Real estate beat: Ypsilanti Township land listed for sale after Planning Commission denies Billy's Bagels site plans
Two parcels of land along a busy Ypsilanti Township corridor are now for sale after plans for a drive-thru bagel shop at the site fell through.
Billy Salamey purchased the land with the intention of building Billy’s Bagels there, but the township’s Planning Commission unanimously opposed the project in October because of a proposed drive-thru window. Salamey said he doesn’t think he has a viable business without the window and opted not to open the shop. Instead he put the land on the market.
Tom Perkins | For AnnArbor.com
The parcels, 1845 Whittaker Road at Stony Creek, are being sold as one .925 acre site and broker Terrance Bixler of Farmington-based Thomas Duke Company listed it at $600,000. The parcels are zoned for local business and office service, and could accommodate 3,040 square feet of office or retail space.
Bixler said he already has received interest from a financial services group and a medical group. He called the spot one of the best pieces of commercial land for sale in Ypsilanti Township because of its location.
“There aren’t that many corners available around there,” Bixler said. “It’s near a rapidly redeveloping section of Ypsilanti, there’s great new development along Whittaker Road, and the combination of location, a hard corner and good quality development going on gives it a lot of potential.”
Bixler said there is an “outside chance” the township might allow a drive thru business like a bank to open, but he said township officials have made it “very, very clear they don’t want a fast food restaurant at that corner.”
Salamey said it wasn’t clear through the planning process that officials would prohibit a drive-thru window at his bagel shop, and he said he was caught by surprise when the Planning Commission didn’t approve the site plans. He said township officials originally told him the shop could include a drive thru window.
Township Planning Coordinator Joe Lawson disagreed and said Salamey was only told the township would explore the idea of including the window. Township attorneys also stated in October that a restaurant with a drive thru window is inconsistent with the master plan and would be illegal without rezoning.
Salamey - who also owns Budget, Stadium and Glen Ann Towing - said he already invested $300,000 in the properties. He purchased one parcel for $60,000 and entered into a land contract for $200,000 for the other parcel. He also spent money clearing the land, demolishing an abandoned mechanic shop that had been on the corner for over 10 years and moving through the pre-development planning process.
Salamey said he believes his business wouldn’t survive on that strip without a drive-thru to give him a competitive advantage. The township’s refusal to allow him to put in a business he estimated would have employed six people and contributed $10,000 to $12,000 in taxes annually was baffling, he said.
“In a tough economy like this, you think they would embrace somebody’s idea of opening something on that corner that bring jobs,” Salemy said.
Lawson said the township began developing its master plan in 2005 and adopted it in 2007. He underscored that, during the process, the public "favored businesses that were not auto-oriented" along that corridor.
Lawson said the Planning Commission's rejection of a proposal that included a drive-thru was about "planning and land use and adhering to a long-term vision."
"It would be a poor practice to approve a use that was inconsistent with the adopted master plan due to a relatively short-term and temporary issue, such as the current economic climate," Lawson said. "The township must stick by its goals and objectives and adhere to the master plan, which is a 20-year vision for the betterment of our entire community developed with careful deliberation, input and participation from our community."