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Posted on Thu, Dec 8, 2011 : 2:03 p.m.

Ann Arbor close to finalizing sale of Village Green property

By Ryan J. Stanton


The latest drawing for Ann Arbor City Apartments, offering a look at the west elevation.

Image courtesy of developer

Ann Arbor officials say a $3.2 million deal to sell 0.57 acres of city-owned land at First and Washington to developer Village Green is now just days away from happening.

"We've signed the purchase agreement and are scheduling the actual closing," said Tom Crawford, the city's chief financial officer.

"The developer is working out a logistical issue with the property owner on the south, which needs to be resolved before we actually do the closing, but we are likely within a couple weeks or days of having it closed," Crawford said.


Tom Crawford

That marks a major milestone for a real estate deal that's been in the works for years but has been delayed numerous times.

Village Green plans to construct a 155-unit apartment building called Ann Arbor City Apartments, rising 104 feet into the downtown skyline. In addition to apartments, the project includes a 244-space parking garage to be owned by the city and managed by the Downtown Development Authority.

The Ann Arbor City Council agreed in October 2010 to authorize up to $9 million in general obligation bonds to help pay for the parking structure. Of the 244 spaces planned, about 72 are expected to be held for residents, leaving 172 spaces for the general public.

The City Council last month approved the purchase agreement for the sale of the city-owned property at the southeast corner of First and Washington to Ann Arbor City Apartments LLC, the successor-in-interest to Village Green Residential Properties LLC.

The council originally decided in August 2006 to enter into negotiations with Village Green based on recommendations of a review committee that looked at proposals for the site.

At the time, the city anticipated the redevelopment of First and Washington as a Planned Unit Development that would increase downtown residential density and diversity, replace public parking spaces on the site, maximize the financial return to the city for the sale of the land, and maximize tax revenues captured by the DDA.

Since that time, negotiations among the city, Village Green and the DDA have resulted in an approved purchase agreement, site plan, parking agreement and resolution of all conditions for acquisition of the property by Village Green consistent with the city's goals, officials said.

Ann Arbor City Apartments LLC, a Delaware-based company, was created on Oct. 18, 2011 to be the successor-in-interest, according to city documents.

"Documents are getting signed and it's looking like it's heading to an actual closing," said DDA Executive Director Susan Pollay. "They have the purchase agreement in hand, they have the affordability agreement I think pretty well in hand, construction drawings are I think 99 percent done, and I think all the elements are pretty much there."

Pollay said the general sense she gets from talking to city officials is "they're at the finish line and documents are getting signed and ... they're pretty well on their way."

Less closing costs and other fees, the city estimates net proceeds from the sale to be a little less than $3.1 million. City officials have been counting on a portion of that money to help finance the police-courts building addition to city hall that was completed this past year.

The council's resolution last month appropriated $2.5 million of the sale proceeds to the Municipal Center project fund, $500,000 to a risk fund as reimbursement for an advance made in June, and the rest to the general fund after adjustment for city closing costs.

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.


Attempted Voice of Reason

Fri, Dec 9, 2011 : 5:37 a.m.

While we're at it, can we build a hotel on top of the underground library parking garage? Granted I wish it hadn't been built in the first place, but after $50 million in the hole, and 3 years of road closures, I'd hate to see it sit empty. A hotel downtown would be great for the local economy, and I'm sure we could work out a deal to have the hotel rent some of the spaces. (Just think how great it would be for visitors to be able to walk from their hotel rooms to the Ark, Gratzi, and Conor O'Neals.) I'm not naive enough to think we'll get all our money back, but if we can cut the losses it would be nice.

Attempted Voice of Reason

Fri, Dec 9, 2011 : 5:30 a.m.

Looks good. That probably surprises some people following my posts, but - a decent modern architecture building downtown replacing an ugly parking garage, that pretty much meets zoning codes, adding tax revenue to the city, and adding residents downtown - that's a good thing. Personally I'd like an 8-story limit downtown to limit sun blocking, but that's an issue I have with City Council and their zoning ordinance, not with any particular developer working within the zoning code.


Fri, Dec 9, 2011 : 1:25 a.m.

Great looking building - much nicer than the old parking structure it will replace, more downtown housing, and parking to boot. Cheers to the City, the DDA, and Village Green!

Alan Goldsmith

Thu, Dec 8, 2011 : 10:31 p.m.

"Less closing costs and other fees, the city estimates net proceeds from the sale to be a little less than $3.1 million. City officials have been counting on a portion of that money to help finance the police-courts building addition to city hall that was completed this past year." Ah, more money looted from the taxpayer and city services to pay for the police/courts building.


Fri, Dec 9, 2011 : 8:19 p.m.

Let us keep the story straight. Money is coming to the city from a private developer. This benefits the city (and its taxpayers). There are no strings attached, except for the mutually beneficial deal about parking. How the money coming to the city is spent will be decided by its elected officials. You dislike those officials and have been campaigning to elect different ones. As part of this campaign, you have been bashing whatever projects the city undertakes. That is a completely distinct topic from the sale of this property, as I am sure you realize.

Ryan J. Stanton

Thu, Dec 8, 2011 : 10:13 p.m.

Updated info on the project: # of units: 155 Unit mix: 45 studios, 71 one-bedrooms, 39 two-bedrooms # of stories: Because of the grade, the number of floors fluctuates depending on where you are. The height varies from around 8.5 stories above grade at the NE corner to 10 stories above grade at the SW corner. The building is 9 stories at the main entrance at the corner of First and Washington (NW corner). # of parking floors: 4 # of residential floors: 7


Thu, Dec 8, 2011 : 10:03 p.m.

The building looks kind of ugly to me. Can't they build something that fits in better with the surrounding buildings in downtown AA? At least it's not as ugly as that hideous monstrosity the U of M built on the Huron St. curve just south of the hospital, but it is ugly nonetheless. Look at the multi-story buildings they built on Main st just a few years back. That's what good looking buildings look like by the way.


Thu, Dec 8, 2011 : 10:01 p.m.

Where's the Green? Oh yeah, the money changing hands. A Metropolis in the making. Just didn't think it would all change this fast.


Thu, Dec 8, 2011 : 9:30 p.m.

How about some information on what the expected rents will be? Is this yet another overpriced rental complex catering to the "rich" students in A2. Don't we already have enough of these massive buildings? How about building some reasonable rental complexes, not high rises, with reasonable rents for a wider range of people, not just students. A2 is more than a bunch of wealthy students and needs to stop catering to the elite.


Thu, Dec 8, 2011 : 9:59 p.m.

I would like to know what the rent will be too. I imagine a small one or two bedroom apartment will run at least $800 per month probably closer to $1000 or $1200. I don't think any undergrad students will be living in this building. Land is too valuable in Ann Arbor to build any more one story buildings.

Marshall Applewhite

Thu, Dec 8, 2011 : 9:41 p.m.

After reading your rant about the "slumlords" and their "substandard housing" the other day, one would think you'd be in favor of new housing built with modern safety standards..........


Thu, Dec 8, 2011 : 9:05 p.m.

Looks fine. Much needed money for the city. Helps the parking situation too. My only nit is it's too bad the developer didn't buy out the property owner to the south. It's a drab little building and the block would look better with a consistent look for the entire length of the block.


Thu, Dec 8, 2011 : 8:19 p.m.

I bet we will be reading about the residents of this building complaining about the noise from the 4 music related alcohol drug dens across the street. They will cry foul, yet the bars were there first. & the city will do nothing to help long time city business, with local ownership fight off the newcomers.


Thu, Dec 8, 2011 : 8:45 p.m.

hahaha! The only thing those "drug dens" are guilty of is wearing too much flannel and bringing back the mustache...easy there Jimi


Thu, Dec 8, 2011 : 8:08 p.m.

oh I get Pizza Pino is in the far right side...oh wait...I don't see it...wonder how much the rent will be for those apts and will the on-until-late-at-nite-flashing neon across the street on First will be evident to the apts? We all know there is never any noise coming from First Street at Huron south to Liberty...lucky for any future tenants there aren't any large music venues across the street....right?


Thu, Dec 8, 2011 : 9:07 p.m.

The people this place will appeal to are not the same person looking for a quiet country setting. There is this large hole at the corner of Main and Stadium and there is noise from it several times per year. In many cities the proximity to live events is considered a GOOD thing. Maybe you need to venture outside of your Scio or Pittsfield Twp. cookie cutter and realize some people like something different than banal suburban streets.


Thu, Dec 8, 2011 : 8:02 p.m.

Well, I'm not sure I understand the rendering...from what viewpoint are we looking? I can't locate any city landmarks that establish location...but hey, let's block out some more sun downtown and keep that greenbelt going!

Billy Bob Schwartz

Sat, Dec 10, 2011 : 5:11 p.m.

If it's the west side of the building, then I repeat, "It's facing west." Pretty simple to correct a correct comment.


Fri, Dec 9, 2011 : 2:11 a.m.

Actually it's facing east. It's the view from south first. It would be the west side of the building

Billy Bob Schwartz

Thu, Dec 8, 2011 : 9:05 p.m.

It's facing west....

Silly Sally

Thu, Dec 8, 2011 : 7:48 p.m.

It sounds cozy, it seems suspicious. Follow the money. The DDA and the council are much too close for this to seem right. WHere is the oversight?

Billy Bob Schwartz

Thu, Dec 8, 2011 : 7:17 p.m.

I hope that building is not as homely as it appears in the picture. Now, in which city is that going to be built? Ann Arbor, Michigan? Hmmmm. If this is how it will look, can we go back to the drawing board and come up with something that looks like Ann Arbor?

Billy Bob Schwartz

Thu, Dec 8, 2011 : 9:25 p.m.

@johnnya2 ... Take a long walk around downtown A2 and look around. Then look at this picture. Do you think they fit together? I understand that different people have different aesthetic tastes, but a ten story wall in downtown? In my view, it's a bad fit.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Thu, Dec 8, 2011 : 9:03 p.m.

cents...Tenement is the term that popped into my mind when I first saw the picture. Maybe it's a poor picture.


Thu, Dec 8, 2011 : 9:01 p.m.

@a2cents, You were free to submit your ideas and design at any point in the process. Every single building put up in A2 in the last 20 years has given the same group to complain every single time. Why not give us an example of what YOU think is good architecture.


Thu, Dec 8, 2011 : 8:17 p.m.

Despite Ann Arbor's pretensions, the architecture of new structures of this type has been uniformly unexceptional if not downright atrocious... tenements in the making. We deserve better.


Thu, Dec 8, 2011 : 7:11 p.m.

They'll sell it and shoot down the building plan