Alex de Parry offers rebuttal to claims he miscalculated square footage for Heritage Row
Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com
City Council Member Carsten Hohnke, D-5th Ward, said last week he talked to Jeff Helminski, the new developer of the site, and learned that Heritage Row, as initially put together by de Parry, never was economically viable because de Parry underrepresented about 14,000 square feet of construction costs — a $1.3 million hit to the project.
Helminski hasn't returned phone calls from AnnArbor.com, but de Parry has responded and argues the claim that 14,000 square feet was missed is untrue.
Here's the full text of de Parry's rebuttal letter:
First, proformas were created for each variation of Heritage Row that evolved during this long process. The final plan that was before council in June 2010 was analyzed by the development team which included most of the members of the group that bought out my interest in the site. They were partners in the project since 2007. In other words, the partners, including Jeff Helminski, have been working with the same proformas and calculations that I worked with.
Square footage calculations were very precise and no one would have missed 14,000 square feet of construction costs.
For the new buildings, square footage calculations were based on the drawings which all members of the development team worked on and which were used for estimating construction costs. My former partners even have their own in-house architect who worked on the new building plans. Suppliers and contractors all looked at the plans and we had hard numbers on which to base our cost estimates.
In round numbers, total gross square footage for the new buildings is 48,194 +/- and FAR (Floor Area Ratio which is habitable square footage, i.e. apartment square footage minus hallways, utility closets, etc.) square footage is 44,588 square feet. One need only refer to page 4 of the last revised plan set submitted to the city in May 2010 to confirm these numbers. The plan submittal set had a total of 48,152 gross square feet and a total of 44,738 FAR square feet. The last version that eliminated one floor off of the South Building reduced the gross square footage by 3,432 sq ft. Everyone was looking at the same numbers and plans.
For the existing buildings, square footage calculations were based on actual field measurements and mortgage survey measurements. In round numbers, the Fifth Avenue buildings had 29,292 gross square feet and 24,412 FAR square feet. Again, one need only refer to page 4 of the plan set submitted to the city to confirm square foot calculations for each building.
My proposal called for remodeling six of the existing houses and completely rebuilding the seventh house located at 437 S. Fifth Avenue. Remodeling costs included moving the houses as needed and replacing the existing foundations with new foundations. All mechanicals were to be replaced along with new kitchens and bathrooms. Common area elements were a separate line item cost. The remodeled houses would have, to a great extent, kept existing apartment floor plans.
Throughout this process, all team members were aware of the square footage numbers for each variation of Heritage Row that evolved. We all worked from the same spread sheets and plan sets.
The proposed plan presented by my former partners left open the option of rebuilding all houses. In this case, gross square footage numbers (i.e. outside building dimensions) and a cost per square foot for new construction could be used and could be different than the cost of remodeling the existing houses that we had all anticipated. This could potentially account for some difference in the cost of construction, but at the point at which this was proposed, I was no longer involved in the project.
Additionally, the proposal presented by the present development team included adding additional living space by connecting the Center and South buildings. This would account for additional square footage (and thus additional cost) but also results in additional apartment units in the new buildings and additional income — so there is additional income on the revenue side to offset additional construction costs on the expense side. But again, I was no longer involved at the point at which this was proposed.
I hope this clarifies any misconceptions regarding the square footage issue of Heritage Row and the numbers everyone had been working with. I had truly hoped that Heritage Row would be approved.
Alex de Parry
Ann Arbor Builders, Inc.
Fifth Avenue Communities
Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com's e-mail newsletters.