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Posted on Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 12:20 p.m.

Georgetown Mall: County hopes to hire contractor by mid-August to demolish Ann Arbor property

By Ryan J. Stanton

Washtenaw County officials are actively seeking a demolition company to tear down the long-vacant Georgetown Mall on Packard Street in Ann Arbor.

The county released a request for proposals for the demolition and hazardous soil remediation on Tuesday in hopes of moving forward with the work as quickly as possible.

Nathan Voght, an economic development specialist for the county, outlined the process in an email to city and county officials on Tuesday.

He said a mandatory site walk with bidders will take place either this Friday or early next week, and bids will be due by Aug. 17.


The long-vacant Georgetown Mall in Ann Arbor is awaiting demolition.

Angela J. Cesere |

"Contractor selection will take about a week, and then another couple weeks to sign a contract," Voght said. "Work would begin as quickly as possible after contract signing."

City Council Member Margie Teall, D-4th Ward, said that's good news since many of her neighbors are anxious to finally see the mall come down and are asking a lot of questions about it.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality in May announced a $1 million brownfield grant to help redevelop the 6.7-acre site on Packard Street. Vacant since 2009, it has three dilapidated buildings and has been a concern to neighbors due to vandalism and vagrants.

The state grant is being administered by the Washtenaw County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority. It will pay for removal of contaminated soils and demolition of the existing buildings.

Past development efforts have been hindered by contamination of soils under the building with perchlorethylene, a chemical used by a dry cleaning business that once operated in the mall.

The Ann Arbor City Council voted unanimously in May 2011 to approve a site plan for a project called Packard Square, a $48.2 million redevelopment of the blighted mall property.

Bloomfield Hills-based developer Craig Schubiner of Harbor Georgetown LLC plans to construct a four-story, mixed-use building containing 230 apartment units and 23,790 square feet of retail space.

It also is expected to include a 144-space parking garage underneath the apartment building, as well as 310 surface parking spaces.

Schubiner said last year he hoped to break ground on the project in August 2011 and have it completed by the end of 2012 or early 2013.

Bruce Measom of Harbor Property Management LLC provided an update on the Packard Square project in a July 17 email to city planning officials.

He said various representatives of the state, county and the development team met for a kickoff meeting June 14 to discuss logistics and the next steps for the grant administration.

An important step in that process was the preparation of a work plan by the project's environmental consultants, and that work plan must be approved by the state and county, Measom said.

Voght said on Tuesday he expected the work plan, which outlines the grant work to be done, to be submitted to the DEQ for approval sometime this week.

Measom said in his July 17 email the developer was working with DTE Energy to have some power poles and power lines relocated so they do not directly span the property, and instead more closely follow the perimeter of the back parking area.

Concerning proposed revisions to the site plan submitted on June 25, those incorporate necessary changes so the plans now comply with the new city ordinances regarding bioswales, Measom said.

"Those plans also included other minor adjustments to parking, unit mix and unit counts, and the facade along Packard was aligned with the stairwells," Measom wrote in his email.

"There were also some other minor architectural changes to remove some balconies, combine the two pool cabanas into one, and to change the location of the gym and exercise rooms within the building so they will be on the ground floor rather than upstairs," he said. "However, the general configuration of the building, drives, and parking remains the same."

In recent months, soil borings also were performed inside the former Kroger store in hopes of expediting the process and allowing the structural engineers to complete their structural building plans.

"We will be working with the utility companies to disconnect all utilities, in anticipation of the upcoming demolition," Measom said. "There are also a lot of other things happening simultaneously to move the project forward, but these are the most salient items for a community update."

The 80-page RFP posted on the county's website states there are three buildings and a maintenance shed that need to come down, in addition to removal of pavement and other items.

Following site and building demolition, about 3,380 tons of hazardous soil need to be removed. After that, the site will be backfilled and compacted to its existing grade.

According to the RFP, 2,500 tons of material will be excavated and managed through the DEQ grant and the remaining 880 tons will be managed by Harbor Georgetown LLC.

Though distinct excavation areas will be tracked separately, it's the intent of the county and the developer to retain a single contractor to manage all soil removal.

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, Aug 2, 2012 : 2:50 a.m.

This makes me so sick to read. This was a vibrant strip mall. It had a lot to offer and greed set in. People lost a place to shop and others lost jobs. The Krogers on Stadium and S Industrial is a horrible place to shop and there is no drugstore within miles to get to. This community lost a valuable era and right now, I am so sick to hear that they have to tear it down because the original owners got greedy and lost a great place to shop. I right now do not see anything going in there for a long long time. What was lost can never be replaced. Ann Arbor? You goofed again.

Ann English

Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 11:40 p.m.

Sounds like the people who decided to put a Kroger store into what had been an A & P grocery store decided to make do with the smaller size of that store. I don't think I've ever shopped at the CVS drugstore across South Industrial from Kroger, but remember liking it when the only location in town was inside Briarwood Mall. From their ads and visits to each of them, I see CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens as competitive against each other for our business. The South Industrial CVS is closer to what was Georgetown Mall than the relocated Rite Aid at Packard and Platt is. Jns131, even if a Rite Aid drugstore were built at that old site again, you'll notice that they will have their own savings card, just like CVS has its own. Apparently CVS had been drawing Rite Aid customers away, with its Extra Care card service for frequent customers. Rite Aid Wellness cards have come into the competition.


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 7:37 p.m.

I don't know about you but seems to me the CVS across from Kroger's could be considered a drugstore.


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 3:20 p.m.

The Kroger's at Stadium and Industrial IS small, old and funky. Selections aren't as fancy or extensive as at the supersize Kroger's. But the employees (some have been there for donkey's years) and management are cheerful, friendly and helpful. I like the place, it's handy for staples, it's usually busy ( but in-and-out is quick!), and I hope it stays there yet a while.


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 9:15 p.m.

I go back to 1971 or so when I was young, and it opened and( hard as it will be to believe today) , someone from Georgetown I knew said, "Yes, we're so proud of our brand new convenient mall with a Kroger's, and excellent Chinese restaurant, etc.".......Sad to see what happened, but that's the inevitable passage of time! Yes, as one of you wrote, boutique malls are a thing of the past. I can still remember nice times shopping there, before all the trouble and pain. Hope they build something nice!

Ann English

Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 11:15 p.m.

So Hung Wan was the name of the Chinese restaurant there? I went there once and it gave me an excellent introduction to sweet & sour sauce and spring rolls. Hung Wan does sound a little familiar to me the more I think of it.


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 3:11 p.m.

Hung Wan's food was SO good.

Elaine F. Owsley

Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 7:37 p.m.

Is there any plan to recycle things like bricks and metal pieces. If so, who receives the money from these and any other salable bits?

Jim H

Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 11:19 p.m.

The materials generally go to the demolition company, allowing the most resourceful to submit the lowest bids


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 6:48 p.m.

Wasn't that site of the original Stooges fun house? The city should rebuild it into a shrine.


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 6:44 p.m.

Yay! I'm a neighborhood resident and they can't bring in the dozers fast enough. We've been suffering with this for way too long.


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 6:04 p.m.

I am a Washtenaw County resident, not an Ann Arbor resident. This long abandoned shopping center is located in the City of Ann Arbor. Why should any of my tax money go to this project? Please explain.


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 12:09 a.m.

O.K., why my State Taxes...why not Ann Arbor taxes?


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 8:13 p.m.

justcurious I pay for a public school system not fit to send my kid too. I understand how you feel.


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 6:45 p.m.

You do realize that it's state money, right? The county is just administering the grant.


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 5:36 p.m.

Why doesn't the city/county/state go after all the purveyors contributing to the perc contamination? In California they are going not only after the owner of the dry cleaning businerss, but all the way back up the chain to the companires delivering the chemicals, manufactures of machines that use it and the companies like DOW who manufactured it.


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 8:04 p.m.

>> Why doesn't the city/county/state go after all the purveyors contributing to the perc contamination? In California they are going not only after the owner of the dry cleaning businerss, but all the way back up the chain << California law may be different and broader than whatever applies here. The Federal statute (CERCLA) does not reach that far. Google for it, or for "potentially responsible party".. CERCLA does however reach the current owner, and the persons/entities who left the polluting substance on the site, presumably including the dry cleaner proprietors (we are told here that it was not the last owners of the dry cleaning outfit). But since nearly all dry cleaners are very small, usually mom and pop, operations, it's unlikely they would be worth the legal costs of pursuing them, even assuming they could be found.


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 5:23 p.m.

The problem is the economy. People are running to Costco's and Wal Marts. Boutique malls don't get the foot traffic. Why is the housing market being saturated with government funding for this project? Clearly, the market does not justify building, otherwise the developers would be doing it on their own. If it is blighted, condemn it. Amen to the first post.

Jack Eaton

Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 5:17 p.m.

This is great news. The vacant buildings will finally be removed. It is my understanding that if the developer proceeds with a project, the County will recoup the cost of demolition. The Georgetown neighbors have endured years of broken promises. Even if the current development plan also fails, at least the decaying buildings will be removed. Like the failed project at the location of the former Broadway Kroger, this site will probably become a field of "wild flowers" for the foreseeable future. It is time to ask what is wrong with our zoning and planning process that encourages the destruction of valuable neighborhood shopping centers to make way for highly speculative development. Additionally, the City needs to adopt a process to address the problems inherent to long vacant properties such as the Georgetown Mall and the former Greek Orthodox church on North Main. It seems like a problem we would have addressed after the decade long struggle to address the decaying Michigan Inn on Jackson Avenue.

J. A. Pieper

Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 4:59 p.m.

Although I am relieved that we are closer to the demolition process, I am still wondering is there really a need for 230 apartments?


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 2:53 a.m.

That area needs a Krogers and a drugstore to go back to where it originally was. Otherwise, no more apartments. Ann Arbor needs something in this area to help the neighborhood.


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 9:05 p.m.

Yes. Don't you know that the leadership of AA is driving for more rentals?


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 4:36 p.m.

Why is government paying for the expense of taking down these buildings? Why isn't the property condemed and then have the sales proceeds used for any expenses? If that is not feasible why shouldn't the people that want to develop the property be required to pay? This is classic government waste. This type of government "economic development" typically delays the development process as developers play the game to get more & more government handouts. Let the free enterprise system work.


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 9:04 p.m.

All I can remember is Gelman, who got approval to dump waste. Now we know different. We review restaurants, but not businesses for safe practices?


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 6:41 p.m.

The most recent owners of the dry cleaners are not the responsible party. And it was more of a smallish leak, not "toxic dumping".

Ron Granger

Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 4:52 p.m.

It seems that it is even worse than that. Previous reports indicated the dry cleaning business contaminated the site and they are getting away with not cleaning it up. Same old story - apparently we don't have enough oversight and regulation of toxic dumping at business sites that obviously at risk for such contamination. And yet some people say we have too much regulation.

Alan Goldsmith

Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 4:30 p.m.

"City Council Member Margie Teall, D-4th Ward, said that's good news since many of her neighbors are anxious to finally see the mall come down and are asking a lot of questions about it." When they can track Ms. Teall down in public no doubt since anyone in the 4th Ward not her 'neighbor' has found her invisible when it comes to most any City issue, including this one. She peeps her head up usually a couple of weeks every two years before the Democrat Primary to take credit for something she had no part in and then it's business as usual after the election. While she didn't take credit in this article, she has on her campaign site. What EXACTLY did she do with this effort?


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 9 p.m.

What's the problem with Margie? She won her position by the voters of AA - eh?