a family with a child? If even half of them end up with a one child in school that would add 96 kids to Lawton School. 2. Forget trying to turn left out of Silverspring in the morning and evening. 3. Who wants to live next to I-94?


Fri, Dec 14, 2012 : 12:25 a.m.

1. More students means more money for the school system if they come from other districts If they move within the area the question is moot. Most apartment complexes do nto have 50% children 2. protected left turns could make that go away 3. Lots of people. Have you seen Mill creek, Meadowbrook, Woodchase, Hunt Club? All abut i94


Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 1:21 p.m.

To add to murphthesurf's good point, all of the cars going to/from this complex pretty much have to go through 2 intersections - Oak Valley Dr. /Waters and Scio Church/Oak Valley Dr. And right now, those intersections are pretty clogged up at times. Oak Valley Dr. has seen steadily increasing amounts of traffic over the past few years and a lot of cars go pretty fast down there. So, this development will have a negative impact on this area in terms of congestion.


Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 3:41 p.m.

In fairness, the speed limit is 45 mph on that road. Often, going "fast" just means driving the speed limit. Many drivers drive 10-15 mph below the speed limit on Oak Valley and clog the road.


Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 1:31 p.m.

Indeed it will have an impact on the traffic. The planning commission should suggest them to install mass transit support in the form of bus stations, allocations for a 'transit stop' to support whatever the future may bring, and work with Ann Arbor on improvements to the pedestrian walkways over I-94 when that bridge is redone in 2013.


Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 1:14 p.m.

lets see: 16 bldgs.x 12 apts.= 192 apts. 192 apts. x 2 (cars) = 384 more cars to add to the already congested roads at this location.! these developers don't have to deal with the traffic problems that they create,we do ! maybe if they had to they wouldn't be so quick to propose this development at this location.?


Thu, Dec 13, 2012 : 4:08 p.m.

What if some of the residents already live in the area? What if some of the apartments will be occupied by one person having only one car, or two people with one car? That area does pretty good being a major shopping hub, and an area already loaded with condos and apartments and residences does pretty well traffic wise if you ask me. You don't drive a car, right?