What does the University of Michigan have planned for South Division Street post-Blimpy?
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Current Blimpy Burger owner Rich Magner said a deal between property owner Patricia Shafer, widow of Blimpy founder Jim Shafer, and the the University of Michigan will force him to close at that location in 2013.
With the corner building facing a sale, It is unclear whether pending deals also are in the works for the four other buildings on the block as well as two adjacent buildings on East Madison Street.
Two of the buildings on South Division Street are owned by David Copi and managed by Copi Properties. Copi's son, Sam Copi, said that at this point his father still owns the two buildings on South Division Street and has not entered into an agreement to sell to the university.
The four other buildings on the block, two on South Division and two on East Madison Street, are owned by South Division Street Properties LLC, a corporation registered to former University of Michigan athletics director William C. Martin. Those four properties are managed by Arch Realty.
The University of Michigan declined to comment on the situation, but spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said that acquisitions or sales always go to the Board of Regents for approval. The board's next scheduled meeting is December 13, and sources said they expect information on the deal to reach regents that day.
Magner said it's not the first time the university has bought property near Blimpy. About 10 years ago the university bought a block of houses on South Division Street in order to expand a parking structure to open on both Thompson and Division Streets. More recently, two houses at South Division and East Jefferson near the Institute for Social Research were purchased.
"The university sometimes has long-range plans, and if they get an opportunity to get some property that falls within their long-range plan, they have the wherewithal to do the deal," he said.
"That’s the way the university does things."
Magner said he had not talked to any of the rental property owners on the block.
Watch the video below to get a view of the area:
Ben Freed covers business for AnnArbor.com. You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Reach out to Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2