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Posted on Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 8:34 a.m.

University of Michigan to demolish 2 Ann Arbor houses to expand parking lot

By Kellie Woodhouse

View Upcoming U-M demolitions in a larger map

Parking on University of Michigan's central campus is a pain— but it might get a smidgen easier to find a space soon.

Officials plan to demolish houses at 716 and 726 Oakland St. and expand an existing parking lot near the Law School, creating 34 new parking spots at the Ann Arbor campus.

Those spots are intended for law school faculty and staff, but will be accessible to anyone with a gold or blue parking permit.

Although the Ann Arbor campus has more than 23,000 parking spaces, it has twice as many faculty, staff and lecturers. Parking on or near central campus is limited and many employees shuttle to their offices after parking on the south or north campuses.

“We continue to make adjustments where we can to better address the needs of our campus community,” said Steve Dolen, executive director of Parking & Transportation Services.

In addition to leveling the properties on Oakland, the school has also listed a home at 126 E. Hoover Ave.

Although the university is set on getting rid of the houses, it always lists residences before demolishing them to give interested persons a chance to "relocate" the house with the assistance of heavy machinery and cranes. As one might imagine, such a process is extremely rare.

Additional demolition of houses is under way on South Division, near the Institute for Social Research. A residence on 417 S. Division St. was demolished on Oct. 8.

The university is considering razing a 3,210-square-foot wooden house at 439 S. Division St. that used to be the residence of Arthur Miller when he lived in Ann Arbor in the 1930s. Presently, the university is using the house, which dates back to the 1800s, as a construction office during the $29 million expansion of the ISR building.

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.


Frustrated in A2

Sun, Oct 21, 2012 : 5:35 a.m.

The university is like the black hole on the Simpson's 2012 Halloween episode. The more it sucks in the bigger and bigger it gets and it's always hungry Lol!!!


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 2:09 a.m.

This is standard fare for anyone who has been in Ann Arbor long enough. The land is converted first into a parking lot and then in several years there will be a new building that goes up in its place. There will be a dearth of parking and more land becomes a parking lot. And so on. It's the circle of life at U of M and, for better or worse, it's progress.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 6:08 p.m.

The U of M also has plans to demolish Ferry Field and Cliff Keen Arena and turn the space into a surface parking lot. Ferry Field is where the football team played from 1906-26. It is also historically significant, perhaps more than the Arthur Miller house. Track and field legend Jesse Owens made history at the 1935 Big Ten Track & Field Championship when he set the world record in the long jump, the 220 yard dash and the 220 low hurdles and tied the world record in the 100 yard dash -- all within one hour. Sports Illustrated calls it the "greatest 45 minutes ever in sports". The Sports Illustrated article ends with, "Ferry Field still stands. Outside the track a plaque commemorates Owens' record-shattering day. It is, perhaps, the ultimate compliment in college sports that a University of Michigan athletic facility continues to honor the achievements of an Ohio State Buckeye." But for how long? Of course the plaque could remain in a sea of parked cars. I would rather the plaque AND the track remain, so young Usain Bolt's can run in the very footsteps of Jesse Owens and dream big. According to an article in the Michigan Daily, "New indoor and outdoor track and field facilities, rowing facility and a lacrosse stadium will be erected at the edge of South Campus, joining the wrestling, gymnastics and soccer complex on the southern edge of the U-M Golf Course". How will students get to these new facilities? It seems more logical to keep the sports facilities within walking distance of central campus. This URL includes a map that shows a large parking lot in place of Ferry Field and Cliff Keen Arena.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 4:27 p.m.

"Don't it always seem to go That you don't know what you've got Till it's gone They paved paradise And put up a parking lot"". Big Yellow Taxi release 1970 by Joni Mitchell

Tom Whitaker

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 4:08 p.m.

Good ol' Planet Blue. How much did they pay for these houses and the ones on Division that are also being removed for more surface parking (they aren't in the way of the ISR expansion). What year is it anyway, 1950? This makes no sense from a financial, environmental, or even a social point of view. That U of M leaders are constantly patting themselves on the back for their comparatively minor sustainability initiatives makes this even harder to stomach. U of M leaders should show some creativity and look at staff and faculty housing programs like the one operated by the University of Chicago in Hyde Park. Not only does it help them recruit and retain quality staff and faculty, but it has helped transform the area. The money saved from not buying houses and buildings to tear down for parking structures is a bonus.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 8:26 p.m.

Because for this to make a dent in the number of people commuting in by car, the U would have to actually construct something of size. Then you would complain about how "the new housing doesn't fit into the historic character of" and "is out of scale" with the surrounding neighborhood. Without new construction downtown there can be no increase in density; without increased density faculty & staff will continue to be priced out of the areas adjacent to campus.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 4:44 p.m.

Until SE Michigan has a comprehensive regional transit system, the faculty/staff housing idea would be impractical in Ann Arbor. You'd still have to have parking available for all their cars. I'd be willing to bet fewer than 50% of the folks who live in U of C's university-owned housing actually own a car.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 2:55 p.m.

mmmk, this is not a big deal. It is obvious that many people hear have a great disdain for the university. Those are the people that should move OUT of Ann Arbor, not the other way around. Just because you work for the U does not mean you need to live in A2. You do not get a city like this without the University and frankly nobody would care if the houses were being destroyed by some private owner.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 2:42 p.m.

This is only the beginning. With all the new student high-rises going up, the old, poorly-maintained rental homes will be very difficult to fill with tenants... easy pickings for the U (or for anyone else willing to buy them).


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 6:42 p.m.

we can turn the Rental house into LOW Income and fill them with homeless who are willing to find jobs and work.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 6 p.m.

I disagree that the rental homes will be difficult to fill. The price of housing hasn't gone down in this area despite the addition of all the new high-rise units.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 5:26 p.m.

Lael Buy some and do just that! But wait! Its much easier to tell someone else to do with their money than risk your own!

Tom Whitaker

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 4:11 p.m.

Many of them remain undivided and still have woodwork, doors, and fireplaces relatively intact. Some have been hacked to pieces, but you'd be surprised how many have survived due to the high quality materials and workmanship put into the original construction.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 4 p.m.

I'd love to see these houses revert to being single family homes, though the cost of reverting a divided up house back into a single family home is probably too expensive.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 2:34 p.m.

I find it remarkable that people who are eager to see destroyed a large substantial building like the downtown library get upset at the demise of a much older crumbling little house.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 6:44 p.m.

well the downtown library has no history, but love old homes, they where build stronger then these 90's era crumbling little homes.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 3 p.m.

Not turning the library in to a parking lot helps.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 2:06 p.m.

Most people who work at UofM, don't live in Ann Arbor or Ypsi for that matter to use public transportation. I wonder if the people who have to deal with the craziness of parking, has given this a consideration. Move closer to your job if driving and parking is such a hassle, which prompts the University to destroy homes for... parking spots.

Snarf Oscar Boondoggle

Sun, Oct 21, 2012 : 6:52 a.m.

bicycles anyone ? ...oh, wiat .. neverminmd


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 11:57 p.m.

i am a tenured professor and I can't afford to live anywhere near campus. There are move over priced luxury apartments being built for students rather than affordable apartments or condos for staff and faculty. There are other universities and colleges that built reasonably priced housing for staff and faculty in order to encourage walking, biking, etc. to work.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 10:06 p.m.

Yep, I live a few miles from the U and I work at the hospital. I leave an hour earlier than my shift begins just to get parking, and of course, I pay for a blue permit. Just ask any nurse how the parking is!

greg, too

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 9:10 p.m.

When I attended a large university that was having a parking and congestion problem, they opted to build less parking lots and garages on campus added more buses, pushing the lots outside of town (usually less than 5 miles away). This put students and faculty (well, the lower ranking ones) into the public transportation system, where they could ride for free with an id. Then they would jack the rates for the campus parking, usually hitting the higher paid profs pretty hard to make up some of the costs. Throw up a large lot off of 94 on State and one off of A2/Saline, maybe a couple off of 14, then somewhere east and west of campus. We like to call ourselves a green community, so get some more hybrid and bio diesel buses and get the regular cars off of the road. It seemed to have worked pretty well. Driving through campus was less congested and walking around was safer. Maybe Ann Arbor should think outside of the box on this one and build less on campus? Change the lots on campus to green areas and use the U of M and A2 bus system more?


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 4:35 p.m.

This is an automobile country, as much as you might despise the notion.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 4:30 p.m.

I'm not sure why the University's lack of proper planning should force their employees to live in student ghettos. The fact that the University only has parking spots for half of their employees is incomprehensible.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 1:55 p.m.

Why can't UM have employee dormitories like Foxconn in China? Parking problem solved!

Dog Guy

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 1:32 p.m.

University of Michigan gobbled up Ann Arbor's mayor and council years ago. There are no more town and gown discussions, only instructions.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 1:27 p.m.

There is no Ann Arbor without the University. Without it, Ann Arbor is Jackson or Battle Creek.

Linda Peck

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 1:08 p.m.

gobble, gobble, gobble

Billy Bob Schwartz

Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 2:32 p.m.

Thanksgiving already?


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 12:47 p.m.

The university has no respect for Ann Arbor.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 3:58 p.m.

Newsflash: For all intents and purposes, Ann Arbor in its current form exists solely due to the University.