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 Tue, May 14, 2013 : 11:11 a.m.

19 new Old West Side-style homes coming to Ann Arbor's north side

By Ryan J. Stanton


A preliminary architectural drawing for the revised Hideaway Lane project shows elevations for one of the single-family homes.

Courtesy photo

In addition to 208 new apartments downtown, the Ann Arbor City Council approved another major development Monday night: 19 new homes on the city's north side.

The development known as Hideaway Lane is proposed for a site just down the road from the Leslie Park Golf Course and across from Black Pond Woods at 2000 Traver Road.


The site of the proposed development known as Hideaway Lane.

City of Ann Arbor

Situated on nearly 4.6 acres and bordered by Traver Creek and Traver Crossing apartments, it's the site of two unfinished housing projects.

In 1965, plans were approved to build six townhouse buildings with 49 units, but only one nine-unit building was constructed. In 2005, developers planned to construct 18 single-family homes and four duplex units in two buildings, but only one single-family home was built.

Auburn Hills-based Trowbridge Homes of Hideaway Lane LLC now plans to finish the work that was left undone.

Bruce Michael of Berkley-based Ojibway Development LLC told in a previous interview the development team is looking to start construction as soon as possible.

He said the homes probably will sell in the $300,000 to $350,000 range, and he's expecting University of Michigan medical system employees, for example, to be among those interested.

"In terms of the housing units, we see them being a reasonably affordable set of units compared to what it costs to live in the northeast side of Ann Arbor," he said. "It takes on kind of that traditional neighborhood design where you've got rear-loaded garages for each of the homes, and it has that close feel like you would have in the Old West Side."

Michael said the plan essentially is to build the houses that never got built, with some slight modifications. He said they're narrow houses.

"It's a craftsman-style look," he said. "And the one house that's there, we kind of took some of our lead from that. We've taken that same concept again, but we've got the covered front porches, evoking the way it was back when the Old West Side was developed."

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.


Lemmy Caution

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 4:05 p.m.

Too bad the lots are so small. One of the best things about North Side living, compared to Old West Side (and much of Burns Park, for that matter) is that many (most?) of the lots are BIG (I mean for worker's homes built in 1910s-1960s, not McMansion-style big). On the North Side, many old houses (still under 2000 sq ft) are set back from the street with backyards and (often) detached garages. Great for letting kids play in the big back yard while still rocking a sizable garden and keeping a smaller carbon footprint. I, for one, love the charm of detached garages!


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 2 p.m.

I am excited! As long as they stay historical and not slap on contemporary colors and what not. I live in a 1910 house on the west side and love it:)


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 12:28 p.m.

They're "Old West Side" style? Yeah - that's the ticket.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 4:54 a.m.

Oh MY Gosh. You think that $300,000 to &350,000 si considered" reasonably affordable housing"!! I don't think so!! Do you think that University of Michigan employees are really that well off. I suggest that some one is in a dream world!!


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 5:22 p.m.

I believe they're thinking of doctors working at U of M Hospitals.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 3:42 p.m.

Huh... that sounds familiar, yet I got voted down for saying it! I agree completey alnan, it's incredibly hard to find a home in Ann Arbor that a staff member with a family and a modest salary can afford. Trust me, I've been looking! I'm not incredibly picky but finding something above 600 square feet but below $200,000 is like looking for a needle in a haystack in this town. Sure, I'm happy for all of you who have homes that appreciate in value, I just want to join your ranks and be a model citizen! I imagine I'm not the only one (in fact I guarantee you I'm not)... so if there's going to be development it would be nice if someone tried to capture this market at some point. We pay taxes... set down roots, but we're being aced out of the market.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 2:11 p.m.

I have to agree. The hospital residents make a very modest salary during their training years and I doubt they are into home ownership after working 36 hours straight. Most want a place to sleep and eat. Home in that price range are for established workers with high incomes. Not sure many of them will want to live in such a dense area that is not "downtown" or walkable. If the houses were in more like $200,000, then maybe they might attract a few workers from UM or the hospital making modest salaries. What developers don't realize is that 80% of UM employees live outside the city due to unaffordable housing costs. The 20% left are at the very high end or very low end, neither of which would buy a $300-350,000 house.

Richard Carter

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 2:25 a.m.

I think covered front porches are an underrated feature that brings neighbors closer together. I rented on the Old West Side a decade or so ago and when many tend to sit out front rather than behind privacy fences in their back yard, more neighbors get to know each other.

Ann English

Sat, May 18, 2013 : 11:56 p.m.

All right! I'm glad to read that sitting on front porches is not just for Ypsilantians!


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 5:21 p.m.

Yep, there's nothing like porch-sitting to bring neighbors closer. Love porch-sitting!

Scott Reed

Tue, May 14, 2013 : 9:49 p.m.

I wonder if this will allow mixed-use development. Will this just be a homogeneous block of houses, or will there be offices, restaurants, businesses mixed in? If it's not mixed-use, it doesn't seem very interesting.


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 11:57 p.m.

Do you know where this is? It sits on the end of an unimproved road, backed up to a nature area and the train tracks, and only blocks from Plymouth Road and the Lowertown area of Broadway. Mixed use is not appropriate for this small housing development that is barely served by a street. Mixed-use is not some sort of planning ointment you can apply evenly across all new development. Give it a rest.


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 10:38 p.m.

Do you seriously wonder? No, looks like a housing development. Only "interesting" if you want to live in a house.


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 9:02 p.m.

Does the "Ojibway" in the developer's name indicate that the company is Native American owned?


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 8:22 p.m.

i would love to see 5 or 6 of these on North Main. You know, where the abandoned houses now sit when you come into lovely downtown Ann Arbor.


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 8:13 p.m.

The North Side is the new Old West Side :-)


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 7:18 p.m.

The article states that the plans were approved in 1965 and the first building was built in 2005. Why did it take 40 years for this to happen? Don't site approvals have an expiration date?


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 7:03 p.m.

Why bother with side windows at all? You will be looking into your neighbor's house. A lot of houses jammed in close together on this parcel at a high price. Why not build a student high rise instead?

Ann English

Tue, May 14, 2013 : 10:25 p.m.

You think everyone is going to move into those houses simultaneously, and have no relationships with any neighbors? Nobody getting to know his or her new neighbors and form relationships? Side windows facilitate learning that you have new neighbors, regardless of your age. Someone with small children could be motivated to meet people already living there if they see a child looking out a side window at them out of curiosity.


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 6:41 p.m.

What I see is a "updated"- "Old West Side" style in the drawings, far from what was the original style. Side windows are not regular. The original style uses more windows to get natural light and ventilation. The roof has lot of gables...

Ann English

Tue, May 14, 2013 : 10:12 p.m.

You got me thinking about a house I lived in where I could see the trains on that railroad track, not merely hear them. The only side windows that house had were two upstairs, on the east side. So the rising sun could be seen. I lived in Ward 1. These houses are going into Ward 1. A third story seems necessary for a narrow house.

Linda Peck

Tue, May 14, 2013 : 6:11 p.m.

These will be snapped up if the inside style is good and it probably will be.


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 5:43 p.m.

Will each house come with snotty, judgmental neighbors, for that authentic Old West Side feel?


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 8:34 p.m.

I moved to Ann Arbor a few years ago right out of college from a very depressed area in central Pennsylvania. I'm also very sensitive to people being snotty and judgmental. I bought a house in the Old West Side and your comment does not coincide AT ALL with my experience living in the OWS.


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 8:30 p.m.

@ Ryan...perhaps SMC meant to type "snooty"...more befitting....

Ryan J. Stanton

Tue, May 14, 2013 : 6:42 p.m.

Why do you think Old West Side residents are snotty and judgmental? I spend a lot of time over there and that's been the absolute opposite of my daily firsthand experience.


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 6:28 p.m.



Tue, May 14, 2013 : 5:19 p.m.

I cant afford this !


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 5:07 p.m.

And the award for most confusing headline goes to....Ryan Stanton!!! Just kidding, Ryan, but the headline IS very....omni-directional?


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 10:11 p.m.

I think what Ryan is saying is that north is the new old west. I can't disagree. At least not without a compass :)


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 8:46 p.m.

But does this mean that the new Old West Side is the North Side, or that the Old West Side will now be known as the Old North Side?


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 6:30 p.m.

The new old west side is coming to the north side :)


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 4:57 p.m.

As a proud luddite I can't wait. Life was so much better before attached garages.

Local Yocal

Tue, May 14, 2013 : 4:47 p.m.

What is a " rear loaded garage"? A garage set at the back of the property or a garage that has access from a alley...or a garage that is loaded into the rear of the actual house.?


Thu, May 16, 2013 : 2:05 p.m.

A house where the garage door isn't the main street-side architectural feature of the house.

Local Yocal

Tue, May 14, 2013 : 4:38 p.m.

"has that close feel like you would have in the Old West Side." yup, lets squeeze as many in as is possible for the acreage we've got to work with.


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 4:27 p.m.

The West Side of A2 has so many awesome looking houses, I like that style for sure. Perhaps all of the complainers about high rise apartments being built will have a new option soon.


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 4:13 p.m.

Very cool. Now, just rezone the neighboring parcel to allow a shadow-casting student-occupied midrise, and it will have the soon-to-be charm of the Old Fourth Ward HD. . .


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 3:51 p.m.

Only $350k to live right next to a railroad track? Sign me up! Not really, I'd need to double my income to even consider it, and I'd still look for a cheaper house not right next to railroad tracks. Drop it down to $150k and maybe. But at $300-350k you'd have to be out of your mind! I'm too cheap to live in Ann Arbor, lol!


Thu, May 16, 2013 : 2:03 p.m.

I love the rumble of a train. These are not high-speed subway sounds.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 4:19 p.m.

@Heidi: We live just past the golf course about a mile away from this development. I still remember the first night we slept there. I must of jumped straight out of bed when I heard the train whistle for the first time!

Heidi Koester

Tue, May 14, 2013 : 8:16 p.m.

It is true that that track gets regular use, usually in the pre-dawn hours. Can hear the trains clearly in our neighborhood a good mile away.


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 3:28 p.m.

The exterior looks nice, but will the interior feature the same kind of detailed trimwork found in older homes?