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Posted on Tue, May 3, 2011 : 5:59 a.m.

Ann Arbor City Council gives OK to $48.2 million redevelopment of blighted Georgetown Mall property

By Ryan J. Stanton


A look at the Packard Square project that was approved by the Ann Arbor City Council Monday night. The developer hopes to break ground later this year.

From The Harbor Companies LLC

The Ann Arbor City Council voted unanimously Monday night to approve a site plan for Packard Square, a $48.2 million redevelopment of the blighted Georgetown Mall property.

Bloomfield Hills-based developer Craig Schubiner of Harbor Georgetown LLC, who was in the audience but did not speak, plans to move forward with constructing a four-story, mixed-use building containing 230 apartment units and 23,790 square feet of retail space.

The project was approved with little discussion from council other than brief remarks by Margie Teall and Marcia Higgins, both 4th Ward Democrats, who said they're glad to see it going forward and happy that the developer listened to input from residents.

The project, located at 2502-2568 Packard Road, involves demolishing three existing buildings on site, as well as some environmental cleanup. It will include a 144-space parking garage underneath the apartment building, as well as 310 surface parking spaces.

Schubiner has said he hopes to break ground on the project in August and have it completed by the end of 2012 or early 2013.

The Georgetown Mall site has been vacant since Kroger closed its grocery store there in fall 2009, leaving neighbors and both city and county officials concerned about the condition of the property. Regular meetings have been held to discuss the site's future ever since.

During a public hearing on the project Monday night, only a few people spoke, including two residents who live near the project.

"Even though the impending Packard Square project may not be perfect, we all hope that it will be a beneficial one to our neighborhood and quality of life," said Mary Krasan, a Georgetown Neighborhood Association spokeswoman.

"To that end, we as a neighborhood and a community will remain watchful to ensure that the developers live up to their contractual agreements," she said.

Krasan said her neighborhood has been lucky that it is looking at a resolution to its blight issue when there are many others around town that remain with no certain end in sight.

"I hope these issues have made clear the fact that our residents and neighborhoods need stronger protections against the corrosive effects of blight, not only on housing value but more importantly on neighborhood morale," she said.

Under a separate resolution Monday night, council members approved a brownfield plan for the Packard Square project that includes tax-increment financing assistance for the developer.

A brownfield property is one in which site conditions present an obstacle to redevelopment. In Michigan, that can include properties that are environmentally contaminated, blighted or functionally obsolete, and the developer of Packard Square claims all three conditions exist.

About $5.8 million in taxes is expected to be captured over a 14-year period as part of the brownfield plan. Of the total eligible brownfield activities, $3.6 million would be directly reimbursable to the developer, plus another $717,236 in interest.

Through tax-increment financing, no existing taxes are abated. However, the incremental increases in tax revenues that result from improvements to a property are channeled back to the developer to help cover costs and provide an incentive for development.

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 e-mail newsletters.



Tue, May 3, 2011 : 6:02 p.m.

Is Equinox the name of the apartment complex or the fitness center....I really hope the fitness center comes to Ann Arbor!


Tue, May 3, 2011 : 5:47 p.m.

Good move. What does functionally obsolete refer to in re to brownfield and how is this property such?


Tue, May 3, 2011 : 4:09 p.m.

And of the 5.8 million dollars in taxes captured over 14 years, over 3 million is being diverted from school funds. Just so we're clear about where most of our money is actually going.

man utd

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 1:21 a.m.

Sure, 3 million in taxes could be diverted from school funds ... because having a vacant lot with abandoned buildings will somehow generate loads of taxes for the school.


Tue, May 3, 2011 : 8:05 p.m.

What this does is actually leave the taxable value where it is WITHOUT any redevelopment. In essence the city is not losing revenue because without redevelopment the property value would stay where it is or go lower than it is today. They are saying, we will not raise the value for X number of years to encourage development. This hopefully brings higher values to other properties around it.


Tue, May 3, 2011 : 3:59 p.m.

Can we do something to help Arborland Mall before it is too late?

Madeleine Borthwick

Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 5:15 p.m.

jt, I agree. can we also bring the AATA buses back into Arborland and stop all this neo-yuppie nonsense?

Georgetown Dad

Tue, May 3, 2011 : 2:43 p.m.

This is great news! (Also, I believe you are showing an obsolete artist's rendition of the project. I went to the planning meeting and I know that it looks somewhat different now.)

Ashok Gopalakrishnan

Tue, May 3, 2011 : 1:33 p.m.

Well, I sure hope it works out, and the developer comes through. But, let us not forget that Harbor Georgetown LLC is not just the developer, they also own the Georgetown Mall property and have done so for the past 10 years. During this time, they barely kept up maintenance on the property, all the while hemorrhaging tenants one after the other. They also owe a bunch of money in property taxes to the city. I hope the city has put in a clause or for making sure the company pays what they owe. Let us also not forget that Harbor LLC put forth a redevelopment plan for Georgetown Mall in 2007, which was approved by A2 city council in September 2007. No satisfactory answers are available as to why Harbor did not do anything after approval was received. By agreeing to tax-increment financing and brownfield credits, the city has shown its willingness to work with developers, and on its own that is a good thing. However, the track record of the developer/owner to whom they have agreed to provide all these credits does not inspire any confidence in me. And this also seems to set a precedent - a commercial property owner could simply let the property go to seed, default on taxes, and after the property has sat for a while, come back to city council with a redevelopment plan for said property and ask for all kinds of credits for the redevelopment. Say what??

Ashok Gopalakrishnan

Tue, May 3, 2011 : 4:46 p.m.

My apologies, I should have said: "The developer goes on to say that Kroger since changed their mind about wanting to leave, and this seemingly put the redevelopment plan on hold." and not "The developer goes on to say that Kroger since changed their mind about wanting to stay, and this seemingly put the redevelopment plan on hold."

Ashok Gopalakrishnan

Tue, May 3, 2011 : 4:18 p.m.

@ sillytree: In my opinion, there is some confusion on that matter. I base my opinion on two sources: - File number 07-0192, a record of the A2 city council meeting granting approval, where the developer states that they hope to have a drug/grocery store as anchor, but the leasing process had not yet begun. - This article at mlive, <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> which states (according to what seems to be a statement by the developer) that the plan approved by city council (the 2007 plan) does not have room for Kroger. The developer goes on to say that Kroger since changed their mind about wanting to stay, and this seemingly put the redevelopment plan on hold. I find that a little hard to believe. If the developer had the approval, and the funding to start work, and also knew that there was no space for Kroger in the plan approved by city council, then what was the problem? Sure, Kroger changed their mind about first wanting to leave, and then wanting to stay, but to put an approved and presumably funded plan on hold seems strange to me. Perhaps if the work had begun, the developer could have forced Kroger's hand. In any case, a detailed explanation would be helpful.


Tue, May 3, 2011 : 2:58 p.m.

If the 2007 plan is the one I remember, it was based on maintaining Kroger as an anchor and Kroger was not interested.


Tue, May 3, 2011 : 12:33 p.m.

Must have caught the council sound asleep or busy texting each other. Finally a vote that makes sense. Now about that water feature at City Hall ......

Wolf's Bane

Tue, May 3, 2011 : 11:40 a.m.

Congratulations to the Ann Arbor City Council and Bloomfield Hills-based developer Craig Schubiner of Harbor Georgetown LLC, on constructing a four-story, mixed-use building containing 230 apartment units and 23,790 square feet of retail space on the site of the blighted Georgetown Mall. This is real progress for Ann Arbor! I am sure residence will also be very excited to have local shopping opportunities available again. Win-win.

Vivienne Armentrout

Tue, May 3, 2011 : 10:33 a.m.

So Gov. Rick Snyder has proposed an end to brownfield tax credits. Is that only the state (MEGA) tax credits? and does that affect projects approved this year?