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Posted on Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 5:58 a.m.

More than $3 million in school taxes to help fund Georgetown Mall redevelopment in Ann Arbor

By Ryan J. Stanton


An artist rendition of the proposal for Packard Square, a redevelopment of the former Georgetown Mall site that would include 230 apartments.

From The Harbor Companies LLC

About $5.8 million in taxes is proposed to be captured over a 14-year period as part of a private developer's plan to finance a redevelopment of the former Georgetown Mall in Ann Arbor.

A 27-page brownfield plan and tax-increment financing table has been submitted to the city by Bloomfield Hills-based developer Packard Square LLC.

The $48.2 million project involves demolishing three existing buildings at 2502-2568 Packard St. and constructing a new four-story retail and residential building with 230 apartments.

The developer is seeking tax-increment financing to help pay for items such as cleanup of contaminated soils, demolition and lead and asbestos removal.

Through tax-increment financing, no existing taxes are abated. However, the incremental increases in tax revenues that result from improvements to a property are channeled back to the developer to help cover costs and provide an incentive for development.

The city's Brownfield Review Committee discussed the latest brownfield plan for the Packard Square project at its meeting Monday night. The developer has submitted a full report showing which tax dollars would be captured to help finance the project.


Matt Naud, the city's environmental coordinator, gives a report to the Brownfield Review Committee Monday night.

Ryan J. Stanton |

If the city approves the brownfield plan, more than $3 million in taxes would be diverted from schools to help finance the project. Another $1.24 million would be diverted from the city's general fund and the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority, nearly $16,000 from city parks, nearly $20,000 from city street repairs, more than $57,000 from Washtenaw County government, more than $15,400 from libraries, and lesser amounts from various entities.

Of the $5.8 million in eligible brownfield activities, $3.6 million would be directly reimbursable to the developer, plus another $717,236 in interest. Another $358,222 would go to the Washtenaw County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, while $1.18 million would go to what's known as the Local Site Remediation Revolving Fund to fund future remediation activities.

City Treasurer Matt Horning said it's important to note that none of the incremental taxes captured by the project would exist but for the project, so it's not technically lost tax revenue.

"Theoretically, these taxes never would have come about unless we had the development," he said. "Essentially what we're doing is we're agreeing to delay the taxation of the property."

And that delay would last through 2026.

Horning noted the developer owes more than $324,000 in delinquent taxes from 2009 and 2010 on the property that must be paid before the project can go forward.

The brownfield plan is expected to come back to committee for approval on April 25, with final approval of the project and the brownfield plan by the City Council following on May 2. The developer hopes to break ground on the project later this year.

The project was approved by the Planning Commission last month, but it was heavily criticized by commissioners for a lack of imagination in its design.

The committee discussed Monday night whether to ask the developer to do more soil removal than is outlined in the current brownfield plan. Matt Naud, the city's environmental coordinator, said the plan proposed by the developer would do a good job of cleaning up the site, but there's more soil — albeit less heavily contaminated — that could be removed.

"It's always better the more we can take out," Naud said. "I think the question is what's the added protection we get by spending $1.4 million removing an additional amount of soil, and whether we would prefer those monies get invested in this project and then repaid to the developer 20 years out, or 20 years out do we want those monies coming back into the tax rolls. It's just not clear to me at this point that we get a lot of additional benefit for that investment."

The developer traces the source of the site's environmental contamination to a dry-cleaning facility that once operated along the southern portion of the property. Previous investigations identified both soil and groundwater contamination, including chlorinated solvents.

Naud said it will be a policy question for the City Council to decide how far to go with cleanup of the site. The city could choose to have 2,300 truck tons of soil removed, or double that.

"The beauty of the brownfield process in Ann Arbor is in virtually anywhere in the state you could pave over a contaminated site, not remove any contamination, and that would be OK with the state," Naud said. "Here, what we're looking at is a question of just how much source removal, how much contaminated soil we're going to take away. And I think no matter what happens at this site, if the brownfield plan is approved, we will get a lot of source removal. A significant amount of the contamination will be removed."

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.



Sun, Apr 17, 2011 : 1:23 p.m.

Someone make sure we hold these developers and owners feet to the fire. This was obviously not done to the last group so now look at the mess this property is in. Let's not be in the same place 20 years from now!

joe baublis

Sun, Apr 17, 2011 : 3:48 a.m.

I suspect that if the editor had a different political agenda, an article could be drafted showing that City government is essentially holding the property owner hostage, extorting taxes, wrongfully assessing the property, and harming the People of the surrounding community with politics. Consider this, the City government's allegation that property taxes are delinquent is WRONG, because the taxes were wrongfully assessed in the first place. Had the assessor taken into account the actual cost of clean up together with the actual cost of dealing with the political agenda of the city government then the property value would be nothing but a massive liability for the owner and therefore NOT taxable. But no, our city government does not retroactively adjust taxes nor properly assess property on it's true value because once the assessment statute has run the government has the owner under it's exclusive control. And we property owners are denied the right to have a jury of our peers in tax appeal matters, and our courts offer no relief because they are a joke of justice because they are biased (with a few promising exceptions) in favor of the government instead of with the PEOPLE. Furthermore, Michigan's tax tribunal and court system assists and supports corrupt tax assessments by placing burdens on property owners but not assessors. This puts property owners at a disadvantage. Add on the State and Federal obligations and you've just about crushed free enterprise, and the result is plain to see - another vacant commercial site, no jobs, no business, no revenue, just politicians saying "no" and referring to their manual. To all Ann Arbor take notice: that mall would be thriving with business and commerce were it not for clandestine corruption in your government. There are homes and businesses across the County and State facing the same fate. This situation has resulted because the government is taking too much and cannot stop.


Sun, Apr 17, 2011 : 1:28 p.m.

Wow!!! Well said


Sat, Apr 16, 2011 : 8:49 p.m.

Seriously, are we so desperate for construction on this land that we will approve any proposal that comes along and even to finance it with taxpayers' money. The city should take a good hard look at the developer's financials. If he even has trouble paying his taxes from 2009, how will he handle a 48 million project? Do the math 48.2M minus the 3.6M in tax incentives Schubiner will be receiving, he will need $44.6M to complete the deal. Will he run out of money before completion and then ask for a bailout? Lets just hope he doesn't pay the back taxes and the city put the property into foreclosure and go to public auction. We need another developer who has a better idea to build up this place and WITHOUT spending our taxpayers' money. With the current developer, I have a deja vu feeling and its called Bloomfield Park...


Thu, Apr 14, 2011 : 8:39 p.m.

Does the city ever look into the reputation and past performance of the developers who pitch projects? I hear that these people owe some poor little town, somewhere around here, $324K in back taxes. And with reference to how they're planning on bringing it up to grade with Packard Road: they plan on using the excavated dirt from the contamination mitigation as fill for the current parking lot area. Makes sense to me.


Thu, Apr 14, 2011 : 5:01 p.m.

HMM $ 3 Million from the schools .is that the reason for the schoolswebsite> $ 1 Million reason to donate to the ann arbor schools. does that make each schoolkid a holder of a bond or share for profit?


Thu, Apr 14, 2011 : 4:20 p.m.

Well I have a piece of land for you , $ 52 million of waterstreet land in downtown Ypsilanti, the developer back out after 5 years. the city lost.

John Q

Wed, Apr 13, 2011 : 5:30 p.m.

This is a massive taxpayer subsidy to a private developer. When these new tax dollars get diverted into the developer's pocket, every other taxpayer has to make up the difference. The same right-wingers who scream about welfare queens stealing from their wallets apparently have no problem when the thief in question is one of their buddies in the corporate welfare class.

John Q

Wed, Apr 13, 2011 : 8:15 p.m.

Sorry but your lame attempt to deflect the issue failed. Feel free to continue to support corporate welfare. But it just exposes the hypocrisy of your anti-government ramblings.

Macabre Sunset

Wed, Apr 13, 2011 : 7 p.m.

Your comparison would only work if, for example, we deferred property taxes on homes welfare queens purchased, and then the value increased because they invested in renovations. The same left-wingers who scream about evil corporations have no problem with individuals who do absolutely nothing for society except demand tribute.

Lets Get Real

Wed, Apr 13, 2011 : noon

Is anyone worried that this developer has a track record of take the incentives and run? Drive by his project on Telegraph, just north of Square Lake. I'd love to see the Georgetown property developed into something that improves the neighborhood, but I certainly don't want an unfinished eyesore that continues to devalue property in the neighborhood like that N. Telegraph project. We need a finished property that produces no tax revenue for the city/schools/parks/etc. We've got enough non-revenue producing properties in Ann Arbor (every property bought by the UM consistently increases that number) By diverting tax charges, I understand how it eases the developers initial costs for brownfield cleanup and already invested planning costs. There is, however, a fine line between incentifying a building a project, and making the project disposable for the developer by minimizing his investment an incentifying him walking away from a project when yet unrecognized issues arise. Are we being held hostage? (Give me what I ask or have your eyesore for more years) OR, are we being collaborative strategic partners? (we'll give a little to get a little)? It comes down to trust. People do business with people they know, they like and they trust. What do we know about this developer? Do we like his past project results, do we like his ethics, does he have integrity? Do we trust he will do what he says? Don't be fooled by alarmist headlines. It drew you in didn't it. You read the article. Now voice you opinion - yes, with the city, but more importantly with the city. Engage in your community's affairs.

Bob Bethune

Wed, Apr 13, 2011 : 12:42 p.m.

Amen! The track record here is clear. These people cannot be trusted to do the job right. Seize the property for the back taxes owed and force a sale to someone who is trustworthy.

Will Warner

Wed, Apr 13, 2011 : 9:26 a.m.

If I understand it, we can "divert" $3M from the schools by agreeing to this plan, or "divert" more than $3M by not agreeing. If someone else materializes willing to develop a contaminated site without incentives, that would be great. But in the meantime we are living with an eyesore, and 100% of nothing doesn't buy many school books.

Ashok Gopalakrishnan

Wed, Apr 13, 2011 : 3:13 a.m.

What bothers me about this plan is that the developer (Packard Square LLC) and the property owner (Harbor Georgetown LLC) are basically one and the same. Harbor Georgetown LLC has owned Georgetown Mall since 2/28/2001 (City of A2 records) and their management of the property since then does not inspire confidence in me. They were dangerously close to foreclosure in early 2010, and now they owe more than $324,000 in back taxes for 2009 and 2010. Over the years, the mall steadily fell into disrepair. A2 city council, in the fall of 2007 (city council meeting 10/15/2007, file number 07-0192), had approved a redevelopment plan put forward by Harbor Georgetown LLC, but nothing happened, ostensibly because of Kroger's indecision at that time on staying at the mall. Given that the owner and developer are the same, and given their track record of handling/maintaining the property, the city should play hardball here and make any approval of the plan contingent upon all back taxes being paid up front. That would, I hope, put pressure on the developer to follow through with the plan. The city should also try and get a full explanation from the developer as to why no action was taken on the 2007 plan that was approved. All this said, redevelopment of the lot is sorely needed. I think the number of residential units proposed (230) is on the high side, but would go along with it. Overall, it will be a good thing for the neighborhood. I just wish I could be more confident about this developer's ability to do it right.


Thu, Apr 14, 2011 : 2:49 a.m.

I agree as well. I can't get past the back taxes problem. Please pay the back taxes first and then we'll worry about the future project.


Wed, Apr 13, 2011 : 5:20 p.m.

Bravo - Good detective work. Not THIS may be a reason to oppose it. Give the incentives to a less shady developer if what you say is true, but given the contamiation, don't fool yourself into thinking it won't get done without a little help.

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 11:17 p.m.

I keep coming back to this line in the story... "Essentially what we're doing is we're agreeing to delay the taxation of the property." If that is accurate as written I am good with the idea. But if "we the people" are going to cut the guy a check for anything at any point then I have a problem.


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 9:46 p.m.

I was under the impression the private sector is well suited to run business effectively and efficiently. Is not all costs associated with building a business the responsibility of the business and not taxpayers. Why do businesses need their hands in the public till to pay for their private endeavors and gains. Going into business is risky and the risk is to be born by the business and not taxpayers otherwise the business is a public enterprise. It doesn't matter to me if the tax money is taken over one year or 14 years. Costs associated with building a business are the responsibility of the business. it astounding how effective and efficient business are when their costs are born by the people and then the people blame government for being inefficient. Let the business pay it's own bills and stop taking from everyone else.


Wed, Apr 13, 2011 : 2:02 a.m.

How much of that "bill" is due to environmental regulations passed by the government? On a parcel polluted by the prior tenents, including a dry cleaner? Who are no longer around to pay the clean up bill. So, if you want to look at chain link and abandoned buildings, stick to your guns. If you want it cleaned up and looking good, go fo the abatement. I don't give a rip either way, I'll just go to Fraisers via Stadium so I don't have to look at the Detroit-esq landscape over there. You are welcome to it.


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 8:39 p.m.

Regarding the questions about the grade of this building front and back, if I'm not mistaken, the plan is to have parking below. So, with parking below, the second level would come up to Packard on the front. I am presuming that on the back the parking area would ne more visible and level with Page Avenue.

Rob Pollard

Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 6:29 p.m.

Some folks are acting like, "Hey, if it doesn't get built, we don't get these taxes anyway" - we won't "lose" the TIF captured taxes (which result from the $6 million increase in value of the property) b/c they weren't there to being with. In other words, there's no cost to this development, just a smaller "win" (i.e., less tax revenue, but at least there will be some) for Ann Arbor. However, remember this is not a retail-only development. There are going to be 230 apartments. I have no idea how many school-aged kids will be in those apartments (25? 50? 100?), but in short, we will have to pay for those kids schooling, b/c the owners of those homes ultimately won't - their taxes will be going to the developer, not to the schools. That's likely hundreds of thousands of dollars every year for 14 years (until 2026) that these kids will be educated on someone else's dime. In short, the residential dwellers will pay the school taxes (so they've done their part), but the developer will take them, not the school. Unless there is some magic money lying around in the AAPS budget, can we afford to add scores of kids with no means to pay for them?

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 7:07 p.m.

Isn't this the perfect vehicle for capturing new students at a time when Ann Arbor is pushing schools of choice out of perceived desperation? If the population were growing quickly, as it is in states that aren't experiencing an economic crisis, I would see your point as insightful. But the population is decreasing, and school funding is at least partially dependent on head count.

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 6:25 p.m.

Sounds like the headline writer needs a quick course in how this type of incentive works. Or maybe it's an example of journalistic activism, and the next headline will read, "schoolchildren may be forced to clean radioactive waste by evil corporate mogul." The city planning commission met, and criticized the evil corporate mogul because the haz-mat uniforms being purchased for the schoolchildren did not show enough imagination in color or style.


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 4:50 p.m.

Come on people think this all the way through. With all the vacant retail lots available across the city, county and state, why would a developer choose a site with the added cost of a brownfield clean up? The TIF is an incentive. Without such an incentive no developer will take on the added clean up costs. Question is do you want this site redeveloped or not?


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 4:20 p.m.

if it's not commercially viable without public funds, it shouldn't be built.


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 4:10 p.m.

@Ryan, Could you explain more about the $3 million in school taxes being diverted? Are they being diverted from Ann Arbor schools? Statewide? Under what law does the developer get access to monies for schools? I thought those were dedicated funds. Clearly I don't understand how the brownfield laws work but I'm sure I'm not the only one.


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 3:54 p.m.

Why is it that the largest amount is being diverted from our schools? They are diverting 3 million from schools and only 1.5 million from the city general fund, and 57,000 from Washtenaw County Government. Why don't they turn this model around and divert 3 million from the city's general fund and/or Washtenaw County Government?! They can then divert 57,000 from the schools. If the money is coming back to the community, it can go back to the city's general fund or Washtenaw County Government. What an injustice to the educational community in our county!


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 3:46 p.m.

After reading some of the comments: Money is not being diverted from schools! Why: because they are not going to get the money unless the property improves i.e. develops Nobody is getting any money now i.e the city or the poor school children Why: the present owner is not paying his tax bill! So, why not develop this mall so everybody can make money! the city, the poor school children and the big bad greedy development company.


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 2:36 p.m.

And hey... That artists rendition is missing the pot-holes on Packard. It sure looks as though they are going to need a ton of grading and fill to bring it that close and level with Packard.... Is that the actual intention? Or, are they just trying to make it look like something that is worth approving...???


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 2:23 p.m.

This is a horrible idea. It would be one thing if the developer just didn't have to pay the taxes - thus receiving an abatement. However, a tax CREDIT means hard tax dollars - paid by other property owners across the entire state - are being diverted to the developer in the form of a credit. The developer gets the cash instead of the STATE, CITY, or SCHOOLS. Not only that, but the development puts increased pressure on the private sector housing struggles, adding more capacity. Do we not have enough already? If the private sector thinks this is a good idea, then great - develop it and pay the taxes like everyone else. The state and city picking winners, making the rest of us losers, is not what I want from government. Let them go into foreclosure, don't pay the taxes, bulldoze the property, and the city has another park. If the owner does not want this, then figure out a use that doesn't involve the PUBLIC financing it. Nobody said they had to buy it. Too many people think they can let a property go into disrepair and then claim "Brownsfield! Brownsfield!" Total scamola. Everything from a house that catches fire to a strip mall that suffers poor location. Brownsfield has been such a money maker for the city of Detroit, hasn't it? Just look at all of those tax dollars! So, technically, I'm not buying the "but it's money that wouldn't exist if they didn't develop it...." technicality.

Walter P Duro

Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 1:43 p.m.

Another example of government interference in the economy. Governor Snyder pronounced the "end of the era of tax breaks as we know it", the key words being, "as we know it". Government at all levels love these give aways as a means to increase power. Snyder may change the name, change the mechanism, but the beat goes on. Business love the relationship because they can risk someone else's money rather than their own.


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 1:31 p.m.

The logic here is perplexing. Is the assertion really that without access to the tax increment financing, the land owner would continue to let this property decay and build nothing? My BS detector is on....


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 4:19 p.m.

I'm saying it's a shell game. They're seeking $4 mil in tax abatements for a $48 million project. If they can't get financial backing without a TIF, perhaps the market (i.e., lenders) can only bear a smaller project?

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 3:57 p.m.

To add to Brad's point that happens in a lot of places these days. It happened to that motel on Jackson and I-94 . The Farmer Jacks on Washtenaw just east of Golfside has sat empty for years. Those are two off the top of my head.


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 2:30 p.m.

Well that is certainly EXACTLY what has been happening there. If they can't get financing, what would you expect them to do?


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 1:27 p.m.

Nice headline and repeated misleading use of "divert". Sheesh.


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 1:25 p.m.

I would like to state that this headline is extraordinarily inaccurate, and causing false controversy. No funds are being taken away from schools. When a TIFA is implemented, the tax value of a property at the time of implementation is recorded as a base tax level. As the property value of the TIFA district increases, those increased tax revenues are not treated as general property taxes. Instead, the tax revenues above the base amount from when the TIFA was created are instead directed to: 1) a group such as a downtown development authority 2) another form of development authority 3) further site clean-up and development, performed by either a government or private entity. I quite hope the journalistic quality of improves in the near future. A good start would be to stop creating false controversies such as this.


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 1:13 p.m.

Very misleading headline. "City Treasurer Matt Horning said it's important to note that none of the incremental taxes captured by the project would exist but for the project, so it's not technically lost tax revenue." Sensational journalism at its best.


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 1:01 p.m.

Could I please have a go at the headline? Money taken from widows and orphans to be sunk in a hole in the ground! Teachers money swiped and given to fat cat real estate millionaires! School kids pay the price for to make a real estate developer RICH! Of course none of these are any more true than the original headline, but nice "National Enquirer" headlines. We are not giving anything up, since we don't have anything now. We are foregoing future short term taxes for the sake of longer term taxes. I do wish we could negotiate a better deal and get some money now when we need it. Or maybe extend the tax abatement, but make it smaller etc. The fact is, if the numbers are not there, the project won't get done. Nobody will invest in a money losing proposition. The "fat cats" that are fronting this will just go to Troy or Livonia or someplace else if we can't make the numbers work. Sorry, that's life.


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 4:56 p.m.

...or someplace else. You fill in the blank. Bloomfield? Brighton? Novi? Whatever. Contrary to the opinion within the freeway right, this place isn't the center of the universe and people actually do enjoy living, building and spending money in places other than AA. The point of the post wasn't which suburb, but that the money was portable. Of course you knew that.


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 2:28 p.m.

Ha - Troy and Livonia are such the hot spot for development these days, aren't they? Come on... Responses like that totally discredit an already spurious response....


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 1:46 p.m.

Check out the other article on loss of tax revenue. We already lose more tax revenue to parks than UM. I wouldn't want to lose this prime piece as well. Isn't there another big park about 1/4 mile southwest?


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 1:17 p.m.

Lets raze it and build a nice park. I think everyone can go for that. I know I could.


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 12:55 p.m.

"This town needs an enema!" (administered directly through the backdoors of City Hall and the Ann Arbor Public School Board of Education Building)

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 12:53 p.m.

"City Treasurer Matt Horning said it's important to note that none of the incremental taxes captured by the project would exist but for the project, so it's not technically lost tax revenue. "Theoretically, these taxes never would have come about unless we had the development," he said. "Essentially what we're doing is we're agreeing to delay the taxation of the property." To me this is the crucial point to ponder and debate the merits of. Cops, firefighters and fountains are NOT part of the equation.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 12:52 p.m.

"This has been standard practice in the state for brownfield re-development for almost a decade." Really? You, of course, can provide a web link? Good Night and Good Luck

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 12:50 p.m.

YES!!! And make the teachers take a pay cut to cover these costs!!! Good Night and Good Luck

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 6:24 p.m.

My computer, apparently, lost its sarcasm button this AM. Good Night and Good Luck

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 6:20 p.m.

I see no evidence of either Ed's assertion or Marshall's second assertion.

Marshall Applewhite

Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 4:36 p.m.

Another person taking the bait. ERMG, come on. You're smarter than this.


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 12:42 p.m.

This has been standard practice in the state for brownfield re-development for almost a decade. The headline is alarmist. If the Mall is not re-built not only would the $3 million not exist, but the current school taxes would disappear over time as people appealed the valuation of the property. We have a choice, let them rebuild and increase the value of surrounding property or leave it as a dump and watch the neighborhood follow.


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 12:40 p.m.

With all of the current and future education budget cuts, the city should definitely reconsider diverting education funds to a commercial/housing project. It is unconscionable that our children will lose out so that a developer can make money.

Urban Sombrero

Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 12:22 p.m.

The artists concept picture looks nice. It's a far cry from what's there now. Just out of curiosity, though, how are they going to make it street level? That's a pretty big hole there. And, if it's street level to Packard, what about the back of the lot, toward the residential area? Are they going to build a huge retaining wall or what? I don't get how this will work.


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 12:33 p.m.

And another question we may ask is, what happens to the contaminated soil that's removed? A landfill? Sterilization?


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 12:18 p.m.

i am sorry but schools are taking a hit from everyone. got to remember we need a pipe line of children growing up and working. i really do not care if it is here or any place else. kids need education. just remember do it now and pay later. want our school system to get lower ratings. that will stop people from getting jobs here. most people come to work in ann arbor look at schools. then they pick a house to live in.

Tim Darton

Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 11:58 a.m.

The Brownfiield $$ don't come out of local school revenues but from a state wide pool and state is supposed to hold the pool harmless by putting other $$ in. I don't know if they do. The idea is that in the long run the new development will more than make up for it tax dollars and a polluted/blighted site gets developed. It's a good program.


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 11:37 a.m.

So lets get the record straight: Ann Arbor faces cuts to its education budget and is now planning to divert available school tax revenues to a subsidize a mall developer? Sounds like education has lost its prominence in Ann Arbor when strip malls come before education.

Marshall Applewhite

Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 4:34 p.m.

Ron, You took the bait. This headline is clearly intentionally misleading, and it was good to see everyone until you ignored it.


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 1:15 p.m.

I am thinking same. Education needs the money but yet we are diverting it to build that ugly thing that is in the middle of a residential neighborhood? I think we need to tone it down a bit and make it look like it should be there. Otherwise, no to diverting school tax money to build that eyesore and no to the mileage in May.

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 12:50 p.m.

It not a diversion of "available school tax revenues" your incorrect. Its a diversion of potential revenues that don't currently exist and won't exist if the project doesn't happen according to the article.


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 12:02 p.m.

Not only education but public safety too.


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 11:30 a.m.

This brings up the issue of how all these tax abatements end up hurting the local communities more than helping. If all municipalities and states stopped these tax abatements, then developers would not be able to play communities or states against each other.

Bob Heinold

Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 11:29 a.m.

So the banksters and developers have until 2026 for more "development" and tax-avoidance.


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 11:22 a.m.

I agree with DennisP. The headline of this article was very misleading. AnnArbor.Com should do better.


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 11:16 a.m.

Given Mr Fraser's budget recommendations in another article, I find the timing of this proposal ludicrous. In fourteen years, at this rate, this shiny new development will burn to the gound after being repeatedly robbed at gunpoint.


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 11:04 a.m.

Let's avoid the alarmism. It's $3 million pro-rated over 14 years of taxes from enhanced valuation resulting from a development and cleanup. The headline and much of the story makes it sound like $3 million will be taken immediately out of school budgets and reallocated to a private developer. The reason for brownfield laws is to make unattractive properties attractive. Seems like it may be working here.

Bertha Venation

Wed, Apr 13, 2011 : 12:42 p.m.

Thank you for the clarification, Dennis. I was starting to get concerned about that.