South State Street corridor study: Public input session to evaluate city's 'critical gateway'
What’s the potential for future development and land use on the 2.15-mile stretch of State Street from Stimson south to Ellsworth Road?
That’s the question at the center of the City of Ann Arbor’s first major planning study of the South State Street corridor in 22 years.
AnnArbor.com file photo
The study, launched last year, will identify ways to preserve existing land uses and ensure future uses are compatible and complementary. The study’s director, Kristin Baja, said the end result likely would be a new chapter added to the city’s master plan.
As part of the study, the city is hosting its second public input session from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Sheraton Hotel at 3200 Boardwalk Drive.
Baja said this session will focus on land use, transportation and aesthetics of the corridor.
“(This meeting) we’re actually doing more of an open house format,” she said. “We’re going to have people going around to different maps and actually being able to outline what changes they’d like to see in some of the different areas.”
The planning process has included conversations and surveys with various “stakeholders” in the corridor. Among them: University of Michigan, which owns several properties along the corridor, Briarwood Mall, Research Park, Produce Station, McMullen Properties, and Hidden Valley Club apartments.
Andrew Gorsuch, general manager of The Produce Station, located at 1629 S. State St., participated in some of those conversations. He called South State Street a “critical gateway” to the city.
“A lot of people definitely come into town that way, and I think the presentation probably could be improved somewhat,” he said.
He said he has no “major long-term concerns” about the area, but said there are a few things he supports: making the street more walkable and bicycle friendly, and developing more mixed-use properties being among them.
“I was surveyed about mixed-use versus office-use, and I guess, as a retail person, mixed-use is attractive because there will be more people in the area.”
Baja said it’s this type of input from the public and stakeholders that will drive the plan’s recommendations.
“What we’re trying to do is take all the recommendations and feedback and draft our recommendations based on that feedback,” she said. “We’re continuing to try and gather community input and make sure we’re following along the path of what people want along this corridor.”
According to city documents, South State Street is Ann Arbor’s “primary office, research and light industrial corridor.” The area has about 900,000 square feet of office space and 580,000 square feet of industrial and light manufacturing space — more than any other area of Ann Arbor.
Commercial and residential uses also are present in the corridor, but constitute a smaller percentage of land use.
As the corridor study moves along, the city's planning staff plans to post all materials, reports, maps and plan drafts on a new city webpage at www.a2gov.org/southstate.
Anyone interested in providing feedback and unable to attend Wednesday's input session can contact Kristin Baja at SouthState@a2gov.org or 734-794-6000 ext. 42653.