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 Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 5:58 a.m.

Plan calls for former Blockbuster on Plymouth Road to be split into several retail spaces

By Lizzy Alfs


What was once the side of a Blockbuster in the Traver Village shopping center could become three or four storefronts with 25 new parking spaces and a driveway.

Lizzy Alfs |

A site plan has been submitted to the Ann Arbor Planning Commission to separate the former Blockbuster space in the Traver Village shopping center on Ann Arbor's north side and to relocate the site’s frontage to face Plymouth Road.

It would give three or four new retailers storefronts directly off Plymouth, said Chris Grant, vice president of First Martin Corp., the Traver Village landlord.

The plan also calls to construct a new 25-space parking lot and driveway in front of the retail building, remove about 14,000 square feet of parking and driveway near Huron Parkway to restore to lawn area, and add covered bicycle parking throughout the center.


A 6,960-square-foot space in Traver Village has been vacant since Blockbuster closed earlier this year.

Lizzy Alfs |

The total number of parking spaces in the shopping center would be reduced from 620 to 517 spaces. The current parking standards only require 420 to 492 spaces in the center.

The extra parking spots were intended for Kroger employees - the anchor tenant in the shopping center - but they are not being used, according to city documents.

The Blockbuster in Traver Village occupied the south endcap of the shopping center. Other tenants include Pet Supplies Plus, FedEx, Tree Town Toys and Rider’s Hobby Shop.

The Blockbuster closed this spring following the chain’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.

Grant said it’s been difficult to find a new tenant for the 6,960-square-foot space.

“We had very limited interest in all of the space,” he said.

“But we’ve had a tremendous amount of interest for smaller spaces,” he continued.

He said if the site plan receives approval, the plan is to have space for three or four small retailers to face Plymouth Road. He said no new leases have been signed yet.

“We’re just trying to keep a mix of neighborhood shopping center type retailers,” he said. “We’re not really interested in doing the restaurant type operation. We’ve had more than a dozen restaurant inquiries.”

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



Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 1:22 p.m.

What makes Plymouth Road one of the more pleasant entrances to the city of Ann Arbor is the landscaped green space along the corridor, shielding us from pavement and brick. No one seems to be concerned that this is to be replaced with a driveway and parking. They are going to replace the grass and trees in the rear of the shopping center. It's just not the same. I, for one, do not want to see Plymouth Road look like Stadium Road. Please keep the grass and trees.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 1:23 a.m.

I agree about the need of a family restaurant. However, please do not eliminate so many parking spaces. Not everyone rides a bike, particularly in the winter. There have been times when I have had trouble finding a parking space in that area, especially as I try to park towards Krogers. Maybe the employees are parking closer to Krogers and could move closer to Plymouth Road so customers can park.

David Cahill

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 7:03 p.m.

One minor mistake: Blockbuster occupied the *south* endcap.

Lizzy Alfs

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 7:09 p.m.

Thanks for catching that, @David Cahill. I corrected the mistake.

Simon Green

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 4:23 p.m.

The tenants will probably be Starbucks, CVS, and Starbucks


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 7:12 p.m.

CVS is currently just down the road, and Starbucks is in Kroger, so I think it would more likely be just one more Starbucks (so both ends of the plaza are covered)...

Hans Masing

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 5:37 p.m.

with a Starbucks in the CVS! There is actually a really good local coffee shop already in the plaza - Espresso Royale.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 3:17 p.m.

There hasn't been a decent resturant on the north side since Forbidden City closed down. Now that was goooooood eatin'. (Actually, Evergreen has better food, it just can't match that funky atmosphere of Forbidden City though.)


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 3:12 p.m.

I'd love to see a Great Harvest bread store on this side of town. Agree that a sit-down restaurant would do well there -- I'm always hoping for a good Italian place for the family.

Hans Masing

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 5:25 p.m.

The concept of a Great Harvest would be good, however the reality is that it would be very hard to be profitable. According to the Great Harvest franchise site, the average Great Harvest franchise earned approximately $600,000 in revenue. After expenses, taxes, employee payroll, rent, etc, the owner would be VERY lucky to profit $30,000 from that - the owners pay. Add to that the fact that there is tremendous capital expense for the ovens, the permitting, the signage, etc, and I would be reluctant to consider it as a local businessperson.

Tex Treeder

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 4:04 p.m.

Great Harvest would be good. But a restaurant would be better. I think there's room for both.

Tex Treeder

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 2:16 p.m.

I'm glad to see a viable plan for the former Blockbusters. All the changes (more greenery, smaller retail spaces, bicycle parking) seem like improvements to me. I agree, I'd like to see a replacement for Flim Flam. But wouldn't the ideal place for that be in FF's old space? It's already zoned/built for a restaurant, and even though it needs extensive renovation, it gives the mall on the east side of Nixon a fighting chance as well. Who's to say you couldn't have a family restaurant in the old Flim Flam and a different restaurant or cafe or whatever in the subdivided Blockbuster space?


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 12:55 p.m.

It's possible that the landlord isn't "interested" in a restaurant tenant because the terms of their lease agreement(s) with their existing restaurant tenants restrict the total number of restaurants and/or the type of restaurants that will be allowed in the shopping center.

Tom Teague

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 4:17 p.m.

Good points, Eep.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 12:36 p.m.

A family restaurant would be a great additon. Now that Flim Flam is closing there is a lack of good, consistant, casual family dining on the northside....remember The Red Bull? Sorely missed.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 3:10 p.m.

I loved the Red Bull too, annarbortownie, although it wasn't really on the north side of town. Our family used to go there for all of our graduations, anniversaries, etc.. Good food, nice atmosphere, and reasonable prices.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 1:26 p.m.

The Red Bull? How long ago were you in that building? The completely let that building go down hill for many years. They milked every dime until they closed it without doing any sort of updates. I think Yotsuba is a vast improvement over Red Bull


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 12:34 p.m.

that's unfortunate...this end of Plymouth Rd has a shortage of quality restaurants. there are counter service type spots and a couple sushi places, but something with a little more vibe for evening meals would do well. Not too sure about people wanting"small retail stores". Many times I've wanted a nicer dining experience on this stretch of Plymouth....and really thought this end location would have been a great spot for it.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 11:19 a.m.

Interesting that they are not interestedin restaurant tenants, while the other side where Flim Flam was claims that restaurants in the area are doing great business. Me thinks Flim Flam Realtor doing sell job...