Owner agrees to sell 2 South Division properties to University of Michigan
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
David Copi has agreed to sell two properties on South Division Street near downtown Ann Arbor to the University of Michigan so the school can make way for a new eight-story residence hall.
Copi was the only obstacle standing between the university and its proposed $185 million housing project.
The university had threatened to pursue eminent domain in order to acquire 541 and 543 S. Division because Copi originally had declined to sell the properties when approached in December, according to his son, Sam Copi.
After the university purchased four nearby houses owned by former athletic director Bill Martin in April, Copi, of Ann Arbor-based Copi Properties, reached a deal to sell the two houses to the university.
The sale has not been finalized.
"They approached us in December when Blimpy was sold. We could not come to an agreement at that point," Sam Copi said. The university purchased the property that houses Blimpy Burger and an apartment house, as well as a neighboring property, for $1.5 million in December.
Copi said the university's threat to acquire the two properties through eminent domain was "shocking." He said he wasn't aware the university had officially decided to pursue that route until reading about regents' April 18 decision on AnnArbor.com.
Copi said the issue was the price the university offered for the two properties, which initially was unsatisfactory to his father. Copi declined to comment on the negotiated purchase price for the two houses, but that information will become public once university officials formally approach the Board of Regents about the acquisition.
David Copi originally bought 541 S. Division in 1987 for $110,000. According to Ann Arbor records, the 0.9-acre property has an assessed value of $204,300, which indicates a market value of $408,600. The property at 543 S. Division, which also is 0.9 acres, has an assessed value of $161,900, indicating a market value of $323,800. Copi uses the properties as an income property, renting them to U-M undergraduates.
Copi said his father received above market value for the two houses.
The lease for one house expired last month, and Copi has not rented it again. Leases for the other property expire in September, although it is possible the university could ask tenants to move out in August.
The university plans to raze the eight houses it has acquired since December and erect an 8-story, 600-bed residence hall for graduate students. Plans for the project were approved by regents in April.
This article has been corrected to note that regents do not have to approve the purchase of these properties in a future meeting. When regents authorized the use of eminent domain in April, they gave their consent to the purchase. Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for AnnArbor.com. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.