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Posted on Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 10:56 a.m.

AATA will buy 6-foot strip of land from city of Ann Arbor for $90K

By Ryan J. Stanton

The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority's governing board on Thursday approved the purchase of a small strip of land downtown from the city of Ann Arbor.

The parcel measures 6 feet by 132 feet and is part of the former YMCA site at the corner of William Street and Five Avenue, which is now a surface parking lot.


Michael Ford

The land is immediately adjacent to the Blake Transit Center, which the AATA hopes to demolish and rebuild later this year, and would straighten out the southern property line.

"For us to move forward with the Blake Transit Center, we need this piece," AATA CEO Michael Ford told board members at Thursday's meeting.

The city hired the real estate appraisal firm Alcock & Williams LLC, which determined the market value of the property is about $90,000.

The AATA's governing board voted to purchase the land for $90,000 plus closing costs. Board member Eli Cooper, who works for the city, abstained.

The Ann Arbor City Council already approved the deal to sell the small portion of city-owned property at 350 S. Fifth Ave. to the AATA last September.

Ford said recently he hopes to break ground on the Blake Transit Center project in August. The AATA is working to submit plans to the city for site plan approval this month.

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.


Steve Pierce

Mon, Apr 30, 2012 : 3:29 a.m.

I wonder if AATA would like to by Water Street in Ypsi. At that price per acre, we could almost pay back all the money the city borrowed on this land speculation deal.


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 3:05 p.m.

Why are any of us arguing about this worthless (exceptt to AATA) strip of land... More importantly, why is this even being reported in ann arbor dot com?? Can someone please do something in town to create some real news?? It's been a slow couple of weeks, what with the students studying for finals and not robbing each other and no major explosions or collapses at any of the current construction projects...


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 1:05 p.m.

At least they waited for real estate bubble to burst. Imagine what they would've paid a few years ago.


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 12:40 a.m.

Can we get the title of the article changed please? It makes it sound like they are paying $90K for 6feet of land.


Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 8:34 p.m.

Well here's my question. Given that they plan on re-building the Blake Transit Center (BTC), would it make sense to shift the entire BTC southward, so it has access to three streets (William, 4th, and 5th) rather than to just two (4th and 5th)?


Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 7:50 p.m.

Our tax dollars, well spent.


Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 7:32 p.m.

Wow...they can buy my 6ft strip of land infront of my house...its yours for $89,000


Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 6:44 p.m.

Something smells rotten here. It is my understanding that AATA is funded by its own millage. If that is the case they are proposing to provide 90K to the city for a piece of land that has no possible use for anything but bike racks. Pricing the sq. ft. based on a 6 story building is a joke there can be no independent structure on the land. This may be common for appraisers to do but it is a shameful piece of chicanery.

Kk Ichikawa

Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 6:04 p.m.

If the AATA receives any money from the City, which I'm sure they do in some form of subsidy, this is just a shell game to legitimately transfer money from the AATA bucket back to the City bucket. The City can't just ask for money from the AATA but they CAN orchestrate a "sale" of property (rather than just quit claiming the property to the AATA) to show the transfer on paper.


Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 5:23 p.m.

Thank Goodness AATA has money. I still cannot figure out how they can stay in business when their buses run empty most of the time? Oh that's right, they get the money from tax payers!


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 2:05 p.m.

The last time I rode the bus, I think most of the passengers had a bad case of soap-and-water allergies.


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 3:02 p.m.

Don't know what you are talking about -- the bus route on my street runs full all day long, and packed in the mornings and afternoons....


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 1:43 a.m.

I wish my bus was empty! Usually I'm crammed in with someone who has a bad case of sniffles.


Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 7:32 p.m.

XMO: What buses are you referring to? The ones I ride are usually standing room only. Of course I'll admit, I only use the bus between the hours of 8-10:30am or 5-9pm, Monday through Friday. These are mostly peak hours. When do you ride?

Rita Mitchell

Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 4:58 p.m.

Based on the appraisal information obtained from the city by FOIA, the six-foot strip of land is valued at 600% FAR (Floor Area Ratio), meaning the land is valued as if a 6 - floor building were to be placed on it. "The potential building area for the subject is 600% of the site area ... (792+ square foot site x 6.0 [600% FAR assumption] = 4,752 square feet). It is our opinion that the market value of the subject site is $18.70 per square foot of potential building area ... 4,752 x $18.70 - $90,000 (rounded)" The planned new station is for two floors. Will AATA be selling air rights once the new station is in place?


Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 4:22 p.m.

That is not even a tenth of an acre. Is my math correct that it comes to about 5Million an acre? Then again - the AATA needed so they would pay what they would for it, market system in action.


Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 4:10 p.m.

Fifth is blocked by construction. Fourth is blocked by buses & pedestrians using it as a bus transit center. Adding a strip six feet wide won't eliminate any congetsion and neither will a new transit center is the same old spot. What's needed is AATA should buy the adjacent lot, the old YMCA, so it has room for its buses to board passengers safely.


Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 3:42 p.m.

Will any of the existing surface lot parking spaces be lost as a result?


Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 4:25 p.m.

It may require re-striping, but will not really make the need to remove (long term),-83.74647&spn=0.001155,0.002411&client=safari&oe=UTF-8&hnear=Ann+Arbor,+Washtenaw,+Michigan&gl=us&t=h&z=19

Ricardo Queso

Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 3:26 p.m.

That's only 13.67 cents to each of the property owners in the county.

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 4:20 p.m.

waterrat, I can't speak for Ricardo Queso but I don't overly object to my share of taxes that go to the AATA even though I never use it. I'm just pointing out that tax payers basically subsidize both side's of the transaction. For you to assume that fact is inherently "anti public transportation" is utterly groundless. In the spirit of groundless assumptions should i assume you don't pay property taxes?


Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 4:08 p.m.

So what? The property was assessed and the valuation wasn't challenged. Those of you griping about taxes used to finance a public transit agency need to look at other good cities and notice how most of them value public transportation.

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 4:02 p.m.

does that take in to account that AATA probably used mostly our money to buy it?