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Posted on Sun, May 20, 2012 : 5:03 p.m.

Ann Arbor officials invite public to shape vision for future development along South State Street

By Ryan J. Stanton

The city of Ann Arbor is undertaking the first major planning study of South State Street in 22 years, with the goal of guiding future development along the corridor.

As part of that study, the city is hosting a public input session from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Malletts Creek Branch Library, 3090 E. Eisenhower Parkway.

"The corridor, in my view, is in need of some attention," said City Planner Jeff Kahan. "The last time we really looked at it was in 1990 and before when we came up with our South Area Plan, so that was really the last time we took a comprehensive examination of land use."


The Produce Station, 1629 South State St., is among the business stakeholders located along a stretch of South State Street that's being studied by the city.

Joseph Tobianski I

Wednesday's session will include a presentation from city planners followed by a question and answer session. The session is intended to help identify issues, visions and priorities for the corridor and guide recommendations for an update to the city's master plan.

City planners say development since the 1950s has shaped South State Street to be Ann Arbor's primary office, research and light industrial corridor.

The study area is defined as the 2.15-mile stretch of State Street from Stimson south to Ellsworth Road, an automobile-oriented thoroughfare with mixed land uses.

The area contains about 900,000 square feet of office space and 580,000 square feet of industrial and light manufacturing space, more than any other single area of the city.

Commercial and residential uses also are present, but they make up a smaller percentage of the land use, city planners point out.

The city is interested in identifying ways to preserve existing land uses and ensure future uses are compatible and complementary.

"It will give us a chance to do some comprehensive analysis," Kahan said, adding the end result likely will be a new chapter added to the city's master plan.

City officials characterize the State Street corridor, which connects I-94 to downtown, as a high-activity area and a major employment center and retail destination.

Influential properties include the University of Michigan, Briarwood Mall, Research Park, and Hidden Valley Club apartments.

City officials already have focused on traffic issues from I-94 to Ellsworth. They're collaborating with the Washtenaw County Road Commission on an effort to build a roundabout at State and Ellsworth as Costco gets set to open a new store on Ellsworth at the end of June.

McMullen Properties owns several office complexes in the area, including the Eisenhower Commerce Center and the Atrium Office Center.

Other stakeholders include retailers like the Produce Station and the new Biercamp artisan sausage and jerky shop.

As the corridor study moves along, the city's planning staff plans to post all materials, reports, maps and plan drafts on a new city webpage at

Anyone interested in providing feedback and unable to attend Wednesday's input session can contact Kristin Baja at or 734-794-6000 ext. 42653.

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.



Thu, May 31, 2012 : 1:28 a.m.

This is interesting. Im indifferent for wasthtenaw or state but they are both starting to get outdated and I think a2 needs to stop building the baby stuff and develop something more breath taking


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 4:10 p.m.

I am sure they will give the community feedback the same attention they gave the community input and feedback on the Jackson Road conversion


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 1:26 p.m.

Leave Produce Station and Sausage shop alone -- I agree Washtenaw is where attention is required.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 4:32 a.m.

The weed ridden concrete islands are a mess and the poor roads at State and Eisenhower, and Eisenhower to Boardwalk are awful.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 3:14 a.m.

I have worked in a building in that stretch for 32 years. The traffic has become a nightmare. The concrete islands are ugly and weed ridden. The roundabout at Ellsworth will be a nightmare. I can't wait to retire to get away from that mess.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 1:11 a.m.

Don't waste any money on bike lanes in this corridor. No one in their right mind would ride a bike on State Street from Stimson to Ellsworth. There is nothing along that stretch to attract bicyclists. It's a suburban car dominated corridor. Don't waste space building bike lanes that no one will use. Widen the lanes and add a left turn lane. That stretch is a nightmare at rush hour.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 3:09 a.m.

Well, I find lots of reasons to bike down it (sometimes with my kids) -- to Wolverine Tower, to my accountant, to the airport bus, to the mall, to the tennis courts, to the dance studio on Boardwalk.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 1:35 a.m.

There are people who work in office buildings there who would like to bike to work. I'm married to one of them. They even installed bathrooms with showers so people could bike, but many can't do it due to safety issues getting over I-94.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 1:08 a.m.

Has anyone been out to Briarwood mall lately? It's turning into a dump. Absolutely empty during the day during the week. The tacky "carts" only add to the run down appearance. The roadways around the mall are a disaster (full of potholes and ruts). Briarwood needs a complete make-over or needs to be torn down. I agree with statements about traffic issues. Two lanes is totally inadequate, and the weeds along the roadways and traffic islands are out of control, all over town, I might add. There has to be a way to make left turns if retail is increasing in the area. The parking at the Produce Station is totally inadequate, especially since the hot shots in their BMWs and mercedes pull up in front, park illegally, while they run inside to get their items. I guess those rick folks don't feel they need to play by the same rules as everyone else driving a Toyota or Chevy who park in the designated spots and walk to the store. Entering and exiting the Produce Station is also a disaster and impossible with heavy traffic. Many problems along this route from Stimson to Ellsworth, mostly with traffic and unplanned development done in a helter skelter manner. The roundabouts at State and Ellsworth are a huge mistake. There has to be a way to get to Costco WITHOUT going through a roundabout.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 4:28 a.m.

Severe Potholes on the service drive around Briarwood and in the parking lots make driving at the Mall a hazard. The lack of sufficient restaurants inside the Mall is a big deterrent to lunch time shoppers. A food court with some fast food operators and additional dine in restaurants is needed.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 12:03 a.m.

I am disappointed that they built Costco here. It will leech money from local businesses.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 4:09 p.m.

"Is Firestone a local business? No, it's a chain." Best of my knowledge, it's a locally owned franchise that employs local people. Same as any other Firestone for that matter.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 4:23 a.m.

Costco is in Pittsfield Twp. because Ann Arbor couldn't get it's act together on approving locations in the city, so the revenue and the jobs are not located in AA.

Angry Moderate

Mon, May 21, 2012 : 2:42 a.m.

And by "leech," you mean the people who earned that money can choose to spend it wherever they please.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 12:58 a.m.

Costco will give Meijer, Kroger, Hiller's and Busch's a run for their money. Maybe Office Max and Staples, too, and Walgreens. None of these are local businesses. They are large chains that need some real competition. Why should A2 continue to be gouged by chain stores because of all the supposedly rich students? Costco as a warehouse will bring more reasonable prices to the area. I've already checked on a few items in the pharmacy, and Costco is way less expensive than Walgreens. Tires and batteries are cheaper at Costco than Firestone. Is Firestone a local business? No, it's a chain. I'm sure A2 residents will find many bargains at Costco.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 11:55 p.m.

How about figuring out what our City Officials are doing with our Tax Revenue first....Maybe the City needs a receiver to handle the finances before we are in so much debt, that we nee more tax revune created....We as the people need to stand for our rights, I budget my expenses why should the City of Ann Arbor officials have a open pocket book!

Ron Granger

Sun, May 20, 2012 : 11:03 p.m.

How about safe pedestrian and bicycle access on State Street from Ellsworth to downtown? The city is spending millions accomodating Costco, so this should be no problem. The area over and around I-94 is deadly for pedestrians.

Ron Granger

Mon, May 21, 2012 : 3:17 p.m.

I love the 7 downvotes on this. It's so telling. It's the crowd that screams "No! My car is king! I don't care if pedestrians die under the wheels! It's all about me!"


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 10:40 p.m.

Let's get the North Main corridor taken care of first.

Silly Sally

Sun, May 20, 2012 : 10:36 p.m.

First, cut down the weeds! Then remove the ugly asphalt in the island and plant landscaping. What not to do, install a hurinal for the mayor or any artwork. A "Wecome to Ann Arbor" sign would be nice.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 10:17 p.m.

It really would not take that much, plant some trees in the traffic islands on State between I-94 and Eisenhower.

J. A. Pieper

Sun, May 20, 2012 : 10:07 p.m.

I frequently travel along this corridor and although there are times the traffic is wicked, it works for me. Why is the city focusing on this corridor, rather than Washtenaw?

Ryan J. Stanton

Mon, May 21, 2012 : 3:20 a.m.

There's a huge focus on Washtenaw right now, and legislation pending in the Legislature related to it. House Bill 5142 would amend the Corridor Improvement Authority Act to explicitly allow local communities, as an alternative, to form Joint Corridor Improvement Authorities, as has been one of the alternatives being considered by the four communities working together on Re-Imagining Washtenaw Avenue (


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 9:54 p.m.

The lip service to having State Street be a corridor from I-94 to downtown requires that there be adequate capacity for the heavy car traffic on this route (Bicycles are prohibited on I-94, so forget about bike lanes). This means more car traffic lanes between Eisenhower and Stimson. it also means facilitating left turns along that stretch. Traffic remediation trumps esthetics.

Silly Sally

Sun, May 20, 2012 : 9:48 p.m.

Could we begin with a BIG DIG South? Great parking for football games! It doesn't really matter if it will only be used 7 times a year, after all, this is for football, a donation to UM. The taxpayers will pay for it all. Lets tear out that small business, The Produce Station, pictured above, and start digging!