You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 5:58 a.m.

Chelsea approves sale of long-vacant Buchanan Street property to Chelsea Milling sister company

By Lisa Allmendinger

The Chelsea City Council unanimously approved a purchase offer of $175,000 for its Buchanan Street property from a sister company of Chelsea Milling Company Tuesday night.

The city purchased the 4.38 acre property and the building that housed Bookcrafter’s, a book printing company at 140 Buchanan St. in 2002 for $995,000, and the original plan was to put city offices on the site but that never materialized, and the property languished.

“There’s been a whole lot of inactivity on this property,” said City Manager John Hanifan, who was hired after the city purchased the property.

The city still owes $690,000 on the bonds, but has an escrow account of about $200,000, which was originally set aside from the bond proceeds to be used for the potential demolition of the building.

“Frankly, that property, well, let’s just say we were not very good at the real estate business,” Hanifan said.

The city issued a request for proposals for the property about 18 months ago, and when there were no takers, it was advertised for sale. There was one offer from Hayes Sumner LLC, a sister company of Chelsea Milling Company, which is located nearby.

When asked what the company would do with the property, Howdy Holmes, president and CEO of Chelsea Milling, said he’s not sure yet, “but it will be something good.”

Although there was discussion about selling the building and property at a loss, Hanifan said that if the conditions were met and the sale went through, it would mean about $15,000-$30,000 annually back on the tax rolls.

The city retained the right to keep all utility and stormwater easements and the purchase offer also needs to be reviewed by legal council.

Lisa Allmendinger is a regional reporter for She can be reached at For more Chelsea stories, visit our Chelsea page.



Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 3:26 p.m.

In 2002 they paid $995,000 and now it's real worth is just $175,000? What's wrong with this picture? That's 82.5% depreciation. I must be missing something in this story too.

Usual Suspect

Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 1:59 p.m.

Nice map.

average joe

Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 1:20 p.m.

Just one more example of why municipalities(see Ypsilanti) should not be in the speculative real estste business.

average joe

Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 2:27 p.m.

fish- Maybe it wasn't a speculation. But one would think that before spending a million they would have more than just "a plan" to put city staff there.


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 2:06 p.m.

Agreed. However, it was not purchased as a speculation.