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