Georgetown Mall demolition nearing final stages, remaining site work to wrap up by late July
"I saw it this morning and it's fully demolished except for the ATM that used to be in front of the Rite Aid," Jennifer Nguyen, a representative of the Georgetown neighborhood, said on Tuesday.
Daniel Brenner | AnnArbor.com
Nathan Voght, Washtenaw County's brownfield redevelopment coordinator, said the demolition work being partially funded by a $1 million state grant is on schedule to wrap up by the end of July.
With the demolition of the buildings finished, crews will turn their attention to other remaining work, including ripping out old light poles, the asphalt parking lot, curbing and other features.
They'll then level the site and prepare it for vertical development — an already approved, mixed-use project called Packard Square.
Bloomfield Hills-based developer Craig Schubiner of Harbor Georgetown LLC has plans to redevelop the 2502 Packard Road site and build a four-story building containing 230 apartment units and 23,790 square feet of retail space. Schubiner could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
City records show a company called PSAA LLC, working with architect Built Form, already applied for a building permit for Packard Square back on Nov. 13. The permit remains under review.
Bruce Measom, an attorney for the project, told City Council members on June 17 the plan is to start construction as soon as possible once the demolition is done.
"The demolition dragged on, so I'll believe it when I actually see it," said City Council Member Margie Teall, D-4th Ward.
Teall said she's "extremely happy" to see the blighted mall finally taken down because it was dangerous and attracted vandals and squatters.
Council Member Marcia Higgins, D-4th Ward, said she's taking the developer at his word that he'll be able to finish lining up the financing.
"I'm excited," she said. "We worked very hard to get it this far and I'm very hopeful the developer will be able to move forward with the project as quickly as possible.
"I hope it turns out to be as good of a project as they presented to us," she added. "I think that will be great for that neighborhood — a great addition to that neighborhood — and the neighborhood has been extremely patient as this process has gone through."
Higgins raised questions about delinquent taxes on the property at the City Council's last meeting. She said the property is current on its city taxes, otherwise the project couldn't move forward, but there's still roughly $98,000 in other taxes owed for 2012.
"I do know that for their 2012 taxes, in March when they became delinquent, the county paid the city for them so they were clear with us," she said.
County Treasurer Catherine McClary confirmed PSAA LLC owes roughly $98,000 in 2012 taxes, plus about $72,000 for the summer 2013 bill that just went out.
Voght said more than 3,500 tons of contaminated soils were removed from the property as part of the demolition and related cleanup work being done. That's all being replaced with clean soils.
He said officials working on the project still are assessing the need for a vapor barrier for future redevelopment of the site, but that would be done as part of construction.
A significant amount of grading work also is expected to be done so there's more of a gradual decline in elevation from the sidewalk into the site — instead of the steep slope there is now.
As for the financing for Packard Square, Voght said he can't speak to that directly, but he knows funding for projects like that can be very complicated.
"And usually the financing doesn't get fully committed until very close to when vertical construction begins," he said. "It's not like months in advance of the project they can say, 'Oh, we've got our money.' That's just not how financing works."
Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com's email newsletters.