Georgetown Mall demolition on hold as developer gets 6-month extension to show project financing
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.
Angela J. Cesere | AnnArbor.com
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 AnnArbor.com 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.