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Posted on Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Owners of Target shopping center want to build 192-unit apartment complex off Ann Arbor-Saline Road

By Lizzy Alfs

A vacant property behind the Oak Valley Centre shopping complex off Ann Arbor-Saline Road could be redeveloped into a 16-building, 192-unit apartment complex.

Pittsfield Township Planning Commission received a Planned Unit Development rezoning request and preliminary site plan this week for the Oak Valley Apartment project from Atwell LLC, a Southfield-based land development consulting firm.

Plans call to construct 16 buildings with 12-units each on the 18-acre parcel, which is located off Ann Arbor Saline-Road just north of Waters Road. Each unit would include a two-car garage.


The owners of the Oak Valley Centre off Ann Arbor-Saline Road have expressed interest in redeveloping the northern portion of the complex, pictured here.

Lizzy Alfs |

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

As part of the plans, the owners of Oak Valley Centre have indicted they might redevelop a portion of the existing shopping center.

The shopping center property is registered to Craig Singer, township records indicate. The Goldberg family, who own several shopping centers off Ann Arbor-Saline Road, developed the center. Tom Goldberg could not immediately be reached for comment regarding the plans.


The vacant property behind Chuck E. Cheese's, which is being targeted for development.

“In conversations with (Pittsfield Township) staff, the applicant has noted that they are considering reconfiguring/redeveloping the northern section of the Oak Valley Centre,” a Pittsfield Township staff report says. “This includes potentially removing a portion of the center to create a visual and physical connection to the Oak Valley Apartment development.”

Tenants in the shopping center include Target, Office Max, Chuck E. Cheese’s and Arbor Fit, among others.

The property that is being targeted for development is located on the northern end of the shopping center, directly behind Chuck E. Cheese’s. The site, according to a staff report, is “currently encumbered with a regulated wetland and tree cover.” The project would require a wetland use permit.

The report cites various site planning and architecture issues with the plans, although it says the project generally fits with the township’s master plan and future land uses.

Among the suggestions: proposing the project in two phases, which would coincide with redeveloping the existing shopping center. Other suggestions include creating a stronger pedestrian connection between the northern and southern portions of the development and enhancing the development entrance.

“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.”

Pittsfield Township Planning Commission will consider the plans at its Dec. 13 meeting.

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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



Tue, Jul 23, 2013 : 7:22 p.m.

I remember 30 years ago there was nothing out there except an abandoned farm house and barn. Use to go exploring thru there. Now look at it. Nothing but shopping centers and housing. Sad to think Ann Arbor use to be a farming community. Now it looks like New York. Sad reality.

Susan Montgomery

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 10:58 p.m.

Lizzy - Maybe you could fix the map so it doesn't read "Blake Transit Center" ? Also, "As part of the plans, the owners of Oak Valley Centre have indicted " .. should be "indicated"


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 9:38 p.m.

The thing that raises my eyebrow on this one is that the retail plaza is not the best-managed in town. It suffers a fairly high vacancy rate and, apart from the Target anchor, much "energy". The part I'd like to hear more about is how they will "redevelop" part of the plaza.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 8:26 p.m.

Traffic congestion? Developers love it. It bolsters their bottom line.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 6:57 p.m.

A home that's on a swamp and back of a mall? I don't think that's what they had in mind for the American Dream.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 1:46 a.m.

Most of Ann Arbor was a swamp originally. Nothing new there.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 9:07 p.m.

>> A home that's on a swamp and back of a mall? << It's not in back of a mall. It's north of the shopping center, along Oak Valley Drive (which Pittsfield required the developers to pay for). No doubt access will be from Oak Valley Drive (probably multiple driveways), although at the moment access to the undeveloped land is apparently from the shopping center road at the north end of the center. And actually, it's not a swamp, although there may be wetlands issues to be solved. Little doubt they're solvable, as the area was thought good for a hotel when initial PUD(?) approval was obtained. There are some nice ponds between the center and AA-Saline Road.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 5:44 p.m.

When this center and the one just south (Village Center) were planned and approved two decades ago, two things relevant to this discussion occurred: (1) the developers agreed, as a condition of approval by Pittsfield Township, to pay the cost of putting in Oak Valley Road from Ann Arbor-Saline Road to Scio Church Road (I believe all of the cost, but I may misremember this); and (2) the unbuilt area of Oak Valley Center, now slated for the 192-unit apartment complex, was planned for a hotel, but no hotel operator ever wanted to build one there. One other comment, about "sprawl." We had a debate a decade ago at the time of the millage proposal for AA's purchase of land for parks ("greenbelt"). The point was made, and learned by most or at least many, that as population and commercial pressures drove more development, "we could build up or out." "Out" meant more sprawl, more roads and longer commutes. "Up" meant higher rise buildings, shorted commutes, less energy use, hopefully more urban neighborhoods, etc. In general, when we approved the millage, we chose "up." Hence the taller downtown buildings, etc. Also, note that this area made Pittsfield one of the 2 or 3 fastest-growing municipalities in Michigan in the late 80's and 90's. I recall that at some point in the mid-90's a total of over 3000 dwelling units within a mile of Meijer were recently built, building, approved or seeking planning permission.

Basic Bob

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 5:23 p.m.

"Advances the intent of the master plan" Translation: It's not in the master plan. There's no capacity for utilities. Roads will be built. Wetlands will be destroyed. But there was a generous contribution from the developer.

John Q

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 5:17 p.m.

2 car garages? These are apartments. How many apartment dwellers in the Ann Arbor area are going to have 2 cars?

Linda Peck

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 5:03 p.m.

Building on a swamp is not a good idea.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 8:20 p.m.

When I first came here, this was all swamp. Everyone said I was daft to build an apartment complex on a swamp, but I built in all the same, just to show them. It sank into the swamp. So I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So I built a third. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up. And that's what you're going to get, Lad, the strongest apartment complex in all of Pittsfield


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 4:44 p.m.

I wonder if it is needed. There are many houses/condos and apartments within 5 miles of this location. I could see the apartments on the other side of Scio Church becoming vacant/undesirable.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 4:32 p.m.

Great idea on their part...built in customer base for their stores.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 3:35 p.m.

Um, can't we just leave vacant land as vacant land? I don't know...plant some trees? Maybe a community garden? Anyone know how many vacant apartments are located in Ann Arbor?


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 8:03 p.m.

The vacancy rate for Ann Arbor was around 3.6% for 2011. The region (Washtenaw including Ypsi) was 5.4%. That is INCREDIBLY low. Basic supply and demand will tell you that supply is tight and demand is high, which means rents are increasing. As for those who talk about the other apartments int he area, I think you should go over to their leasing offices and find out how many vacancies there are. Generally they do not last long. I looked at Lake Village about 6 months ago and was told they had nothing available for at least three months (they couldnt giver an exact date because not everybody leaving had given notice). The rental market is currently a HUGE landlord market and not a tenant one. I would love to see more rentals for people who do not want to own, but do not want to live in a student ghetto


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 7:09 p.m.

Ideally they should have left a tree wall to block the freeway noise. But they cut those all down years ago without even knowing what they were going to do with the land. Now they'll probably build the apartments, and then when the residents complain about the freeway noise, they'll build those hideous cement walls, and Ann Arbor can look like all the other ugly towns down I-94.

Ron Granger

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 2:42 p.m.

"The whole idea is to interconnect the residential with commercial and retail that's next to it," AKA: Sprawl


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 2:34 p.m.

I hope Pittsfield asks them to include provisions for a transit stop or station - so if/when the transit is build we already have one location that has some infrastructure. (think forward)

Dog Guy

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 2:33 p.m.

As phrased by that great ontologist, Myron Cohen, "Everybody gotta be someplace."


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 2:32 p.m.

Sounds good to me. Would prefer in the city limits, but build it and they will come...


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 2:08 p.m.

Hey, this is better than in the center of town. It's not for students either. For once this seems like a good idea! Apts close to shopping. 5 min to downtown. Sounds pretty good.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 2:58 p.m.

More like 10-15 minutes to downtown, depending on the traffic lights.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 2:23 p.m.

There are already a slew of such apartments along Eisenhower and S. Main in the Briarwood/Colonnade area. Maybe more in that area would indeed be good - as long as there is corresponding road widening.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 1:47 p.m.

What a completely insane idea! That whole area is horrible when it comes to traffic. I swear all the roads in A2 where designed by blind people. Look at the nightmare at ArborLand. I live in Dexter and it would be awesome to have a Target closer but it would have to be designed properly and no apartment complex behind it...


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 1:32 p.m.

I hope Lawton can handle all the extra kids.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

Hadn't thought of that yet. It can't. Perhaps Dicken can.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 12:26 p.m.

Not a bad idea, but the roads are already a nightmare sometimes. They would need to address the problem of the two lane overpass by the Ice Cube, traffic already backs up there and I would imagine these 2 car garage units would bring an increasw of traffic to the area.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 2:25 p.m.

Not only roads there need help. Drainage plan for those wetlands should be interesting.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 11:55 a.m.

Well who in tarnation put the "Target Center" up on Ann Arbor Saline Road? Okay, don't panic. If we quickly move the cener of the target out to Dexter then maybe the developers will take aim out there.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 4:31 p.m.

Really bad idea...we don't want no stink'n Target. Maybe Scio would?