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Posted on Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

Georgetown Mall demolition on hold as developer gets 6-month extension to show project financing

By Ryan J. Stanton

The long-anticipated demolition and cleanup of the vacant Georgetown Mall property in Ann Arbor remains on hold, a Washtenaw County official said.

Bloomfield Hills-based developer Craig Schubiner of Harbor Georgetown LLC said he's still pushing hard to be able to start demolition in November, though.

"I would love to see that happen," said City Council Member Margie Teall, D-4th Ward, who was expecting demolition to happen by September and is tired of the delays.

"It's extraordinarily disappointing that we couldn't just go ahead and do this and get the buildings down," she said. "I really wanted that to happen, and I had thought that if the buildings went down then maybe it would be easier to get financing for a project."

Schubiner, who wants to redevelop the site and build a mixed-use project called Packard Square, still hasn't been able to demonstrate project financing to the satisfaction of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to unlock a $1 million brownfield grant for demolition and cleanup costs.


Vacant since 2009, the former Georgetown Mall property in Ann Arbor has three dilapidated buildings and has been a concern to neighbors due to vandalism and vagrants.

Angela J. Cesere |

In September, Schubiner received a 30-day extension of the deadline to demonstrate project financing to the DEQ, which is a condition of the grant. The Oct. 18 deadline for Schubiner to show he has financing has lapsed and the situation still isn't resolved.

A new six-month extension has been approved now, said Nathan Voght, an economic development specialist for Washtenaw County. That extends the deadline into April.

"At the request of the developer, the county requested, and received, from the MDEQ a six-month extension on the condition that the developer demonstrate project financing," Voght said. "The demolition and soil remediation is on hold until the grant money is released by the MDEQ."

A spokesperson for the DEQ could not be reached for comment.

Schubiner said on Wednesday he has lined up all the necessary financing for Packard Square and is moving toward closing. He said the same last month.

"We are moving forward with asbestos and universal waste removal now, as well as application for a demolition permit," he wrote in an email to late Wednesday morning. "We are meeting with the MDEQ in early November to review the satisfaction of their financing contingency in order to start demolition as soon as the demolition permit is issued."

Teall said there's not much the city can do at this point. For the most part, she said, the city is sitting on the sidelines waiting for the demolition to happen.

The DEQ in May announced a $1 million brownfield grant to help redevelop the 6.7-acre site on Packard Street. Vacant since 2009, the former mall property 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 and will pay for removal of contaminated soils and demolition of the existing buildings.

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

Schubiner wants to construct a four-story, mixed-use building containing 230 apartment units and 23,790 square feet of retail space.

The project also is expected to include a 144-space parking garage under 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.

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

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, Oct 25, 2012 : 10:19 p.m.

This is just wrong! Mayor John Hieftje where are you. This has gone on for too long.

Natalie Siciliano

Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 4:54 p.m.

Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me! I grew up on King George Blvd, right next to this propert, and my parents still live there. I once blamed the looser developer for this catastrophe, now I blame the city of Ann Arbor for allowing this to continue. Crime is up, property values are down and it looks TERRIBLE! Ann Arbor should be embarrassed to have allowed this to continue as long as it has. I'm disgusted!

sandy schopbach

Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 4:13 p.m.

This guy has had AMPLE time to show he can complete this project. The City should just find another developer and get on with it. Georgetown has become an eyesore and a danger to our neighborhood. Enough is enough. He doesn't have the funds, and he never will. How long does it take for this to become obvious?


Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 2:24 p.m.

Man, when you look up things about this developer- sketchy and scary. This area of ton really needs the location cleaned up and something new back in place. Just not sure this is the guy to do it.


Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 1:39 p.m.

Jack Eaton gets my write-in vote.

Jack Eaton

Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 3:13 p.m.

Thank you for the continued support. Please note that a write in candidate must register his or her intent to run as a write in for the votes to actually count. I will not be registering as a write in candidate. I will run for Council again, either next year or in 2014, I haven't decided yet. I hope I can count on your support then. I imagine that the fate of Georgetown Mall will still be an issue and I'm sure the City will not have developed a process for addressing long-vacant buildings by then.


Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 2:19 p.m.

Got mine


Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 11:55 a.m.

If someone living in Burns Park is "tired of the delays" just think how we people that actually live near it and see it all the time feel. I know I feel like the city has proven to be quite impotent in the entire matter. I'll be remembering that at election time.


Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 3:24 a.m.

Ypsilanti Township would have had that thing down by now. Sounds like Ann Arbor City council is napping again. I know we are trying to get that thing down by Rawsonville Road but it needs further testing before we can tear it down. Maybe in 10 years we can watch that thing crumble?


Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 12:41 a.m.



Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 12:21 a.m.

Uttered in my best Gomer Pyle impersonation: "Soo-prise, soo-prise, soo-prise."

Ron Granger

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 11:42 p.m.

Get rich quick schemes often don't work out as planned. Let's hope this does not end up like the North Campus Kroger.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 11:19 p.m.

Thank you, Ryan J. Stanton, for pointing out the continued misleading statements that come from Mr. Schubiner. Predictable? Totally. Maybe the circumstances are different, but it's feeling like the Michigan Inn...

Phil Dokas

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 9:22 p.m.

This is exactly how Craig Schubiner's massive and failed Bloomfield Park development's saga of sadness started. Delays and delays and lack of funding and pending lawsuits. Crain's did an excellent investigation into its history. Well worth the read:


Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 4:44 a.m.

Well done, Phil Dokas! I was about to write a similar comment. Why should any bank or investment house want to loan Craig Schubiner money after the Bloomfield Park fiasco. Readers should access the URL site that Phil Dokas listed in the above comment. In fact that site should be required reading by officials of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, member of the Washtenaw County Board and Ann Arbor City Council members.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 9:14 p.m.

You should check out the retail development this firm is involved on Telegraph Road in Oakland County, south of Pontiac. Financing fell through and there are just shells of buildings on the parcel. Maybe, could see fit to send someone out on that one, so we know what to expect if the state unlocks the funds for demolition.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 9:05 p.m.

"Schubiner said on Wednesday he has lined up all the necessary financing for Packard Square and is moving toward closing. He said the same last month." Let's face it; this development is never going to happen.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 8 p.m.

Huh Oh! This sounds suspiciously like what happened in Saline a few years ago. Except that the developer actually got the building(s) knocked down...then went belly up. There is still an unsightly, block long, empty hole in the ground right in the center of downtown Saline. Hope the City of Ann Arbor received a sizable, non-refundable, cash deposit from the developer. No? Ooops!


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 7:39 p.m.

Back to square one. No more extensions; this one shouldn't have been granted. Find a more competent agent.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 7:34 p.m.

Looks like a case of: "the best laid plans of mice and men" to me. I was just thinking back a few decades: to when Georgetown Mall was hip, trendy and upscale. Now, it's a derelict property requiring corporate welfare to the tune of $1 million. Once again, the public pays for private folly.


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 7:26 p.m.



Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 7:22 p.m.

This is the most predictable event of the year.

Alan Goldsmith

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 7:11 p.m.

Margie Teall? I thought YOU took credit for this project BEFORE the August Primary Election? Let me see if that is still listed on your website... "Teall said there's not much the city can do at this point. For the most part, she said, the city is sitting on the sidelines waiting for the demolition to happen." So are you going to say you were wrong taking credit now for this failure? I won't hold my breath.