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Posted on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.

Georgetown Mall: Developer's attorney sends neighbors latest update

By Paula Gardner

The development team behind Packard Square - the mixed-use concept approved for the former Georgetown Mall in Ann Arbor - now says it hopes to demolish the vacant structure in April.

The condition of the vacant property was raised last week during conversation at a City Council meeting as officials considered new processes for addressing blight.

georgetown.jpg files

The developers previously said they hoped to demolish last year. However, a timetable for its demolition comes via email from attorney Bruce Measom to a group of concerned neighbors.

Measom is the liaison between developer Craig Schubiner and the city on the project, and he sends regular updates.

Pending issues include the brownfield cleanup, small redesigns to cut costs, finalizing the development agreement timetable and dealing with the footing drain disconnects that are mandated in the project.

The property is at 2502 Packard.

Here is the full text of Measom's email:

We wanted to provide a brief update on some recent activity on the Packard Square project.

We have been working with the MDEQ on the grant documentation, which is the primary source of funds for the environmental cleanup and building demolition. For example, the state has requested a property restriction be recorded to run with the land to ensure that a vapor barrier system is installed if there are residual vapor pathways following the site remediation. We have hired an environmental attorney to work through this documentation with the MDEQ. Once that documentation is finalized, and the grant is approved, we will immediately re-connect with the County to get the ball rolling again on the demolition and remediation procurement process. It appears that once the grant is approved, we may need to work through a formal “development agreement” with the County for the grant work. However, we cannot begin that process until the state grant is approved.


A rendering of Packard Square.

From The Harbor Companies LLC

The value engineering feedback received from the major subcontractors (electrical, mechanical, plumbing) has pointed to a number of cost-saving measures. We are in the process of revising the building plans in order to realize those savings to ensure the project comes in within budget. In connection with these final revisions to plans, we will likely be submitting a revised site plan set for administrative review (these will be very minor changes, such as interior floor plan changes, slight revisions to window sizes, making the front building façade line up more evenly with the stair towers, and possibly adding or moving a few parking spaces).

We have received a revised Development Agreement from the City; and, while most of the suggested changes have been made, our general contractor has some additional comments that affect their construction sequencing. We have made a request for a follow-up conference call out to the City attorney’s office.

We have been calling and meeting with multi-family property managers in the area to initiate the Footing Drain Disconnect discussions. So far, after several meetings and site visits with multi-family properties identified on an FDD map supplied by the City, those multi-family properties either (A) seem to have no FDs connected to sanitary, or (B) they don’t want to discuss it further for their internal reasons (i.e., they are too busy, don’t believe they have this condition, or don’t want to be bothered with it, etc.). However, we will keep calling and meeting with other facility managers in an effort to keep the FDD process moving. Not only are the Footing Drain Disconnects required for (certificates of occupancy) but also right now they are one of the moving targets in the construction budget which we are hoping to quantify more accurately soon.

There have been many other things happening too, but these are the major agenda items impacting the timing of demolition and construction “on the ground”.



Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 11:06 p.m.

Put more heat on your city council members to require that this be torn down by a fixed date or to have the city do the work and tack the cost onto the overdue tax bill for the property: Ward 3 Stephen Kunselman, Chris Taylor, Ward 4 Marcia Higgins, Margie Teall,


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 4:42 a.m.

The invisible women from Ward 4 ? They don't respond to mere constituents, and generally don't bother to attend city council meetings on time or in full, if at all.

Paula Gardner

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 8:48 p.m.

I just got the delinquent tax report on the property via <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>. There are still back taxes due: $112,003.98.


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 4:40 a.m.

For what tax year ?


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 8:41 p.m.

About Six Months ago County Commissioners asked Mr. Meason for a list of investors (to Fund this Project). Mr. Meason replied that he had around 42 names and he would forward to the commission. Question, Did he send this list and can I get a link to it? And are, Any and all Taxes on this property paid in full and current? Feedback from the neighboorhood is mixed, perhaps they are unaware of potential flooding issues as a result of the proposed disconnecting of the footing drain pipes. Many Questions Remain. The City Planning Office told me no permits (to do anything) would be issued unless and until a developers agreement with the city was signed. Are City Officials on top of this stuff? Taxpayers -- Be Advised....................

Tom Whitaker

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 5:29 p.m.

Any word on the &quot;revised development agreement&quot; being brought back to City Council for a public vote, or will those affected only be able to find out what the City Attorney did behind closed doors by filing a Freedom of Information Act Request (which will likely be denied on the basis that the agreement is not final yet)?


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 4:19 p.m.

If I just let my house run down, can I apply for a Brownfield development? Seriously, why put other businesses that are already struggling at risk by providing tax payer assistance to the project. If the private market can't do it on its own, tear it down. Same thing goes with those properties on Stadium across from that over priced grocery store. Shouldn't have bought the property if you can't develop it. In the words of Ronald Reagan... &quot;Tear down this mall!&quot;

Wolf's Bane

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 3:55 p.m.



Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 3:24 p.m.

Or B? Too busy? I hate to say it but the ones who are too busy are going to find something growing in their backyard they may not want and then it will be too late to say, hey, what is that thing? I for one want a new grocery store in that complicated strip mall. There is no local Krogers that I like walking to.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 2:52 p.m.

The Packard Square development will be interesting to follow. Already state government facilities are arranging to reimburse developers for $3.6 million of the total eligible brownfield activities, plus another $717,236 in interest. This reimbursement for site development will come from future TIF payments estimated at $5.8 million over 14 years, significantly reducing the project's future tax liabilities. Thus, the city will receive much less tax revenue than usually expected. Apparently, the city is frequently paying for site development which has been the responsibility of private developers. Success of the Packard Square development is not assured. The high cost of other recent apartment construction has caused leasing rates to be high. Packard Square may fail to achieve profitable occupancy rates with similarly expensive leasing rates. Furthermore, the 21,000 feet of commercial space is speculative construction since no occupants have been publicly announced as of this time as far as I can tell.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 3:21 p.m.

I really hope Krogers moves back into one of these spaces. That Krogers on Stadium? Is a sham. The people who work there are not nice at all. The ones at the Packard? Very nice.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 1:26 p.m.

I'd really like to see them get moving on this. It's a great spot where businesses will do very well.

Esch Park

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 1:21 p.m.

This really feels like a project not happening. The City needs to force the developer to demolish this blight.

Wolf's Bane

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 5:52 p.m.

Agreed. A big empty field akin to what we have on Washtenaw across from Whole Paycheck is better than this ruin.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 4:34 p.m.

A big field would be preferable to what is there now. It was a big field for decades before the shopping center was built.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 3:19 p.m.

Even if they do get it demolished in April? It could be another year before something goes up. Right now this economy is still having issues and if the developer is having money problems? Then we will see a big field in front of Packard for a long long time.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 1:18 p.m.

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah...Same old sad story. Can't wait for them to come back and ask for more money, because you know that's coming.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 1:10 p.m.

I wouldn't bet the farm on this project seeing completion.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 12:10 p.m.

This rendering looks like the parking lot &amp; ground floor of the building will be level with Packard Rd. Can that be? Or is this rendering drawn to show the view from Page Ave? It's hard to image that property being raised to the level of Packard Rd.


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 3:11 a.m.

It is that level, wait for the rainwater run off that the neighborhood west of there will experience.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 3:18 p.m.

I don't either. I don't think the residents behind that monolith would either. Besides, who would want something that huge over shadowing them? I wouldn't. I think they will keep it that level, one would hope.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 12:04 p.m.

After receiving that and noticing that it was totally devoid of any type of schedule Measom was asked about that and gave the following reply regarding demolition: &quot;We hope it will start in 30-45 days. We are awaiting Washtenaw County to start their bidding process and are doing everything we can to expedite that.&quot; I'll believe it when I see it. They haven't hit a date yet. If this was anywhere near downtown it would never have been allowed to go on like this and create such a blight on the neighborhood.