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Posted on Wed, Jan 12, 2011 : 5:50 p.m.

Vision for Ann Arbor's Georgetown Mall fits city's plan for commercial redevelopment

By Paula Gardner


A conceptual drawing shows what the owner of Georgetown Mall envisions for the property on Packard. Site plans are expected to be submitted to the Ann Arbor Planning Commission this month.

From The Harbor Companies LLC

Applause concluded a recent neighborhood meeting where the Georgetown Mall owner unveiled his concept for the vacant mall on 6.5 acres on Packard Road.

It may have been a surprise to some, given the concerns neighbors have raised since Kroger left the site and owner Craig Schubiner looked for a solution amid both a global financial crisis and one affecting his property, as the mortgage fell into complicated bankruptcy dispute and late tax debt accumulated.

But the reaction to the look of what could be coming to the property itself was positive: People seemed please to see the stores, the community space at the center, the location close to Packard and the vitality it could bring to the neighborhood.

The designs for what's now being called Packard Square were preliminary, according to the development team, which plans to submit more precise site plans by the end of this month.

They show what Schubiner says is viable for the property: Small retail spaces totaling 20,000 square feet and 230 apartments, mostly 1- and 2-bedrom units, along with 450 parking space.

They also offer a glimpse into how the city envisions urban redevelopment for coming years: Buildings that are closer to the road, taller than what they're replacing and more dense in terms of types of uses.

As more redevelopments are proposed in the city, these are the principles that will guide much of it. And the renderings, as presented for Georgetown, offer the city an early look at how developers will interpret it.



Sun, Jan 16, 2011 : 10:46 p.m.

@treetowncartel, The first Domino's was opened in Ypsilanti, not Ann Arbor. Sorry

Matt Whale

Sat, Jan 15, 2011 : 9:56 p.m.

Here is another statement on Bloomfield Park. One of the comments is by 'jabrunin' who said he worked on this project and he said, "this waste is unimaginable."

Gerald Black

Fri, Jan 14, 2011 : 11:20 a.m.

A review of the Paula Gardner links makes one realizes that this is a man ducking and diving and twisting and turning while trying to pull a rabbit out of his hat. Our efforts might be better utilized by pushing the city council to foreclose on his taxes. His 'conceptual drawing' was certainly not done by Elkus Manfred. It is more likely an architectural student's first rendering.

Matt Whale

Thu, Jan 13, 2011 : 11:32 a.m.

Yes, thanks for the link Ricki. Now I'm worried that's what's going to happen to this project.


Thu, Jan 13, 2011 : 11:10 a.m.

Ricki, thanks for posting this link. I think a lot of folks, here in A2, are still in denial that this could happen to us.

Lets Get Real

Thu, Jan 13, 2011 : 10:49 a.m.

Let's Get Real - this is a huge improvement over the vacant, eye sore we've got there now. This is my neighborhood. There is much to still be determined - the devil is in the details - but it is way better than I could have ever hoped. To the comments: johnnya2 - your snarky comments about Kroger, the dump - as you called it - although I didn't do all my shopping there, it was a convenient place to pick up last minute things without driving across town. I'm not a young spring chicken - I've lived in this neighborhood 35 years - but I'm also not a 90 year old crying. johnnya2, in weather like this waiting for the bus is not contributing to my health and a cab is out of the financial question. A local, clean, well run grocery would be wonderful and I love the suggestion that Produce Station locate there - or have an alternative location there - or any other similar small business. In the free market, what the neighborhood target market demands will dictate what survives there. What Kroger did before in this location does not predicate what can be.


Thu, Jan 13, 2011 : 10:24 a.m.

Craig Schubiner's failed project in Bloomfield, Mi.

Phil Dokas

Thu, Jan 13, 2011 : 10:02 a.m.

This looks like a good plan and it'd be nice to bring a good corner of business back to the neighborhood. I do worry about Craig Schubiner's track record though. I work a mile away from his 93 acre blight on Telegraph Road in Bloomfield Hills and it makes me very apprehensive. A corner of business would be great, but can he pull through and not leave us with a corner of a hollowed-out shell of a building?

Bob Bethune

Thu, Jan 13, 2011 : 8:40 a.m.

Is the current management competent to build and then run this project? Let's look at their current track record. They owned a viable, thriving retail center. They drove it into the ground. Why should we assume they will do better this time? They should sell to someone with a proven ability to do this project successfully. I don't want to see a mini-slum on this site in 10 years, and I can't imagine any of the neighborhood residence would like that much either.


Thu, Jan 13, 2011 : 8:08 a.m.

How about underground parking AND the Produce Station moves to the newly constructed George Town Mall. I bet that would make all of us happy!


Thu, Jan 13, 2011 : 8:07 a.m.

I just can't see it.... where is the parking for the retail area in front. Also the rendering shows it goes back a block behind Page at the least. It almost reminds me of a 1970's look to a plaza in Florence, Italy.


Thu, Jan 13, 2011 : 8:02 a.m.

Adding on to Brad's comment: why show an outdated conceptual drawing? I'd like like to see how the parking fits in, and how the whole project looks in context with the neighboring buildings and homes.


Thu, Jan 13, 2011 : 7:58 a.m.

The conceptual drawing is somewhat inaccurate/outdated. At the meeting they also showed the plans looking down, which made a lot more sense. There is a "U" shaped retail area (about 20,000 sq ft) in the front, which has a small number of parking spaces around the "U", and then some benches/greenery in the center. Then there is a roughly square building behind that containing the residential portion of the development. The bottom floor of that contains over 200 covered parking spaces. As far as it being "big", it will have about 20,000 sq ft of retail space versus the 60,000 sq ft in its current configuration. The developer envisions some number of smallish stores, possibly like a South Main Market or similar.


Thu, Jan 13, 2011 : 6:20 a.m.

Another good spot for the Produce Station to move to. They are in need of MUCH more space.


Thu, Jan 13, 2011 : 5:18 a.m.

I agree it's a really bad drawing to try to envision in that space. It looks more like a generic conceptual drawing they could turn in to any council re: anytown, USA. I'd like to see a "zoomed out" version showing how it would relate to neighboring houses, etc.

Matt Whale

Wed, Jan 12, 2011 : 10:41 p.m.

...due to the slope.

Matt Whale

Wed, Jan 12, 2011 : 10:40 p.m.

@treetowncartel That's a view from Packard. The Page side is going to be 4 stories and the Packard side is 3 stories.


Wed, Jan 12, 2011 : 10:18 p.m.

Is that view from Packard or Page? It is going to take an awful lot of fill dirt to get things that flat at raod level off of Packard. BTW, this is the site of Dominos first successful and money making store. I remember ordering Pizzas in Snowstorms trying to see if we could get the deal. 30 minutes or its free.Those drivers were hauling in their Chevettes.

Vivienne Armentrout

Wed, Jan 12, 2011 : 9:16 p.m.

Thanks for this followup. I wrote an endorsement of the project on my blog Thanks also to the people who made the point that Packard has more of the community farther to the east. But the bus service is excellent along that road. I'd like to point out that Kroger/South Industrial is not far away. (My own Kroger is nowhere near as close.) But a Packard Square fresh foods market is not out of the question, perhaps.

joe golder

Wed, Jan 12, 2011 : 9:01 p.m.

How will this affect other small businesses in the area? It looks briarwood mall big. It looks nice but all conceptual drawings do. They get people excited about the project. The final plans are always cut back.It will be nice for the folks living near. Having such a nice place to shop will make the neighborhood a more desirable place to live.

John Q

Wed, Jan 12, 2011 : 8:36 p.m.

How about an article on Craig Schubiner's track record in real estate?


Wed, Jan 12, 2011 : 7:57 p.m.

Sounds good, but that conceptual drawing is just fantasy did the person even visit the site, how about a view of the 450 parking spaces?

Joan Doughty

Wed, Jan 12, 2011 : 7:56 p.m.

Yes, I could not agree more. That area NEEDS some kind of grocery store. A grocery store that carries fresh produce at reasonable prices. It is walking distance from Hikone, a public housing site, where many have no or unreliable transporation. Not much further away is the Bryant community, where there are many elderly residents. Whether you're nice or not so nice should not determine your access to reasonably priced, healthy fresh food.


Wed, Jan 12, 2011 : 7:46 p.m.

I'm sure not 90..however I do appreciate being able to walk to a store near by... as Donald Wilson said "It doesn't need to be a MAJOR grocery"..I completely agree...Buschs have smaller versions of their Main Street store


Wed, Jan 12, 2011 : 7:22 p.m.

Hey, I didn't say that the Kroger there was any good. It was in disrepair and seriously in need of renovations. I'm just saying that economic recovery involves people spending less money to begin with, and we shouldn't NEED to drive in A2/Ypsi.


Wed, Jan 12, 2011 : 6:57 p.m.

Mr Wilson, You are free to negotiate a lease and open your very own grocery any time you wish. I love how people want to tell OTHERS what they should do. The Kroger in Georgetown was a DUMP. I avoided it at all costs. I would rather drive all the way to Carpenter or even to the second worst Kroger in the area on South Industrial than deal with that pit. And before all the 90 year olds start crying about a neighborhood store, I have two suggestions. Cabs or bus. Or maybe be nicer to people and they will help get you to and from a store.


Wed, Jan 12, 2011 : 6:22 p.m.

How about "Fabulous. Build it now, and make sure a grocery opens up in one of the spaces." It doesn't need a MAJOR grocery, it needs A GROCERY. We need to stop letting people think that grocery stores need to be huge.