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Posted on Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.

Unclear if Library Lane underground parking garage will open in time for Art Fair

By Amy Biolchini


The Library Lane underground parking structure celebrated its grand opening Thursday night, but now will be closed through at least Wednesday.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Delays due to final inspections have put the new $50 million Library Lane underground parking garage in jeopardy of not being open in time for the 53rd Ann Arbor Art Fair next week.

Though Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority officials celebrated the grand opening of the structure Thursday, the garage has yet to open to the public for parking.

Susan Pollay, executive director of the DDA, said Friday afternoon that there is a possibility the garage may not be open in time for the Art Fair.

“We’re very glad that it is constructed, if not for this year for future years,” Pollay said.


Susan Pollay

Ryan J. Stanton |

Among other last-minute work being done on the project, an elevator inspection has yet to be completed and is scheduled for July 17, the day before hundreds of thousands of people will flock to downtown Ann Arbor.

Should the garage clear all of its inspections, the first day the garage could open would be the first day of the Art Fair on July 18, Pollay said.

The structure has 711 spaces in four levels below ground, and additional 52 spaces above ground. It will cost $1.10 an hour to park in it.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.



Fri, Nov 9, 2012 : 1:39 a.m.

While the construction was under way, sort of, the pit was flooded with ground water almost level with the street. That slowed the 'construction' quite a bit for two years until the city 'experts' found someone who knew the business they have not had any clue of. I for one will never park there for obvious reasons stated above. So much for attending downtown Ann Arbor. I bet they saved money by not providing any sump pumps either. Andrew. ....The structure has 711 spaces in four levels below ground,


Fri, Nov 9, 2012 : 1:13 a.m.

The underground money pit next to AA library took 3 years to complete and still needs generators to power the sump pumps when it rains. For 3 years the venerable 1957 vintage library has been inaccessible due to the extensive digging next to it, denying access to what used to be a friendly place to visit and soak up the homely feel of Ann Arbor before it became the People Republic Of Ann Arbor with its ambitions to have a German art-smart artist install a fountain in front of the building you cannot admire driving by, and one that does not work in the summer and freezes solid in the winter. That is what you get when the greenvironment oriented flunkies of Ann Arbor city hall want more money to expand city parks, while the 21 acres of Miller park bursts with poison ivy and mosquitoes you would not send your child through and survive to get back home. By neglecting the prime land within Ann Arbor and sending potential Ann Arborites out of Ann Arbor, our city makes sure Ann Arbor will remain a fringe of U of M fame, and fumble as usual otherwise. I used to enjoy Ann Arbor library when it was accessible without earning a parking ticket, the same 3 years ago. -Except for the home for homeless, known as Delaney's center, build on the flood plain to house 130 of those in need that became a magnet nation-wide and is currently overbooked for the next decade, the only Ann Arbor initiative to attract a renown among the needy by providing a smoking lounge in comfortable ambiance of severely ventilated space to make sure smokers are not going to be subject to the danger of pneumonia while smoking in Ann Arbor winter outside. At the initial cost of $150,000 a bed, plus $34,000 per year person maintenance cost, Ann Arbor did prove compassion is what Ann Arbor is all about.


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 2:25 a.m.

One of the many things that I like about AA is the small town atmosphere, which apparently also means we get to be entertained by comments of tomato throwing, small thinkers who feel empowered by their mostly anonymous, reckless and naive criticism. But if the don't get that water sculpture working at city hall soon, I may have to admit they are right sometimes!

Deborah Gibson

Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 4:38 p.m.

Downtown its all about parking. If you want to experience downtown AA and you don't have the legs to walk a mile before and after your destination, its about the park. That is why the garage was built. I'm sure this is a false alarm. Just a cautionary giddy up, to move the final inspection process along.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 4:08 p.m.

Payback $50,000,000, 1.10 at a time is going to be along time. Where was the public vote on this project? Where was the public vote on the City Hall project? Etc, etc. The problem here is that Ann Arbor is running like Obama's Washington, a Dictatorship. Where the new White Slaves are being forved to pay for things without any say. Everyone's property taxes magically go up in a bad economy, money spent like water wasted. Maybe the mayor, council, and other "city leaders" should go back to watching The Price Is Right on daytime TV, their previous job...

Jon Saalberg

Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 3:34 a.m.

" 'We're very glad that it is constructed, if not for this year for future years,' Pollay said." When I read that, I felt like Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show", when he plays a clip, then knowingly looks into the camera, as if to say, "Did you hear what I just heard?" Thankfully, our family will be miles away from this mess, when the Art Fair runs and hundreds of thousands of visitors discover that Ann Arbor's Big Dig


Fri, Nov 9, 2012 : 1:59 a.m.

Do not blame Pollay lady, Jon! She got her ann arbor job for being compatible with ann arbor ambiance, and bless her heart, she lived up to ann arbor image of indolence by default. I am sure the lady in question is very erudite and persuasive enough to get hired for her otherwise impeccable credentials. Ann arbor is blessed to have her to continue the Hieftie tradition of being the emperor of the republic of ann arbor for a meager annual compensation of only $24,000 a year, and happy not to be another Delaney center denizen. -Come to think of it, I did vote for Hieftie for a simple reason he is probably the best of the worst. I would venture a guess Hieftie does not live within ann arbor borders and spends a quarter of his income to pay aa city estate taxes. ... 'We're very glad that it is constructed, if not for this year for future years,' Pollay said."


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 3:04 a.m.

This is what happens when the majority of the City Planning Dept consist of engineers instead of Project Managers. No offense to Engineers, but PMs manage schedule, cost, performance. Hey City, why do we lack properly trained PMs to manage City projects??? Left arm does not know what right arm is doing = waste and increased cost to taxpayers!


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 12:20 a.m.

My biggest complaint was about's coverage on July 12, a story with the headline "Library Lane underground parking garage opens to public in downtown Ann Arbor". When I arrived on July 13 for the Rolling Sculpture car show, I was unable to park there. The headline was highly misleading. In the story, it does say "ceremonially open", but it might have been a bit clearer to state that the structure would not be open pending final inspection signoffs. At the "Grand Opening" party on Thursday, if the DDA or other officials lied to the reporter about the opening, that might have been reported, too.

Ryan J. Stanton

Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 3:33 p.m.

In the days leading up to last Thursday's ceremonial grand opening, I and others were under the impression that would be the actual opening. In my coverage of the grand opening, I noted that though it was open for a few hours for the event, it was closed again that night and it wasn't entirely clear when it would be open again. I was told by a Republic Parking employee perhaps as early as Friday. I emailed DDA Director Susan Pollay Thursday night to ask what her expectations were. She wrote me back Friday to say basically what this story says. So, it did open, and now it's closed, and as this story states, the DDA is crossing its fingers and hoping to have it open in the coming days pending inspections, etc.

say it plain

Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 4:30 a.m.

haha, isn't real big on letting us know 'what they know' ...


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 1:20 a.m.

AA dot come may not have known that the garage wasn't going to be open to the public at the time of the Grand Opening. AA dot com should clarify what they knew when they wrote the July 12 story. Perhaps they were in the dark as well as everyone else.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 10:42 p.m.

As a businessman who operates a retail store close to Fifth & Liberty, I am completely frustrated and angry with the DDA. This shadow government, appointed not elected, is beyond reproach. Unaccountable. I'm so frustrated with these corporatists. Have a problem with the DDA? One has no recourse or influence. The DDA provides great lip service, but only real service to out of town, big money interests; just like any politician, anywhere U.S.A. We deserve better than that. I wish someone would investigate the connections & motivations of those that run our local government. I suspect corruption & favoritism would be found. All we can do is oust the mayor & transfer the fiscal power the DDA has back to city council where it belongs. At least city council is elected and accountable. That is what the mayoral race should be about.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 1:20 a.m.

Not sure Hendrix242 really means "beyond reproach" , which would usually be taken to mean "This shadow government" should *not* be criticized.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 9:39 p.m.

It seems like a real joke to have a grand opening but the facility is not available on a daily basis. Why have a grand opening before a final inspection? I would think the inspection would take place and allow it to open in time for the Art Fairs. If not, real embarrassment for the city.

Ann English

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 11:12 p.m.

I forget just what it was, but I think it was last year that something around here had a grand opening a few days AFTER it opened for use/business. It would have been better for this parking structure to have a grand opening AFTER it opens.

Madeleine Borthwick

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 8:52 p.m.

"Basement Boondoggle". "Pollay's Folly"." Garagemahal." I am continually impressed by the clever descriptions I hear about this 50 million mistake. keep 'em coming, I may start a new dictionary!


Fri, Nov 9, 2012 : 2:32 a.m.

A bunch of sweet, progressive ladies is now gung-ho to built a new, improved AA library on the ruins of the one we currently have, but inaccessible for the last 3 years. So now they want to wait another 4 years for the new, improved AA library AA denizens are to pay as they go, while waiting for another AA boodoggle to evolve. Luckily the voters got whiff of AA ways and voted no on Nov 6 2012 to this and few other water art projects Michigan winter freezes over for 6 months a year. ..."Basement Boondoggle". "Pollay's Folly"." Garagemahal." I am continually impressed by the clever descriptions I hear about this 50 million mistake. keep 'em coming, I may start a new dictionary!


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 7:58 p.m.

In all fairness, this underground structure will give the opportunity for a certain population hanging out late at night in Liberty Plaza to enhance their income, via people parked there late at night under the be is a2 where the less fortunate are excused of any criminal behavior because of guilt by the vast number of 1% 'ers in this town...and a 5 story hole in the ground will be perfect for a budding entrepreur! ;op


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 1:22 a.m.

Underground Failway.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 10:12 p.m.

Hole of DDA Glory.

David Cahill

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 6:13 p.m.

Yet another bitter disappointment in the time line of this project. "Lucy and the football" strikes again! This needed and even beautiful project has been dogged by poor construction management from the beginning. Remember which Christman awarded the major subcontract to itself? And now Christman can't even get the elevator inspected on time!


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 7:01 p.m.

Needed and beautiful? How can you say that with a straight face? If you love this project so much why don't you marry it?


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 5:42 p.m.

So, shut down the elevators and let people walk...they are expecting to do that anyways...that's a lot of parking spaces

Ann English

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 11:08 p.m.

That's what I was thinking: open the parking garage to people who do NOT expect to use the elevators, if that's what it takes for a timely REAL opening. Or are motorists going to be in the way of the elevator inspectors from Lansing? How much space do the elevator inspectors need to do their work?

say it plain

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 5:31 p.m.

Love it! That way we'll all get to gauge how unnecessary it was in the first place! Well, except for 'luring' businesses to leave their buildings 5 blocks away and 'expand'. It's a vastly amusing bit of extra fun that a sign inside the garage is dedicated to the project's original visionary...he who said "I know! let's build a big-ass parking structure!"...because, presumably, he'd seen Fields of Dreams and knew, just knew, that if we build it, 'they' will come! He just didn't know at the time that it meant Barracuda Networks. Coming from down the block. And, apparently, for this year anyway, it doesn't even mean that more Art Fair patrons will come for the promise of great parking! Will the DDA and Republic need to reimburse any of the Stay-n-Park customers for the lost revenue lol!?


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 4:11 p.m.

"We're very glad that it is constructed, if not for this year for future years," Pollay said. What is most disturbing is the constant spin the director of the DDA continues to put on this entire debacle. JUST TELL THE TRUTH! This delay is a major screw up on top of 3 years of screw ups and delays and NO explanations. Just SPIN! I am very tired of hearing it. They orchestrate a major "opening" and then tell the public it might not open for the largest downtown event of the year! Just incredible, and it shows the total incompetence of the DDA director, Polly's Folly indeed. But actually far worse. Stop the spin, fire these incompetents, hire competent people and instill accountability and truthful communication at City Hall! This giant sinkhole is still the laughingstock of the county.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 5:01 p.m.

Laughing stock of the county? Probably 99.5% of the residents of the "County" don't even know your new "thing to whine about" exists.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 2:30 p.m.

It appears that Republic Parking is still offering Art Fair spots in the Library Lane structure for $12 + a $5.60 "convenience fee," and they are emphasizing there will be no refunds.

Madeleine Borthwick

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 8:46 p.m.

Refunds?!?! from REPUBLIC PARKING??! let us not be silly....or unrealistic.....


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 1:47 p.m.

I thought there was a big celebration and grand opening on Thursday...why not hold the grand opening when it is actually open?


Fri, Nov 9, 2012 : 2:15 a.m.

July 2012 was totally rainless, so the danger of flooding 4 stories underground was somewhat attenuated. Yet one cannot know these things ahead of time. It was very prudent of ann arbor to wait. ..I thought there was a big celebration and grand opening on Thursday...why not hold the grand opening when it is actually open?

Madeleine Borthwick

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 8:45 p.m.

djm12652, that makes too much sense....the rules of logic don't apply to the Downtown Destruction Authority. Sigh.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 1:42 p.m.

Did people (general public, city employees, staff) know that the facility was not actually official open at the time of this article (the one titled "Library Lane underground parking garage opens to public in downtown Ann Arbor"): I would very, very much like to know this. I think this is an important question. Can someone please answer this?


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 1:45 p.m.

How about you, Did you know that or is that news to you as well? And if you DID know it ...


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 1:15 p.m.

Are your proofreaders still asleep? Check this story's headline.

Julie Baker

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 3:42 p.m.

Thanks, that has been corrected.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 2:54 p.m.

Yes, vivian, that's how a two-year old pronounces it...LIBARY! Proofreaders left a couple of years ago, with The Ann Arbor News.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

Proofreaders! That's a good one!!


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 1:01 p.m.

Hmmmm -- none of this surprises me. The DDA needs to go. I think I say that every time there is an article about them.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 12:50 p.m.

The sequence in construction projects is as follows: Do the work, get the inspections, open for business. Every building that gets a certificate of occupancy went through the inspection process. Elevator inspections are scheduled weeks, if not months, in advance. Elevator installers are experts at what they do. They can and should pass the inspection the first time. Then the building inspectors can sign off on the project. They've probably inspected everything already, they just need the state to sign off on the elevator, before the city can sign off on the entire structure. Even if there's a problem and one of the inspections doesn't pass the first time, it's usually only a matter of hours, or a couple of short days before the necessary changes can be made and the final approvals given. You know-it-all's should stop pretending that you know how cosntruction management works. You don't.


Fri, Nov 9, 2012 : 2:09 a.m.

All inspectors looking at this boodoggle were surely puzzled by what was going on and held their judgment to retain their standing, lefty48197. You know that, so do I. ...You know-it-all's should stop pretending that you know how cosntruction management works. You don't.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 12:57 p.m.

And after a two-year delay we're supposed to believe that the DDA knows how construction management works? They could screw up a free lunch (or a "free" go!pass).


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 12:48 p.m.

Won't open in time? How about we make things happen and get it to open in time. Is the elevator inspector that busy that his schedule cannot be adjusted to inspect what might be one of the largest construction projects in the city? I get the feeling it can. DDA: Let's make it happen.

Madeleine Borthwick

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 8:41 p.m.

gonavy, I wouldn't hold my breath.....


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 12:28 p.m.

The Mayor's appointed Cronies on the DDA are missing out on an opportunity to gain more revenue. They are only charging $1.10 per hour at the underground garage while the other downtown garages charge $1.30 per hour! Who screwed up?


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 12:49 p.m.

You missed the variable pricing article that was published about two weeks ago. The lower rate is a conscious inducement to try the new facility over the old ones.

Ron Granger

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 12:48 p.m.

You'll get your chance to pay more. Soon. It isn't evn open yet. The skateboarders, however, will get a free ride.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 12:22 p.m.

So then I guess you people who have "reserved" Art Fair spaces through that 3rd party company may have a surprise coming. Priceless.

Arno B

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 12:22 p.m.

"Polly's Folly" - that sounds cute. I suppose that it won't be much more that a year or two before this great organaization called the DDA will be crying that they are not getting enough revenue to pay off their $50 million debt payments. Take a look in the mirror and see who they will be tapping for funds! Oh well - we might as well get used to bigger and more wonderful schemes - How about a new train station? We might even get a visit from Tooth Fairy Dingell to bail us out!


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 4:10 p.m.

Why don't we just vote in a new Mayor and City council? I lnow, we don't have many choices in the upcoming election, but we MUST do something about the ever spending members of City Council and the DDA. GRAFT!!! They must GO!!

Ron Granger

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 12:06 p.m.

Bungle in the DDA jungle That's not all right by me They're a tiger when they want money They're a snake if we disagree The monkeys seem willing to strike up the tune


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 1:51 p.m.

@Ron....good one...and thanks...I've got that tune in my head now!


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 12:21 p.m.

So can we fire the DDA *now*? Why would anyone think a bunch of polititians can handle project management in the first place? As usual, nothing from the mayor or council about the failures. Hello? Anyone there??


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 11:59 a.m.

After PROMISING to be open for Art Fair, this is a MAJOR EMBARRASSEMENT for the DDA and the mayor. Then again, the million dollar fountain never opened either.

Ron Granger

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 12:07 p.m.

It's open to cigarette butts and the butt of jokes. You want more?


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 11:51 a.m.

Inspections? By whom? The City inspectors are unable to schedule review of their own structure? Please tell me the inspections are due to be performed by someone else?


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 7:18 p.m.

Do the elevators function? That's the real question!


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 6:35 p.m.

Elevators are inspected by the state


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 11:24 a.m.

What a disgrace. If this was private industry the entire management team would have been terminated long ago. Call it a grand pre opening. Just think Costco had a grand opening party on a thursday evening. They opened for business the next morning. If this management team ran the business we still would be waiting to shop there. I am sure there are more delays coming than just an elevator inspection.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 11:09 a.m.

The only difference between this and a sink hole is $ 50.000.000...hummmmm I guess it is a sink hole after all... " Pollay's folly "...much more fitting than " library lane " On time and underbudget " 0 " typical city " sooner or later " construction projects many to count..


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 11:08 a.m.

How can you have an official opening with all the pomp and circumstances, glory and hoopla and then not be open for business? No, the DDA, embarrassed by the length of time and inconvenience it took to build the structure were desperate to have some positive incident occur - "Oh, well, let's just say it's finished and open, which will deflect any complaints from the public and look like we've achieved something." Typical of the way cities try and pull the wool over the public eye, lest our incompetence shows too much.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 10:58 a.m.

OK...can't help myself. What took longer to build? The Empire State Building or hole in the ground parking garage? Answer: The Empire State building took just under 15 months. The City of Ann Arbor could have built "2" Empire State buildings in less time than it has taken the city to build 1 parking garage. Kind of makes you wonder about the management of this parking garage. It sure seems the Ann Arbor tax payer is being taken for a ride.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 7:34 p.m.

I think this speaks more to the lameness of construction crews than the DDA or City. A lot of the local road projects seem to be taking an excessive amount of time, too (particularly the Packard project and the neighborhood street Palomar on the west side).

Stephen Landes

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 12:08 p.m.

The Pentagon was built in about 16 months in the midst of World War II. If the DDA's management team had been responsible we might have lost the war.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 10:45 a.m.

So if the "Basement Boondoggle" is not YET ready to be open to the public why then did they have a "grand opening" party? More lies and deceit from Hieftje and the DDA. Will do a story on the delayed opening? They did 3 stories on the faux opening.

Ann Dwyer

Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 6:23 a.m.

Unfortunately, Jojo B, "Garage Mahal" is both a show: and a band:

Jojo B

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 9:33 p.m.

Brad: LOL @ "Garage Mahal"!!! You better trademark that before it takes off. I can't resist calling it that from now on.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 2:24 p.m.

They knew there was a block party scheduled today for the people who want to see a park on the top of the structure and quickly scheduled their party to come first.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 12:34 p.m.

I'm still waiting for the crack investigative team to ask JUST ONE probing question about the incredible and unexplained schedule overruns on the "Garage Mahal" project and the negative effects that had on the local businesses and commuters. JUST ONE. You'll excuse me if I don't hold my breath while I wait.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 10:40 a.m.

Where are the proofreaders on Saturday morning? Everybody knows Library is correctly misspelled "lie-berry"!


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 10:33 a.m.

No big surprise. . . It might be open in some future year. . . Until then, maybe we'll just park on the surface, like in the past?