You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Tue, Apr 5, 2011 : 5:59 a.m.

Library Lot and former Y site will be focus of Ann Arbor's downtown redevelopment planning

By Ryan J. Stanton


The Ann Arbor City Council was presented this map Monday night showing parcels owned by the city downtown. Council members decided to direct their attention to redevelopment of only those properties in the area bound by Liberty, Ashley, William and Division streets.

As the city of Ann Arbor ponders the future redevelopment of city-owned properties downtown, a core district surrounding the Library Lot will be the focus of strategic planning efforts.

The City Council decided Monday night the area will be bound by William Street to the south, Ashley Street to the west, Liberty Street to the north and Division Street to the east.

The area includes three surface parking lots — the Library Lot, Y Lot and Palio Lot — and the city's Fourth and William parking garage.


Christopher Taylor

The map was set in place as part of a "parcel-by-parcel plan" resolution the council voted 10-0 to approve with Council Member Stephen Rapundalo, D-2nd Ward, absent.

The resolution calls on the Downtown Development Authority to help come up with an overarching strategy for redeveloping city-owned properties in the area identified. It also asks the DDA to facilitate the process of writing and distributing effective requests for proposals from developers and to help bring development projects to the City Council for approval.

Council Member Christopher Taylor, D-3rd Ward and a sponsor of the resolution, said the DDA will use gathered data and public feedback to draft a parcel-by-parcel plan.

"The DDA will then take that draft plan, vet it through experts and another instance of robust public input, bring it up through Planning Commission and City Council, and we will thereafter review and consider it and, if approved, add it to our Downtown Plan," he said. "At that point, the DDA will begin leading the implementation of that parcel-by-parcel plan, seeking to effect the development of those identified parcels."

The map that came out of Monday's discussions was a compromise. The original proposal, which was debated at the meeting, called for the DDA to help come up with a plan for 16 city properties scattered throughout the entire downtown.

A number of council members said they had little interest in putting the DDA up to the task of developing that broad of a master plan and instead wanted to focus on the city's top priorities, which are the Library Lot and the Y Lot.

"We have investment in the ground at the Library Lot and we have a balloon payment of $3.5 million due in two years at the Y Lot," Council Member Stephen Kunselman, D-3rd Ward, reminded his peers on council. "That's pretty pressing, if you ask me."

One of the cited benefits of having the DDA play a stronger role in the city's RFP processes is the DDA's ability to bring in expertise and hire consultants.

The parcel-by-parcel plan resolution approved Monday night is one of two items that city and DDA officials have been working to negotiate over the last several months. The other is a new parking agreement that would provide for the transfer of a certain percentage of downtown parking revenues from the DDA to the city on an annual basis.

Taylor gave an update on those negotiations, saying DDA representatives have agreed to take back to the full board a proposal that would have the city getting 16 percent of parking revenues each of the next two years, followed by 17.5 percent in the third year.

Up until now, the DDA has been trying to get the city to agree to 14 percent each of the next two years, followed by 15 percent in the third year.

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 e-mail newsletters.



Tue, Apr 5, 2011 : 8:43 p.m.

That little lot cost the city $3,500,000? What is the matter with this city government? What is its appraised value? Ryan, could you kindly check on that?

Tom Joad

Tue, Apr 5, 2011 : 6:23 p.m.

How about a park?


Tue, Apr 5, 2011 : 3:53 p.m.

There they go again. Take prime spots of real estate and dangle them in front of developers who will put in 3 to 4 years of planning only to get turned down like the library lot project. It would be preferable to get solid public input and go with what the majority of the residents like to see.


Tue, Apr 5, 2011 : 1:07 p.m.

The DDA is facing a budgetary deficit again. Its revenue comes from two sources, TIF and parking fees. At this point only Zaragon 2 will offer new TIF revenue and that may not start until after construction. The DDA can not afford to transfer parking fee revenue to the City. Furthermore, the DDA should only replace parking facilities with commercial development that will generate more money than would be received from parking fees. The selection of the Shumaker Company to analyze the Housing Commission operations and of the Roxbury Group to analyze the Valiant Partners proposal shows that neither the DDA nor the City Council has any expertise in hiring consultants.


Tue, Apr 5, 2011 : 2:24 p.m.

Good points! I would also like to know if the city will lose net parking revenue from UM on the Fuller Station proposal? Now is not the time to be giving away any of our revenue generators.


Tue, Apr 5, 2011 : 1:42 p.m.

They have expertise in hiring puppet consultants who agree with the city's position.


Tue, Apr 5, 2011 : 12:26 p.m.

More jumping through hoops. Death to public input by committees under control of the bureaucracy. Yet another plan to circumvent the will of the people and put more power in the hands of the unelected DDA. If these tactics weren't successful in the last several attempts? Try, try again


Tue, Apr 5, 2011 : 11:39 a.m.

"One of the cited benefits of having the DDA play a stronger role in the city's RFP processes is the DDA's ability to bring in expertise and hire consultants." Why would that be? The city hasn't demonstrated any lack of ability to bring in outside "expertise" for just about every single thing that they address. Why would the DDA have any greater "ability" than the city as a whole? That's just made-up stuff.


Tue, Apr 5, 2011 : 10:19 a.m.

Message to city and DDA: Competently devise master plan for area for next fifty years. Involve UM planners and students. Clarify the requirements of use and construction to identify true opportunity for private developers. Sell the properties in question. Tax them. Continue city services and protections. Pay unfunded pensions and healthcare. Live up to responsibilities of municipal service, protection, and care. Thrive in these areas. City of Ann Arbor residents will receive great benefit.