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Posted on Thu, Sep 5, 2013 : 5:56 a.m.

Ann Arbor DDA gives $300K for upgrades to County Annex building

By Ryan J. Stanton

With mental health treatment services moving to the Annex building at 110 N. Fourth Ave. in downtown Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County officials have a $1 million upgrade planned.

To help the county with the renovation costs, the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority's governing board on Wednesday agreed to contribute $300,000 in grant funding.

"The challenge that they've been struggling with for a period of time is that the building was never configured for use as an office building," said DDA Director Susan Pollay. "So they've been working at developing a plan over the last many months to retrofit the interior."


The County Annex at 110 N. Fourth Ave. in downtown Ann Arbor.

Ryan J. Stanton |

The county has plans to make significant modifications, including a new lobby and a client interaction space that will enable clients to wait indoors for appointments and maneuver within the facility for multiple support options, rather than waiting outside on the steps to the building.

County officials announced this year they were planning to move Community Support and Treatment Services to more urban locations in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti to gain better access to their client populations. That included moving teams of case managers, nurses, prescription administrators, therapists, psychologists and medical students out of a county-owned building on Ellsworth Road in Pittsfield Township to the Annex building in downtown Ann Arbor.

The plan also included moving a number of CSTS employees to the county's Human Services building at 555 Towner St. in Ypsilanti.

Pollay noted CSTS provides a variety of services to clients with mental illness, developmental disabilities and substance abuse problems.

Mayor John Hieftje said having those services in the Annex fits with the goal of providing affordable housing near downtown for tenants who might use those kinds of services.

"I think this is important because that piece of Fourth Avenue is one of the major links between Main Street and Kerrytown — it has a lot of pedestrian traffic," said DDA board member John Mouat, whose architecture firm's office is located on Fourth Avenue.

Greg Dill, the county's infrastructure manager, couldn't be reached for comment.

The DDA reported on Wednesday that the downtown parking system took in more than $19 million in parking revenues during the fiscal year that ended June 30.

That's up from about $17 million the year before. Nearly $1.1 million of the increase came from the new underground Library Lane parking garage.

Art Fair parking revenues were down in July, dropping from $302,110 to $285,420 from 2012 to 2013, according to a new report.

The DDA's tax-increment financing — or TIF — fund showed $3.77 million in revenue for the last fiscal year, which was $125,435 short of what was projected. The DDA spent $5.5 million from its TIF fund for the year, leaving a $1.7 million deficit for the year.

The year-end TIF balance sheet still shows nearly $11.2 million in assets, while the housing fund shows $697,423, the parking fund shows nearly $6 million, and a separate parking maintenance fund shows nearly $1.2 million.

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.



Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 8:27 a.m.

Grant money? Isn't this our money? Why aren't these funds returned to the AA tax payers general fund as revenue from city owned structures? The DDA should not have the power to give our money away like this. Go figure!


Thu, Sep 5, 2013 : 3:53 p.m.

Not the purpose of the DDA to help run other government entities. Its to help attract business and beautify the downtown area. But logic matters less in A2.


Thu, Sep 5, 2013 : 2:07 p.m.

How generous of our unelected downtown government!

The Eyes of Justice Team

Thu, Sep 5, 2013 : 1:46 p.m.

No flying fish sculptures? No Waterfalls? No fancy artist? The mayor must be loosing his mind....


Thu, Sep 5, 2013 : 12:21 p.m.

Could someone explain the wisdom of rehabbing this ancient structure when the county has a Huge Empty (except for some Drain Comm employees) office bldg on Zeeb Road next door to the Road Comm? Send a reporter to enter the Zeeb Bldg and take photos of the Empty Space. There is a big parking lot at Zeeb vs tight parking downtown. What? You want walk-in substance abuse "clients?" Taxpayers fund AAATA that has big busses that can bus the "clients" to Zeeb. Why make downtown a magnet for the unfortunate to the extent that taxpayers don't want to go there? This decision is ill-conceived and was not exposed to the cleansing power of public discourse. Politicians give lip service to the buzzword "Transparency." Sell the old YMCA Bldg to a condo developer to rehab. Increase the property tax base. Dedicate the proceeds to the Pension Fund. Act Smart!


Thu, Sep 5, 2013 : 2:50 p.m.

Yes. Please, let's keep our unfortunate out of sight. Isn't that what I'm paying taxes for? /sarcasm - (just in case)

Nicholas Urfe

Thu, Sep 5, 2013 : 12:15 p.m.

"County officials announced this year they were planning to move Community Support and Treatment Services to more urban locations in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti to gain better access to their client populations." Why don't those officials move closer to their customers?