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Posted on Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

Discount retail chain seeks to open on Ypsilanti's Water Street property

By Katrease Stafford


The Family Dollar would be located on the Water Street property in Ypsilanti.

Courtesy City of Ypsilanti

One of the country's largest retail discount chains is targeting the long-vacant Water Street property near downtown Ypsilanti.

Ypsilanti received a letter of intent from Core Resources, Inc. to purchase 1.25 acres of the 38-acre site.The property is currently owned by the city and Core, on behalf of its client Family Dollar Stores of Michigan, will pay $210,000 to purchase the land.

Core Resources, Inc. and Family Dollar have negotiated the initial terms including a concept site plan for the property and related building elevations for the potential development based on draft zoning for the Water Street Development.

The property is located on the northeast corner of the Water Street site, at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Park Street, according to the letter of intent.

Core Resources, Inc. specializes in real estate development, design and build construction and owner representation services.

The city has long sought development possibilities for Water Street. In 2010, the city council unanimously rejected a proposal from Indiana-based Bravokilo, which owns the Burger King on Michigan Avenue near Ecorse Road, to build a new restaurant on one acre of the 38-acre site.

The purchase of the property will be at market rate and will not require any special incentives from the city. The Ypsilanti City Council will consider approving the letter of intent at its Tuesday meeting, said Mayor Paul Schreiber. If council approves the letter of intent, Core is requesting that the city remove that portion of the Water Street area from the market.

The letter of intent is a non-binding agreement between the city and Core to work for a term of no more than three months on a development agreement.

Tom Widmeyer, regional vice president of real estate for Family Dollar Stores, wrote to the city that on average, the stores have about 2,200 customers per week, with 60 percent of the business occurring in the mid-afternoon and evening.

Schreiber said similar to the proposed $12 million Eastside Recreation Center on Water Street, the addition of a Family Dollar would bring more people to the area. Schreiber previously said the recreation center would serve as an anchor tenant for future developments, such as Family Dollar.

"I’m in support of it because, first off the building they’re proposing conforms with a lot of the guidelines the planning commission came up with for the Water Street property," Schreiber said. "I think that store will bring a lot of foot traffic in the area. I think those two things are major considerations. We have to get started somewhere."

Widmeyer wrote that most Family Dollar stores have low parking needs and strong walk-up traffic. The company is requesting a minimum of 20 parking spaces.

Schreiber said the letter of intent is similar to the one submitted by the Washtenaw County of Parks and Recreation to develop the 65,000-square-foot recreation center.

"What this letter of intent would do is signal to Family Dollar that we are really serious and they should go ahead and invest," Schreiber said. "... Family Dollar wants to expand in Michigan and I think the Water Street property is a really great place."

Depending on whether council approves the letter of intent, Schreiber said the next step would be for the company to go before the planning commission, who must then approve a site plan. A construction date has not yet been set.

Family Dollar has 7,267 stores throughout the country and reported $8.5 billion in annual sales and $388.4 million in net income for fiscal year 2011.

Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for her at or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.



Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 3:59 a.m.

I would much rather see a Meijer or a Kroger (if we're picking a chain store) than a Family Dollar. At least let's get a big scale grocery store in the city limits before we start adding more cheap crap. What I would like to see is the Rec Center (so excited about that!!), a bookstore, some more restaurant space, a small movie theatre, and a park. I don't know if Cross St. Books is open still, is it? At any rate, it would be nice to have those things in the city limits- I think that would make a walk to/through downtown Ypsi a lot more of a destination- stop, eat, shop, see a movie, check out the book store, visit the rec center, play at the park! That's my dream.

james vandenbosch

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 11:38 p.m.

I think Family Dollar is a terrible idea. It would bring in a little revenue in the short run but do nothing to revitalize the downtown. I like the discussion of a grocery store. I think something like Randazzo's that specializes in fresh produce could be a big regional draw (including folks from Ann Arbor). It could also serve as an anchor for other specialized food stores.

Leslie Leland

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 5:35 p.m.

From deep in the thread, this comment was made- "You call them hipsters, I call them racists. I don't doubt for one second that the majority of the resistance to Family Dollar, Burger King or any other chain store at the Water Street site is born of a desire to keep Ypsi's low-income blacks away from the area. Oh, they'll brag to their friends in Ann Arbor about how they live in the "ghetto" but in reality, they want nothing to do with "those people." And the reality is that Family Dollar would benefit the majority of the current residents of Ypsi far more than any of the alternatives that are being discussed. In response- I've lived in a lot of different places in the US and I find Ypsilanti more diverse, tolerant, and more educated about racial and economic inequities than most places, including most of the communities surrounding us. I share the view with many others that I know here that an integrated town is a sign of strength, progress and evolution. Many people in the US live in highly segregated communities and have deep and often hidden, even to themselves, unconscious fears about economic and racial differences that they don't understand. If you read this thread carefully, local people who are opposing Family Dollar are agreeing that we need a place to shop for food, but would like to see a locally owned and operated, reasonably priced grocery/ nursery/farm-store there. I believe that EVERYONE would shop there and if it was attractive and inviting enough it could be a destination business. EVERY human being, low-income or not, regardless of skin tone, resonates with beauty, health, pride, success.Conversely, I believe that The Family Dollar at this location will entrench and perpetuate a low-income, broken down, poverty mentality. I'd like to know what effort there has been to assess the kind of businesses that the community would like and how we can reach out to attract business development that the community supports.

Garden Goddess

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 8:52 p.m.

Agree with Leslie. I have lived in Ypsi for almost 20 years. My mother was born and raised in A2 and has told me how charming Ypsi was in the past. I work here and want to spend my money here. I seek out local businesses that meet my needs for food and home goods., when possible. I am tired of spending my $ in A2 or outside of our city for the basics, and gas. We will remain in a hole if we believe that this is where we are supposed to stay. Let's stop letting outside communities tell us what we are. You build it and they will come, just look at Red Rock.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 3:58 p.m.

After reading all these comments? I have to say one thing. Strip mall that looks like the one out on Michigan Ave with Target being the anchor. OR Trader Joes? We could use a really nice Pet Co Store and an really nice Old Navy in the middle. Come on Ypsi lets get a huge strip mall going and make it worth going downtown again for. Time to make Ann Arbor run for its money.

Garden Goddess

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 2:57 p.m.

Really? That anchor will hold us as it floats down the Huron. I know we need tax revenue but get a business that we need! A quality grocery store within the city is essential. Why is it the nicer stores on Michigan Ave don't begin until Canton. Come Yspilanti that is a potentially beautiful area, enhance it!


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 1:11 p.m.

We need a grocery store. Check out page 11.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 5:08 a.m.

Why do we want more stores to open up? We need tourist in Ypsi. I like my indoor water park idea and a hotel or two. We can then have a few restaurants built and a mall for retail like gift shops. Doing this will not hurt the Historic parts of the city. This will bring in money to this city. Laugh at me if you want, but it will work. A family Dollar is a waste of land. Make Water Street like a mini Mackinac City. A movie theater would also be nice like in Mackinac City. Who am I to decide what needs to go there. Just my thought.

Jonathan Blutarsky

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 2:25 a.m.

Do the math - the city is going to get $210k for about 4% of the lot - which translates to LESS THAN 00.68% of the $31 million debt owed on this debacle. At this exchange ratio I believe the city can afford to do nothing rather than set the stage to replace one sub par business district with another.

Dan P

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 1:50 a.m.

This is a bad idea...we don't need more dollar stores in Ypsi.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 1:37 a.m.

I have to say I'm really confused about these responses; isn't this whole Water Street thing an incredibly massive and expensive failure on the part of the city council? Isn't this the council deciding they were real estate geniuses and so put the city into massive debt because they were certain the development here would be awesome? And didn't that completely 100% backfire? And now isn't this whole area nothing but a crushing debt associated with EMPTY land? Why would any Ypsi resident be against geting SOMETHING, ANYTHING in there that will start paying some property taxes? The reason it's still vacant is none of these awesome places everyone's talking about WANT to develop there. How long are you going to cannonball into this incredibly expensive failure by turning down businesses because surely some super awesome one will come along? Wouldn't this have happened already if it was going to happen? Do Ypsi residents seriously want to continue paying for this debacle AND keep it vacant?


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 10:48 p.m.

Why not an Aldi or Trader Joes? Getting a grocery store on that site would be helpful to residents who often shop at party stores because local grocery stores are too far to get to.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 5:45 p.m.

Why all the disparaging remarks about Family Dollar? It's just Meijer scaled back by 75%. Here's what the Water Street DDA plan said in 2001: "It is anticipated that complete redevelopment of the project area will occur within 8 years and will cost an estimated $97, 933,000. It is anticipated that of this total project cost, $30,700,000 will be through DDA TIF Capture, $63,155,000 of private investment, and $4,078,000 fiom other public sources..." and "Upon the execution of a development agreement the selected developer(s) will secure the necessary approvals and permits to construct new residential and commercial structures in the Water Street Project Area. The construction of these units will be primarily supported by private sector investment. It js antiipated that construction of the residential and commercial components of the development will be completed by 2006." How'd that work out? I don't live in Ypsi, but in one respect it is like any other city--it'd do better to spend more effort getting some tax-paying entities to set up shop within its boundaries, and less pursuing a pie-in-the-sky "vision for the community."

Bill Brennan

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 4:46 p.m.

No, you do not improve the income level of your community by only allowing high-end retailers to move in. It doesn't work that way. In fact, it's the exact opposite of how it works. I wonder how many of you who are so offended by the idea of a Family Dollar coming to Ypsi have ever BEEN to a Family Dollar?


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 5:15 p.m.

Bill I suspect that many of people commenting here never go east of Carpenter

Stan Hyne

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 3:47 p.m.

When a housing developer starts a new subdivision, he builds the first home to give the area a flavor. Family Dollar is not what flavor to which you should aspire. Ann Arbor is crowded and expensive. Adjoining areas will continue to upgrade with overflow.

Bill Brennan

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 3:46 p.m.

Let's just tell another multi-billion dollar company to stay out of Ypsilanti because we're just too good for them. Family Dollar is precisely the type of store we should be looking at, as they provide low cost necessities for every day living. I hate to burst your bubbles, but Ypsi is mostly middle to lower-middle class, and stores like Family Dollar make getting by much easier for such families. But do go on about how an empty lot is preferable to a multi-billion dollar franchise that caters to the population of the city. The city will screw this up and the land will remain barren for another decade. And half of you will applaud the failed thinking that leads to the status quo.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 4:52 p.m.

Bill, we aren't suggesting they stay out of Ypsilanti. They're already in Ypsilanti. We have a Family Dollar store next to Kroger on Michigan Ave. I don't think we need a second one so close by; there are so many things Ypsilanti doesn't already have that could go there.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 3:32 p.m.

Big mistake! How about a brothel, casino, gun shop, "medical" marijuana / drug paraphernalia shop, strip club, etc? know, a little slice of true Americana! I'm just kidding around....but at least you wouldn't have to worry about these businesses hurting for customers!


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 3:14 p.m.

I think Family Dollar is a better fit for downtown Ann Arbor. It falls somewhere between the CVS, 7-11, Bar Louie, Potbelly Sandwiches, and potential Walgreens.

Gail wolkoff

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 3 p.m.

Dollar-stores promote low store rents and really cheap products. The labor force needed to run a dollar store is tiny and paid a low-wage. When dollar stores move into an area the area tends to continue the cycle of low rent, cheap products, and treating the workers with low wage. This is not what Ypsilanti needs

two canoes

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 2:40 p.m.

I love the food coop, but a grocery story would be nice~somewhere in the City. A tastefully done dollar store would be great!

Leslie Leland

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 2:37 p.m.

This is not about trying to be Ann Arbor or anywhere else. Ann Arbor is our neighbor as are all of the other little communities that surround us like Plymouth and canton, dexter, chelsea, belleville, Manchester, and Saline...All charming little downtowns that have taken advantage of their picturesque historic downtowns. People are bored with the malls, which had the unexpected effect of killing the independent downtown businesses. This discussion is about consciously shaping our downtown business atmosphere to be something that we will enjoy and be proud of, that will draw residents and visitors. Businesses, like the people who own them have personalities and flavor. What do you want the flavor of this town to be? Ypsilanti, like people is capable of improving and learning, becoming something better. It is growing and evolving. It has outstanding architecture and important history. I think that Ypsilanti as a city has developed collective low self-esteem ( made more pronounced because of being located in such close proximity to a city with extremely high self-esteem) and many of the politicians and residents have bought into that and don't expect more, can't see more possibility- water seeking it's own level. Let's stop comparing this town to Ann Arbor and create what we want to see here, the kind of businesses that we want to shop and have in our neighborhoods. The line between our cities is arbitrary and many newcomers have no idea where that line is.

Bill Brennan

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 6:27 a.m.

It absolutely IS about trying to become "Little Ann Arbor" because everything that the opposition to BK and FD proposes is some combination of organic grocer, juice bar(!), coffee shop, indie boutique, etc. It's all very Ann Arbor, in other words. The problem is, those types of business are either looking for a more prestigious location -- or will require huge discounts/subsidies to take a chance in a far less prestigious location -- or simply would not generate the kind of revenue that would recoup the initial investment to start a business that requires a brand new building. Family Dollar is about as good as we're going to get.

Ben Petiprin

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 9:14 p.m.

@ Leslie Leland, It really has nothing to do with low self esteem. This place has a dignity of its own that is completely separate from fancy stores and coffee shops. It's hard to explain, but it's sort of like a celebration of one's own blue-collarness. I'd view a Starbuck's or an Urban Outfitters in this spot as the worst blight imaginable. It would ring false and continue this artificial bohemian air that developers and hipsters are trying to build. The real Ypsi is beautiful but there is such a campaign lately to cover it up. It's the varnish on this place that is disgusting and it's starting to stink up the place. The facade is creepy when you get down to it. It's like you're trying to catch potential homebuyers in a snare trap, and I think most people are wise to it.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 3:29 p.m.

I'm fairly certain that if Starbucks, Trader Joe's, or the Produce Station felt they could make a profit in downtown Ypsi, they would contact the city/owners of Water Street and make an offer. While the long-term question may be: "What do we want the flavor of this town to be?", it seems the short-term question in these economic times is: "What can the flavor of this town be?"


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 2:02 p.m.

Amen to comment about the 350-pounder trying to squeeze into skinny jeans! I've lived in both and here's a news flash: Ypsilanti is not Ann Arbor! Get comfortable with yourself, Ypsi, and accept who you are. As for Water Street, anything seems better than NOTHING, and a vacant lot does nothing toward a vibrant downtown. It will remain a 38-acre vacant lot for another 20 years if elitist visionaries continue to say no to start-up level businesses that would contribute to our city's starving tax base. I'm no economist, but which are more likely to be the first businesses to begin in a "wasteland": chic art galleries and bistros, or working-class bread-and-butter retailers? Paul Schreiber is passionate about our city and its future; he considers all sides carefully before he takes a stand. Let's support our Mayor on this one!

Leslie Leland

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 3:06 p.m.

Pretty wide margins in your argument... how about meeting somewhere in the middle? ...chic art galleries? Wouldn't be a good business plan at all, nope. If you're talking chains, How about going after trader joes? Or Starbucks, or an independently owned business like Produce Station, small grocery/garden/ home goods. Good food, smart consumerism is not elitist, it's smart, and it transcends class.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 1:54 p.m.

Ugh, NO no no noNO! This store is a piece of junk, selling chinese made garbage. We do not want this here representing Ypsi. Call me crazy, but I'd like to see a big chunk of the land turned into a park or natural area. I know, I know, we want our money back, but if the only offers are burger king or garbage retail stores, why not just eat it and move on. Some mixed residential condos and small shops / cafes is really what I'd like to see though.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 1:08 p.m.

How many Family Dollar stores does Ypsilanti need?

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 12:57 p.m.

I thought the vision for this site was New Urbanism? How does a single use, one story building add vibrancy and intensity to the downtown area? Where is the multi-use, multi-story building going to be if not in Water Street?

Ben Petiprin

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 6:11 a.m.

Two words: MEGA CASINO. You can bring people back in, and make this a functioning city again but you have to accept what kind of town this is. It will never be the next Ann Arbor, Portland, Williamsburg or whatever you're trying to turn it into. You're never going to see a bunch of open-air bubble tea shoppes over here. Ypsi is a 350 pound madman and you're trying to fit it into skinny jeans. I can say these things. I for one, would be at any hypothetical casino after every paycheck, and I'm sure a lot of other people would be too. Whether it makes people move here permanently or not, it will make people come here temporarily and spend their money. When you build the casino, you can build a hotel right next to it and use up more of that land.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 4:08 a.m.

we already have 2 family dollar stores.. gault village and next to krogers. Be nice if there could be some small stores. coffee shop, ice cream, art shop craft shop. book store.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 4:49 p.m.

two canoes - you are right, but we can't walk to the grocery stores either. I'd much rather see a real grocery store go in than the dollar store.

two canoes

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 2:43 p.m.

Those family dollar stores are not in the city of Ypsilanti and no one in the city of Ypsilanti can WALK to them.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 3:40 a.m.

Every one please listen to Leslie Leland. She makes sense, she lives and works in Ypsi. And best of all, she cares about the whole of the area! She sees the big picture! I know an occasional dollar store is ok, but that will not bring walk-in business or create the atmosphere that we all want for downtown Ypsi.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 3:17 p.m.

@FaithInYpsi: "Nothing wrong with any dollar store" except that there are already two in Ypsilanti, and this is not the kind of business we need to keep the downtown progress we've seen in the past couple of years going. It is a terrible idea.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 4:19 a.m.

I am wondering if she has ever been in a Family Dollar. I shop all stores for the best deal. Nothing wrong with any dollar store.

Chase Ingersoll

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 2:13 a.m.

Family Dollar is a precise fit for the socio-economic class that inhabits the adjacent neighborhoods. You minority of Ypsi's who would prefer and can afford a health center, juice bar or a Whole Foods, can just move to Ann Arbor and stop trying to force your bourgeois tastes upon Ypsi's proletariat.

Jonathan Blutarsky

Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 4:15 a.m.

Real simple Bill - 210K for 1.3 acres - that's why.

Bill Brennan

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 5:53 a.m.

I own a business in Depot Town and a home not far from the Water Street area, and I agree with Chase. Family Dollar is a perfect fit for the existing community. I'd gladly shop there, although I suspect the city will continue with it's act of impersonating Detroit and telling every potential suitor that they simply don't meet the high standards of the rotting, bankrupt city. You guys think that a high-end organic grocer can survive at the Water St. location, then I invite you to pool your money together and give it a go. There will be no better lesson for you as to why such businesses have not made an offer on that land, and why they never will .


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 3:19 p.m.

Why don't we all just quit replying to Chase Ingersoll, one of those people who gets off on putting other people down to make himself feel superior? He doesn't live in Ypsi, so he doesn't have a say.

Jonathan Blutarsky

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 3 p.m.

Sorry chase - unlike you I own a business in Ypsi and can tell you this is the wrong direction for the city to take. Take you antiquated CofC attitude and keep it in Ann Arbor as we don't need it or want it.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 7 a.m.

Solipsist, PERFECT reply. Wish Chase would get lost commenting on Ypsilanti City related stories, especially since he has made it clear on numerous occasions, this town doesn't fit by demographically and ethnically to his taste. Makes one wonder, why he bothers to comment at all....


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 4:32 a.m.

I live near the Water Street area, and Family Dollar does not fit my socio-economic class. A lot of people with "bourgeois tastes" are working and living downtown these days. We want better for Ypsi.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 3:22 a.m.

Oh lookie, a new student of sociology! I'll entertain your comment. I like Marxist theory too, but maybe you should think for a minute about how a socio-economic class rises instead of begging to remain the same. This is not about a class war. If you are in favor of the proletariat's rights, then why would you insist we be limited to cheap discount stores stocked with poor quality knock-offs? Why should the bourgeois get to enjoy all of those simple pleasures while we slave away and only get offered junk? Have you ever heard of environmental poverty? Hopefully you will have once your sociology course is finished. You do not represent the whole of Ypsilanti and I doubt you know even 10% of its residents - so how can you proclaim what a minority is? The proletariat cannot afford to live in Ann Arbor...that's the point.

Leslie Leland

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 2:04 a.m.

Let's stop equating Ypsilanti with poverty, low- income, discount, second-class status. I am afraid that the politicians here believe that this little town can't prosper or develop into something more. My husband and I have been artists all of our lives. We've only lived here for 5 years. We share business ventures in downtown ypsilanti with another couple, long-time residents of this town who have seen this place changing, who know it well. The majority of our money goes right back into our businesses and we don't have a lot to spend, but we spend carefully, and what we buy is of quality. Just because people don;t have a lot of money doesn't mean that they should buy MORE low quality food and more merchandise for less. Family Dollar is NOT where we would want to shop, nor is it where our carefully cultivated customers who come from allover southeast Michigan would want to shop. I will not vote in the next election for the politicians who support this idea....and I will share that opinion freely.


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 3:32 p.m.

Leslie, maybe you and your hipster friends arent aware of the real ypsi, but "equating Ypsilanti with poverty, low- income" is completely fair. 26% of the population lives below the poverty line. Thats not the Ypsi you guys see at the Wurst Bar or Beezy's. But thats Ypsi. The majority of the city doesnt shop at the Co-op, they shop at Kroger or other cheaper chains. They dont shop at the farmers markets. They dont get their coffee from the Ugly Mug. Like it or not, the market dictates what stores thrive and survive. And in Ypsi, that is fast food, party stores, and discount retailers.

Bill Brennan

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 5:42 a.m.

Let's stop equating Family Dollar with low-class, second-class status. They offer quality products at a price that is affordable to the majority of the local residents they would serve. I live in Ypsilanti and own a business in Depot Town, and I would happily shop at Family Dollar, as I have in the past. Let's further stop assuming that your sensibilities and shopping habits necessarily mirror those of the majority of the city's residents.

Stan Hyne

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 3:28 p.m.

Good comment.

Cheryl Weber

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 1:41 a.m.

There is a Family Dollar on East Michigan Ave next to Krogers. It is not a One dollar or 99 cent store. but Similar to Dollar General.on Ecorse Rd. If they are going to build a new store and close the one by Kroger; then there will be no net gain of JOBS for the area. However, Our Ypsilanti used to have a 5 and Dime store and an Arlens. The Arlens was on the water St property. It would be compatable with bringing in an Aldi or other grocery. Local people may benefit from the convenience and visitors would not have to leave town to get that thing they forgot to pack.

Bill Brennan

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 5:36 a.m.

You sound like that women back in 1972 who couldn't believe that Nixon won the Presidential election because she didn't know anyone who voted for him. Family Dollar has over 7,000 locations nationwide, so plenty of people shop there. Ypsilanti is the wrong place to be getting elitist about.

Leslie Leland

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 1:50 a.m.

How about a small, independant grocery deli/ home and garden/farm store? I think we need to stop thinking "discount" and think reasonably priced, beauty, creative, inviting. Ypsi does not have to be synonomous with low cost, poverty. discount. I don't shop Family Dollar, no one I know shops Family Dollar. NO!

Leslie Leland

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 1:23 a.m.

My opinion might be humble, but it is strong! NO, NO,NO!!! This is a TERRIBLE idea! Come on now people! Can't we have MORE vision than this for Ypsilanti? Is this a case of water seeking it's own level? Can'our politicians step out of their ruts and see that things are slowly changing? Don't you realize that Ypsilanti can be better than that, that you have to CAREFULLY shape and craft the growth of this city? The artists, academics, urbanites from NYC, San Francisco, Chicago are moving to Ypsilanti, the writers, the actors, painters, hip people who want diversity and integration, who find other commnunites in this area too "white ". This place is developing soul and depth! Forgive me if I offend anyone, but that chain screams low-end, poverty, cheap, low-quality. NO! NO! NO! I am sorry that there is a sense of urgency created by past deals gone bad, but this is NOT the answer.


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 3:22 p.m.

lol. hipsters.

Bill Brennan

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 5:32 a.m.

So basically you don't want the dollar store because if might offend the tender sensibilities of young, white artists? Tell you what, how's about all of you people who have such grand plans for the Water Street land pool your money together and make it happen. Let's see these awesome juice bars and organic grocers that will anchor the land for decades to come and employ hundreds of residents. And make sure you pay full market rate for everything; land, taxes, infrastructure -- the whole nine. No city breaks or other government cheese allowed. Let's see you put your money where your mouths are. Sorry, but this is likely the best you're going to get considering the area. Yes, the years of struggle and turmoil should end in a Family Dollar, because maybe it will teach the city to refrain from sticking their noses into areas that they have no knowledge of. Also, Family Dollar will benefit the community with access to low cost food and clothing in close proximity to their homes.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 3:05 p.m.

Leslie, so how do you REALLY feel? could be worse, could be a wal-mart....


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 1:35 a.m.

Couldn't agree more. Upon reading this story I had two thoughts: 1. This makes perfect sense. 2. I hate this so much. Did we really go through years of struggle and turmoil to end up with a dollar store on this property? I hope not.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 11:53 p.m.

This is a horrible idea. Dollar stores exist to suck money out of communities, just like check cashing places. They promote outsourcing of manufacturing, hurting our local economies even further. A vacant lot is more productive than a dollar store.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 3:04 p.m.

Joe, better a vacant lot than a wal-mart.....


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 11:25 p.m.

Ghetto store..


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 10:25 p.m.

That's great!!!This is the way that you upgrade Ypsi by having another sub-standard retailer to go with yes check cashing, hair braiding ,bars with cheap beer etc.Look at Gault Village. What kind of grocery store went in there? A discount off brand dirty place that didn't last instead of a quality store that caters to the same customers that shop Busch and Meijers. A dollar discount doesn't bring anything to Ypsi. Look at the parking lots of Dollar stores,they don't keep them up and people who shop unwrap purchases and throw the paper on the ground. Ypsilanti has great potential. Do EMU students shop downtown? They should so, give them and the staff a place to be proud of

Bill Brennan

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 5:22 a.m.

If a larger, more established grocery chain thought that space was viable, they'd have moved in after Farmer Jack went under. Wait what? A major, established grocery chain was already there? And didn't survive? So why would Busch's want any part of it?


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 3:03 p.m.

bill...could be worse....could be a wal-mart.....

Ann English

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 12:04 a.m.

Greg, too, I didn't want to see the Busch's on Ellsworth near Hewitt close. Sheena's Marketplace, which moved into that spot right after the closure, was inferior to Busch's, and a lot of shoppers thought so too, so that closed, too. It would be good to have an Aldi's in Ypsilanti, so Ypsilantians don't have to go into Wayne County or western Ann Arbor to shop at an Aldi's grocery store.

greg, too

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 11:03 p.m.

Busch's, that is what they need to try and bring to that space. Good grocery store, not a big chain, and local-ish. Maybe then try and score a Jimmy Johns in there, some kind of small health food place (or maybe a co-op extension), and places like that. Dollar does nothing but maintains the neighborhood status quo....which would seem to be the opposite of why they bought that land in the first place. If you are going to slap up a Dollar, why didn't they just aim for a Walmart instead? Same clientele, might bring in a little more in tax dollars. Or a burger king? Or an Aldi's?


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 10:21 p.m.

The article says "West Michigan Street," but I believe it means "East Michigan Avenue." This is the northeasternmost part of the parcel. tdw, I'm sorry that you don't think something like I described could happen in Ypsi. People said the same thing about Depot Town in 1980 and downtown in 2000.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 2:15 a.m.

Cash I agree completely.When I was in high school Gault Village was still nice and there were a lot of businesses on Ecourse.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 12:38 a.m.

tdw, I've been a local for 68 years. Ypsilanti was practically destroyed by the flight of Ford Motor Co and General Motors. IMO Ypsilanti area was hit harder economically than Detroit and is really jsut now crawling out from under the devastation. Because Ypsilanti was hit hard does NOT mean Ypsilanti cannot rise again.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 11:01 p.m.

I wasn't trying to insult you.I've just lived here for the most part of 49 years so I just don't see that working.I really haven't seen much of a improvement in downtown ( it's never been that bad though )And in 1980 I wasn't old enough to get into the bars in Depot Town so I really don't remember but again it has never been " bad "


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 9:40 p.m.

Can somebody explain the concept drawing? Which direction are we looking? Which streets are which? What is the "Drive" in the lower right corner? There is no "drive" at the corner of W. Michigan and S. Park Street.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 12:16 a.m.

thanks murph!


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 11:25 p.m.

We appear to be looking at this from the northwest: we're floating above the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Lincoln, with the intersection of Michigan and Park at the leftmost point of the building. (You can see a blurry, upside down "S Park St" in the road just behind/above the building rendering.) So the building would be towards the intersection, then the parking lot just west of the building, then a new drive, perhaps aligned with Lincoln, between this and the next site over along the Michigan frontage.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 10:22 p.m.

I think that is a smaple drawing, not one showing our actual streets.

Thomas Jones

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 9:21 p.m.

Really Ypsilanti Really.... Good Luck with all that.... and I would be the first to go here!!!!!!!!! NOT!!!!!


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 3:06 p.m.

Hey TJ, we all don't live in a Starbuck's world, with a govt. subsidized economy-I.E, Ann Arbor. I'll take it. The development will definitely look better than, what is there now.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 3:02 p.m.

Thomas, at least it's not a wal-mart.....

music to my ear

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 9:20 p.m.

all you ypsi nay- sayers just wait you will be saying ann arbor where? at least ypsilanti has lots of parking it is going to be interesting, seeing the city grow. and yes come alive!!!!! I would like to see a conglomerate of a bunch of fun little stores like a mini mall o.k.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 9:38 p.m.

"at least ypsilanti has lots of parking " they should make that the city slogan. Put it up on billboards on 94.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 8:58 p.m.

The Rec Center, according to the article, would be the anchor tenant, not Family Dollar. That would be on the most distant edge. But I don't disagree with Sailor67. Check-cashing and rent-to-owns are NOT the sorts of businesses we want there.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 8:54 p.m.

To answer Ms. Stafford: I would like to see the Rec Center and the types of businesses that those who frequent the Rec Center would patronize: sporting goods, juice bars, health food stores, sports-related or casual apparel, and so on. Putting a school building there is not at all appropriate. No, I'm not crazy about chain stores or the Dollar Store, but I will need to hear more about it before I make a decision. If it does go in, I agree that the corner of East Michigan and Park is the place to put it. (The article said "West Michigan," but isn't the river the dividing line between the east and west addresses on Michigan Ave?) Would the Rec Center still be an option?


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 3:12 p.m.

@Chase Ingersoll: I guess you haven't been to Mix, Bona Sera, Red Rock, or any of the stores on Carpenter. You are right about one thing: Most people in Ypsi are too smart to pay $15 for a Reuben sandwich. We leave that to all of you Ann Arborites with "taste."

Chase Ingersoll

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 2:07 a.m.

Ann Arbor tastes. Ypsi budget.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 9:06 p.m.

MorningGirl.........Please .....this is Ypsi not Ann Arbor we're talking about.( and I'm from Ypsi )


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 8:50 p.m.

So, the City wants Family Dollar to "anchor" this development .... that doesn't sound like very good news to me!! What sort of B-3 businesses are they gonna' bring-in to support the anchor ... check cashing, cellphones, beauty supplies, $99 suits, rent-to-owns?? Good luck Folks.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 1:27 p.m.

My thoughts exactly. Maybe a compteting Dollar Tree, a party store, ......


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 8:38 p.m.

I think everyone was better off before the Ypsilanti politicians ever got involved.

Leslie Leland

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 1:32 a.m.

I am inclined to agree....doesn't anyone there have any taste at all?


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 8:34 p.m.

I think the new consolidated school district should get the water street property and put new buildings there, and then sell the large parcels of land the current high schools sit on. Putting the schoold there will bring traffic to the area and tyhe businesses already there will benefit from that.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 1:01 a.m.

Excellent Idea! The Consolidated Ypsilanti High School would become a SE Mich Powerhouse in Football and All Sports! Bring Back the Glory to the City of Ypsilanti! Have VISION!!!


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 8:32 p.m.

How exactly is this design/ use different than the Burger King proposed a few years ago?

Cheryl Weber

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 2 a.m.

Actually, since there is a Family Dollar Dry goods discount store on East Michigan ave, next to Kroger; it will be important to know if a new store would replace it. That would make this proposal similar to Burger King. Other than that people coming to shop are more likely to stop at other businesses than customers of a fast food place.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 8:53 p.m.

hours of operation, traffic, food -v-retail, and history of police/fire usage - as starters. That and the real creation of jobs (not just moving a few down the street. This is way better.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 8:30 p.m.

Come on Ypsilanti! Get this done!

Katrease Stafford

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 8:28 p.m.

Readers: What are some other retailers you would like to see on this property?


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 6:55 p.m.

Golden Corral. OK, if not that? Then maybe a Target? Wal Mart or anything that does not involve a family dollar. There is already one near Michigan and Ecorse. We could put a Kroger gas station there. No dollar stores. Period.

Bill Brennan

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 5:23 p.m.

I'd love to see a Walmart. I'm not joking or being ironically sarcastic, either.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 3 p.m.



Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 4:41 a.m.

How about a Kalahari indoor water park with a hotel on the the riverfront.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 10:07 p.m.

Two Walgreen's and a CVS. And another Walgreen's. And maybe a drug store.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 9:30 p.m.

American Apparel and Urban Outfitters.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 9:18 p.m.



Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 8:26 p.m.

Come on Ypsi don't blow this one


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 8:24 p.m.

Cue the people who don't think any chains should be allowed in Watertown in 3..2..1...


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 3:20 p.m.

Leslie, Family Dollar sells the same things that Kroger and Busch's sell. They just sell overstocks of them at a discount. They are not a dollar store where everything is less than a dollar and basically just junk and junky toys. Why do you think Ypsi is above that?

Bill Brennan

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 5:30 p.m.

You call them hipsters, I call them racists. I don't doubt for one second that the majority of the resistance to Family Dollar, Burger King or any other chain store at the Water Street site is born of a desire to keep Ypsi's low-income blacks away from the area. Oh, they'll brag to their friends in Ann Arbor about how they live in the "ghetto" but in reality, they want nothing to do with "those people." And the reality is that Family Dollar would benefit the majority of the current residents of Ypsi far more than any of the alternatives that are being discussed.

Leslie Leland

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 1:30 a.m.

not, not hipsters....people who think that Ypsilanti is better than a Family Dollar which is a very low quality store selling cheap food, and tons of junky merchandise from China, old-fashioned, yesterday....NO!


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 9:29 p.m.

It's Water Street. and those people are called Hipsters.