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Posted on Wed, Jan 13, 2010 : 2:40 p.m.

Ann Arbor officials announce time, location of Library Lot interviews

By Ryan J. Stanton

Ann Arbor officials announced today the times and locations for interviews being conducted next week with prospective developers of the Library Lot.


Some residents think the Library Lot RFP process has been designed to favor this hotel and conference center proposal by Valiant Partners, but city officials say that's not true.

Six separate interviews and a public open house will take place at the Ann Arbor District Library downtown. Interviews will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the public open house running from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday.

The city recently sought creative proposals through an RFP process - or request for proposals - for the development of the 1.2-acre lot owned by the city. The city is looking for someone to develop atop the underground parking structure being built by the Downtown Development Authority on the site.

The site is located at 319 S. Fifth Avenue, two blocks from the Main Street Business District and three blocks from the State Street Business District and the University of Michigan Central Campus. City officials say a successful proposal will be one that is consistent with the community character of Ann Arbor.

"The project would make positive contributions to the immediate neighborhood and the larger community by incorporating elements such as publicly accessible open space, green building design, public art, and a financial return to the city while adding to the vibrancy of the city’s central downtown," reads a press release issued by the city today.

The public is invited to attend and participate in the presentation and interviews of the proposed six projects. Thirty minutes will be set aside during each interview to allow for public questions. Public inquiries can submitted in writing in advance to

Here's the interview schedule:

  • Tuesday - 1 to 2:30 p.m. - Dahlmann
  • Tuesday - 2:45 to 4:15 p.m. - Ann Arbor Community Commons
  • Jan. 20 - 9 to 10:30 a.m. - Jarratt
  • Jan. 20 - 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. - Acquest
  • Jan. 20 - 12:45 to 2:15 p.m. - Valiant
  • Jan. 20 - 2:30 to 4 p.m. - Beztak

Each interview will consist of a 30-minute presentation, 30 minutes of questions from the RFP advisory and technical review committees, and 30 minutes of questions from the public.

All interviews are open to the public and will be held on the fourth floor of the library, 343 S. Fifth Ave. Community Television Network will televise the presentations.

Proposals and supporting information can be found on the city's Web site.

Read's previous coverage on the Library Lot.


Ryan J. Stanton covers government for Reach him at or 734-623-2529.



Sun, Jan 17, 2010 : 7:34 a.m.

Lokalisierung - What are you talking about? Sell Park Land? Sell Huron Hills? We went through this four years ago and now thanks to the efforts of many of us residents, the city cannot sell any park land without going to the vote of the people. Selling park land is a quick one time fix. It will do nothing towards the long term problems and budget. They need to find other annual and realistic ways of taking care of this problem. What do you want to see? Have them sell a park a year to cover the budget. Great Idea - Sell the Parks! (sarcasm meter rising). Then in 20 years we residents have nothing left and are still in the same hole.


Thu, Jan 14, 2010 : 9:30 p.m.

Allen Creek to the Huron River is Ann Arbor's fountain.

Concerned Citizen

Thu, Jan 14, 2010 : 8:59 p.m.

The AATA is trying its best to encourage LESS auto congestion downtown. The DDA is building 4 underground levels of parking to encourage MORE auto congestion downtown. ( PLUS bisecting an existing rush-hour-congested block, adding more turning traffic!) (... & right across the street from the AATA bus depot.)


Thu, Jan 14, 2010 : 7:10 p.m.

@townie "The City was counting on that $3,000,000 to help pay for the new police/courts building." Who could imagine? And considering the City of Ann Arbors poor track record of public/private partnerships how likely is it that history could repeat itself on the Library Lot? Double OOOPS!


Thu, Jan 14, 2010 : 2:26 p.m.

Before anyone decides to finance yet another boondoggle with public money, we should all be reminded that the Village Green development at First and Washington is stalled for lack of private financing. You may recall that as part of that deal, the City was to receive $3,000,000 from the sale of the "air rights" over another public parking structure. The City was counting on that $3,000,000 to help pay for the new police/courts building. Oops. Now what?


Thu, Jan 14, 2010 : 12:54 p.m.

The city should sell some park land for sure, and look into what selling the land from Huron Hills Golf Course could bring in.


Thu, Jan 14, 2010 : 11:56 a.m.

We often forget that here in the midwest we value function over form. We don't like or need fancy. We like functional buildings that will endure in their design and their use. Something as modern looking as the politicians preferred Valiant groups vision will look very dated in the future, In fact their design, it looks a bit 80's, is dated today. It's unfortunate that money was spent to "fix" the incredibly dysfunctional Larcom building instead of making a real effort to locate a new (combined City/County) cop shop and courts building and a public square on public property at this location. This alone makes me leery of supporting anything on this site because it's a giveaway of public land to the private sector. Everything was already in place for this site to be designed for public use. It's public property, has a public transportation hub, the public library, the Federal building, a small urban pocket park, a historic structure that would have related Ann arbor's history to the site, and it it centrally located in between two business districts. Underground parking to serve those purposes would have been not only welcome but an added asset for the area as a whole It's a shame that this option was only briefly considered some years ago when it would have been more economically feasible. I blame it on a lack of vision and strong political leadership for this idea not taking hold. Now it appears that the fix is in for a taxpayer subsidized, for profit enterprise of dubious necessity. If the site becomes a private conference or convention center or a hotel it will be a dead zone because it does not serve the interest of the entire city. If the primary reason to build something like Valiants proposal is tax revenue, then we should rent out or sell all public property in the city.

Ryan J. Stanton

Thu, Jan 14, 2010 : 11:35 a.m.

Jayne Miller tells me that the open house will allow the public to review the proposals and talk with the proposers about their projects. FYI.


Thu, Jan 14, 2010 : 11:07 a.m.

Excellent point re: meeting times, TF. There is a peculiar lack of wisdom by building another parking lot in the core of a city that reckons itself as being 'green' and developing in a sustainable fashion. The traffic on a major avenue, the proximity to the only bus depot, and the fiscal crisis facing the city calls in to question the rationale behind this project. Surface parking still the preference to shoppers and diners, there is little enticement to going underground at late night in these safety-conscious times. It's a bit two-faced to promote a commuter hub on Fuller on one hand while continuing to feed the downtown traffic on the other. That being said and the apparent full-steam ahead on this dubious project, another handout to commercial development is not what a city asking sacrifices of its firefighting and other workforce needs. If they insist on going forward, then give something back to the overly-taxed public. The DDA could spend its coffers on sidewalk improvement if it absolutely needs to spend spend spend.

Irena Nagler

Thu, Jan 14, 2010 : 10:53 a.m.

Without at this time stating what my personal favorite is, I hope that whatever project "wins" is the one that would make most local people happy and enhance life here. I believe that where there is a strong enough will there is a way, and legitimate, inspired and creative means can be found to fund and materially support whatever is chosen. Hope people show up for the interviews and make known what they prefer.


Thu, Jan 14, 2010 : 10:50 a.m.

In agreement with sh1... scheduling meeting during the day as opposed to evening assures a low public turnout. But that is exactly what the RFP committee and its chair, Stephen Rapundalo, want. Put on the appearance of public input, but make the real decisions behind the scenes, in private emails, etc. Rapundalo has already wasted millions of taxpayer dollars while at the helm of MichBio, now he wants to do the same with the library lot.


Thu, Jan 14, 2010 : 12:50 a.m.

TF, I think most of the buildings that would fit the character of Ann Arbor are already built in Disneyland. LOL

Concerned Citizen

Wed, Jan 13, 2010 : 8:37 p.m.

Of those "proposals" presenting buildings, do any of them provide aerial views? Please publish those. Do any of them show views from the Division Street side? Please publish those. We need this information. Thank you.


Wed, Jan 13, 2010 : 7:55 p.m.

Be sure not to look at the map as an accurate representation. It's what the city drew up to sell the project. None of the current proposals fit on the map above.


Wed, Jan 13, 2010 : 7:47 p.m.

Interesting that the meetings are all during the day, making it necessary for people to take a personal day or unpaid leave from their jobs if they want to attend.


Wed, Jan 13, 2010 : 4:37 p.m.

I don't think its actually possible to build a building that fits the 'character' of Ann Arbor.


Wed, Jan 13, 2010 : 4:33 p.m.

The commercial developments are speculative and all expect some form of subsidy. The conference center proposers expect the city to pony up to finance the conference center, whether it be on the site or across the street. The conference center is virtually guaranteed to lose money. That's what conference center's do. Next, the developers say they'll only pay the City back after they collect their cut first and then only if they sell their condos for a profit and make enough money on their hotel. But if things go south, the developer's financers get paid first. So without any research into this issue performed by the City, which risk would you rather take? A $2.5 million gift to build a nice open space with lawn, fountain, ice rink, and cafe? Or would you rather speculate on a real estate development (hotel/condo/conference center)? Maybe we should all just take our property tax checks and mail them to Bernie Madoff?


Wed, Jan 13, 2010 : 3:57 p.m. the people that haven't been filling the lot on Williams between 4th and 5th or in the Williams and 4th Ave structure will now not park in the additional 5 levels? Oh wait, I forgot about Art Fair...but even then I had no problem parking in a structure downtown.+


Wed, Jan 13, 2010 : 3:19 p.m.

After looking at the pictures of the Valiant Partners presentation I'd just like to know how their RFP is "consistent with the community character of Ann Arbor"? A rectangle floating over the library lot reaching 18 to 20 stories into the sky? Sorry, I just don't get it.


Wed, Jan 13, 2010 : 3:10 p.m.

Regarding the pictured design above, I was somewhat put off by it at first. But, it might just be unique enough to create some type of downtown "buzz". It would be interesting to see what type of revenue it is capable of producing.


Wed, Jan 13, 2010 : 3:10 p.m.

Whats wrong with telling the public that yes you favor a hotel convention center. For all of those who want a park let them pay the tax lost to the city for a park as opposed to a commerical development.