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Posted on Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Washtenaw Avenue redevelopment: What's next for ex-Farmer Jack, Ypsi-Arbor Lanes properties?

By Katrease Stafford


County records show the owner of the former Farmer Jack building at 3020 Washtenaw in Ypsilanti Township is delinquent in taxes.

Courtney Sacco |

The redevelopment of the former Farmer Jack and Ypsi-Arbor Lanes properties could serve as a "catalyst" for the ReImagine Washtenaw corridor initiative, according to Ypsilanti Township officials.

"We would like to see that corner act as a catalyst for the rest of the corridor," said Township Planner Joe Lawson. "...That corner is the start to the ReImagine vision."

Both properties being redeveloped would have a tremendous effect on not only the township, but the other municipalities that border Washtenaw Avenue, Lawson said.

"They're the anchor of the township and the entrance into Ann Arbor," said Township Supervisor Brenda Stumbo. "What we're trying to do with the Washtenaw corridor is have connectivity. There's been a lot of time and effort put into that vision. It's going to spur economic development."

The redevelopment of those two properties has been slow to happen, but officials remain optimistic.

As of Friday, the county's 2012 delinquent tax data show the ownership entity, Ypsilanti Real Estate Holdings LLC, owes $104,057.88 in taxes on the former Farmer Jack property. If paid after March 29, interest would be added to that amount, bringing the total to $109,260.78.

The company, based in Franklin, Mich., is registered to Imad Al-Azem, state records show. Al-Azem bought the property for $8.5 million in 2005. It’s now assessed at a little more than $1.5 million, nearly half of when it was assessed in 2010 at just under $3 million.

Al-Azem could not be reached for comment.

Lawson said he hasn't heard much from the owner recently.

"The Salvation Army was looking at that building not too long ago as a thrift shop, but I'm not sure if that deal is moving forward," Lawson said. "We haven’t heard anything from the building owner in quite some time."

The Ypsilanti Township store has been vacant since 2007, despite Farmer Jack having a lease that was set to expire on Feb. 28, 2019. Farmer Jack's parent company, A&P, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2010 and stopped making lease payments to building owners around the country.

"We’d love to see it redeveloped and if anyone ever comes to the township looking for space that’s one of the buildings we direct them to," Lawson said,

Since Farmer Jack's closing, Lawson said the township and owner have received inquiries from several interested parties.

"There's been some other interest in it, but they were uses that don't fit the zoning," Lawson said. "One was a church group and they wanted to split the building and obviously didn't get too far with that deal... A few wanted car lots."


The Ypsi-Arbor Lanes bowling alley closed in 2011, but township officials are hopeful the building will be repurposed soon. files

The former Ypsi-Arbor Lanes at 2985 Washtenaw Ave., is owned by Frankel Associates, based in Troy, and registered to Samuel Frankel. The bowling alley closed in 2011.

Its 2013 assessed value is $424,900, making its market value double that, but the building's value has decreased over time. In 2009 the building was assessed at nearly $1 million. Frankel is current on his taxes.

He could not be reached for comment.

"We had one interested party in that property about a year ago not long ago after it closed," Lawson said. "We sat down and had a meeting, but the project just didn’t move forward and the business located elsewhere in the township."

Whoever chooses to redevelop the property will likely pay thousands in renovations, unless the building use remains as a bowling alley.

"That building is almost to the point of being functionally obsolete," Lawson said. "It's going to have to have so many renovations. If it was a commercial user or retail, in order for them to occupy the space, we're probably talking six-figure renovations."

Lawson said some of the proposed uses for the buildings, particularly the former Farmer Jack, didn't align with the vision for the Washtenaw Avenue Corridor.

That vision deals a lot with the ReImagine Washtenaw project, according to Lawson. The project is a partnership between Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Ypsilanti Township, Pittsfield Township, the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority, the Michigan Department of Transportation and Washtenaw County.

"We're going through what those goals and objectives are," he said.

Lawson said consultants have been hired to draft design standards, that would help regulate the uses of the buildings along the corridor. Lawson said the focus is on mixed use, that would allow for "multi-housing" and retail.

"Automotive and drive-thru restaurants didn’t weigh favorably," he said.

The former Farmer Jack and Ypsi-Arbor Lanes buildings are key to the project, Lawson said, largely because of their high visibility along the corridor.

Lawson said the building's location has a high residential density and close proximity to two major universities and hospitals, which makes it attractive. However, getting someone to redevelop the property is a challenge in some ways.

"Geographically, it’s a great location," Lawson said. "We just have to find the right user. I don’t think it’s a lack of marketability, part of it has to do with the overall size of the building. It just doesn't fit what a lot of (business owners) are looking for. It just goes right along with the Salvation Army and church--neither one of those uses needed that whole building."

The building is 57,600 square feet, Lawson said, and shares a large parking lot with a Kmart store.

"It's large and a typical retailer doesn't need that much space," he said. "That particular building, someone built a grocery store there for a reason because it was needed, and it could still be needed."

Lawson said township officials believe the properties will be developed.

"They’re ripe for redevelopment and with things turning around at this point with developers coming forth with capital in hand, it's going to turn around at some point and we’re hoping sooner than later," Lawson said. "With those properties being prime redevelopment, I think it will happen soon."

Stumbo said signs of redevelopment have already began to show along the high traffic corridor.

"Through these hard times, the walls have come down and people are working together," Stumbo said. "I feel good about it."

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



Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 11:58 p.m.

I'm betting the plan is to let as many properties as possible decline in value, and when they're at their nadir, the Corridor Improvement Authority will implement a TIF plan allowing it to skim off millions in future tax revenue in the same sort of financially self-perpetuating scam currently used by the DDA.


Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 2:42 a.m.

There will not be any future tax increment above what is now collected to be skimmed.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 4:08 p.m.

Are you kidding me? The sign is nice and informative and show some life in this part of Dodge. Get real people, it is a sign. It is a sign.

joe golder

Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 4:03 p.m.

The area could use a family friendly hotel and indoor, outdoor water park. It would be the kind of destination that would draw folks into the area. The River st. Project in Ypsi would be an excellent location also!


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 3:40 p.m.

Hope this doesn't turn into another Ypsi " water street" deal.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 11:59 p.m.

Well, there's always hope.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 3:39 p.m.

How about a monster truck course?


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 2:04 p.m.

It is beyond time to accept that there are WAY too many strip mall developments along Washtenaw (and many other streets in the area) and that reclaiming them for nature is the far more sensible option. At this point, I'm sure people such as Mr. Al-Azem would agree there is nothing you can put in any of these massive boxes that is needed. Let alone viable. As the list of interested parties for that site prove- a "church" and a used car lot. Reclaiming quite a few of these massive blacktop eyesores would allow the viable businesses to concentrate in blocks which could then be made more pedestrian/public transport- friendly while re-greening what was carelessly, and ignorantly, UN-greened in the past. Wasting enormous amounts of money trying to redevelop what was originally a disastrous trend of suburban motorized expansion will not help us heading into what will certainly be a long and drawn out contraction.


Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 2:52 a.m.

Furthermore, if I were in Mr Al-Azem's shoes, I'd be very interested in making sure MY property was where the concentration was targeted. As you say, having close proximity to existing apartments, hospital, etc. If his property had a nice mix of small, well-built storefronts, he'd likely be in better shape. But that's not what he has.


Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 2:38 a.m.

Environmentalists would make vastly better city planners than the people who have been doing it for the past 50 years. As this sick stretch of road shows, the evidence of bad planning is all around us. City planners have allowed real estate developers to saddle us with these many square miles of strip mall development which has now outlasted its usefulness. Quite a bit of it will sit there, unused, until it is slowly but inexorably reclaimed by nature. This process is underway all across America, I see it up close and personal every week in my travels. If you think Mr. Al-Azem is sitting pretty, maybe he is. His options, as presented here, were not viable. Maybe you know of some better options? Out of necessity, cities in Michigan (Saginaw, Flint, Detroit) are engaged in doing exactly what I have described- Identifying areas to be supported and other areas to be razed. These cities have come to the realization that they cannot support everything that currently is built. Doing that here seems far preferable to a checkerboard of empty buildings and abandonment amongst the struggling businesses left in their midst. Blight leads to more blight in a vicious circle. That's the situation developing down Washtenaw into Ypsi. The two largest properties on the Main/gateway corner have failed. Why not be proactive? Ypsi in particular cannot afford to provide services everywhere there currently exists blacktop and buildings. It cannot ALL be saved. Do you think Ypsi is in such great shape that they can afford to continue to provide city services to empty buildings just because they have been there for 40-50 years? As for your "criminals in bushes" scenario, in my experience, criminals don't much hang out in forests or on large, grassy lawns but they DO spend time in and around dilapidated buildings. Stealing the copper, fixtures, siding. Stealing cars and robbing people in lonely parking lots.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 3:23 p.m.

Re-greening plots of land in random parts of Ypsilanti seems like an exceptionally stupid idea. That entire area is filled with businesses that are healthy. Why would anyone give up on a plot of land in an area that has proven that it can support business? Why give up on land next to several apartment complexes and where a hospital and two institutions of higher learning can be found nearby? Mr. Al-Azem has invested $8.5 million in that property. Perhaps that was foolish in hindsight, but it is the height of arrogance for you to suggest that he forsake that money and turn it into a small splotch of "green"--whatever that means. Green can be a grassy field. Oh, joy, grass! A veritable field of bucolic dreams! Or perhaps you meant a woody patch. That would be splendid place for criminals of all types to hide out. They would surely praise you for your immeasurably foolish idea of planting a miniature urban jungle in an area that has problems with crime. You have proven once again why environmentalists make poor city planners. Your inability to see basic socioeconomic issues with your idea is proof that you need to spend more time among people and less among the flora and fauna.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 12:09 p.m.

We need a grocery store (and no offense, but not another Asian one). Maybe a Kroger, but better than the one on Carpenter


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 11:54 a.m.

Unfortunately the area isn't filled with people who own homes, this area is genrally an area with many apartment complexes with college students to lower income folks. Most things along that road don't do well over the long hall and this is just another example. Folks from Ann Arbor don't generally cross Carpenter to come towards Ypsilanti so the pool of people who would frequent these possible shops will be relatively low unless they bring something super attractive.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 2:59 a.m.

I would love to see a grocery store go in there. I loved Farmer Jacks. Maybe a big over sized Trader Joes? Anything but pizza and a dollar store.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 2:38 a.m.

I want Ypsi Arbor back.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 3:38 p.m.

A good bowling alley would be great!!!


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 2:09 a.m.

Township Planner Joe Lawson should return to reality and give up his fantasy land impression of these properties on Washtenaw Avenue. The prime ingredient for any successful business is location, location and location. These buildings do not occupy prime property as is reflected in their diminished assessed valuations. The neighborhoods and surroundings retail outlets will not attract a steady flow of middle class consumers who have money to spend and would spend it in that area. The lack of serious interest in occupying these structures or replacing them means that nothing sustainable is likely to occur there soon. A new facade does not change the strip mall appearance that remains after remodeling.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 12:58 a.m.

An indoor BMX / mountain bike racing course! My neighbors packed up their bikes and drove almost 3 hours to one in Ohio, I hear it's really neat with all kinds of jumps and obstacles. It's also indoors, so you can race year round!


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 12:02 a.m.

What next? How about a bulldozer?


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 11:44 p.m.

These lots will make fine wooded areas.

Ann English

Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 11:54 p.m.

The southwestern corner of Michigan Avenue and Prospect may as well become a wooded area; a L-shaped strip mall used to be located there.

Matt Lang

Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 8:03 p.m.

that would be a good place to have rodeos and demolition derbies, maybe even at the same time


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 12:03 a.m.

Wow, that would be so Ypsi.

Ann English

Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 7:55 p.m.

The Carpenter Meijer opened in 1971. I remember going to see several movies at the Wayside Theatre in the 1970s, and later, there was an Adecco agency in its own separate building much closer to Washtenaw than Kmart is. Later the building became a bank, which still stands there today, open and operating. Farmer Jack was open in that location for seven years. The second day they were open, I remember seeing PILLOWS sold there. The salmon they sold was good, but not exceptionally good.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 3:37 p.m.

where is the bank?.. there is one across the road from there.


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 7:37 p.m.

"What we're trying to do with the Washtenaw corridor is have connectivity. There's been a lot of time and effort put into that vision. It's going to spur economic development." From all the time and effort, what have the results been? Are there any?


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 6:14 p.m.

Maybe Trader Joe's would like a nice place to expand from its overly-crowded-bad-parking-lot-dangerous-intersection location. Also, what about Horrock's? Great Michigan-based business located in Lansing, Grand Rapids, and I believe Battle Creek. I make a point of stopping there every time I'm in GR. Plum Market would be a great addition as well. I wonder if anyone from the township or Reimagine Washtenaw is being proactive about marketing these locations - along with the giant vacant former Busch's on Ellsworth. Katrese - any info about possible development there?

Katrease Stafford

Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 1:30 a.m.

IheartYpsi, I haven't heard anything yet, but I will follow up to see what's been happening since that building has been vacant.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 1:10 a.m.

That Busch's store on Ellsworth never did very well. I worked for Busch's for a while when that store was open. I think what one of the managers said to me was it was hard to make a profit when half of the customer base was buying 40s and diapers with WIC coupons and the other half was stealing the store blind. No surprise that they closed that store and others couldn't do well there either.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 12:20 a.m.

Leave my TJs alone. It is a 10 minute walk from my house!

Ann English

Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 8:08 p.m.

I guess I always go to Trader Joe's at good times; I never find it dangerous to turn left onto Stadium from there. Are other Trader Joe's locations much bigger? Or do most of them have about five or six shopping aisles? Plum Market offers rewards cards to their customers. That area on Washtenaw east of Golfside is more level than the Dexter-Maple intersection and its vicinity. It would be more inviting to Plum Market customers in the winter, having no slopes to carefully turn from or climb. That Ypsilanti Busch's on Ellsworth Road was very convenient, and it was a better store than the Sheena's Marketplace which took its place for a short time. The area still has sufficient parking space in front for a grocery store. And to think that some Ypsilanti residents who like Busch's are excited at the news that one is opening in Canton, right where a Farmer Jack used to be in 2007.

E. Daniel Ayres

Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 6:09 p.m.

It doesn't look like there is much potential for "development" of either of the two sites! The Farmer Jack's there was the closest place to our house and we frequented it regularly before it closed. Given the level of activity at K-Mart in that same complex, I'd say the only active business is the rather funky "Used Auto Fix" shop on the corner in what used to be a Tire store. I would be strongly opposed to giving someone a tax break to redevelop the site, but I suspect that is what it will take to attract the kind of long term potential uses which could turn out to be viable. IMHO an "independent" grocery, or even one that fills a void in the "International Foods" offerings along Washtenaw might work. Someone tried a fresh fruit and vegetable venture down the road but it only lasted a few months. I think their old site is vacant too!

Ann English

Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 8:55 p.m.

There's already a Chinese grocery store and Chinese restaurant on the south side of Washtenaw, across from the Fountain Square plaza. But yes, "international Foods" offerings would give the international stores on Packard some competition. Some medical offices would be convenient, in the bowling alley area. It isn't too near St. Joe's and would give medical offices on Packard or on Washtenaw east of Hewitt some competition. Golfside is more level down to Ellsworth than Hewitt is, for sure.


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 5:43 p.m.

The problem with that Farmer Jack store was it didn't face the road, it ran perpendicular to Washtenaw and was too far away from Golfside to be visible. Even when it opened it was never very busy. I used to live right next to that Kmart in Camelot Apts. Back then it was a pretty high crime area, and it doesn't look like it has gotten much better with that big vacant building. The Wayside used to be where that Farmer Jack building is, and at the time they tore it down it was a whirly ball gym.

Ann English

Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 8:15 p.m.

The Farmer Jack that had been on West Stadium Boulevard in the 1980s didn't face the road either. It too ran perpendicular to Stadium, and couldn't be seen well from the road because it stood on higher terrain (had a sloping entrance/exit driveway). They were smarter with their Farmer Jack location decision in Canton, for it was right at a street corner, visible from two streets. No wonder that location was the last to close.


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 5:26 p.m.

Something that size would be great as clinic space for several practitioners. Or, year-round hydroponic food farm/market (only sort of kidding). Recreational facility (not just a gym, maybe indoor sports). Teaching/learning center.

Bill Marr

Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 2:32 p.m.

I think that the former Farmer Jack site needs to be torn down, and turned into something like a movie theater/entertainment center. I mean Ann Arbor has 2 movie big movie theaters (Quality 16 & Rave/Showcase). The former Ypsi/Arbor bowling alley could be used for shopping & dinning as well. Not just that but something that could get people to come over before going into Ann Arbor, or Ypsilanti.

Chuck Saltpeter

Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 3:03 p.m.

On the theater idea, maybe something like an Alamo Drafthouse, that has a dining component and funky programming as well as first run films. Kalamazoo is opening one soon.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 2:38 p.m.

"I mean Ann Arbor has 2 movie big movie theaters " Umm, neither of these properties are located in Ann Arbor. From a geography standpoint this would be WAY too close to the Rave Theaters already. Driving distance is less than 3 miles. Carpenter Road has taken the place of Washtenaw in the types of places that would work . I could see a Burlington Coat Factory being successful in that location. The bowling alley side would be best suited to be torn down and either a strip mall or a restaurant.


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 4:41 p.m.

There was a drive in where Glencoe Hills apartments are now I barely remember it so I'm guessing it was 40+ years ago.Wayside was at Farmer Jacks.Kroger moved from Glencoe Hill crossing ( ? )( next to the McDonalds.) to where it is now next to home Depot.Unisvery Drive in is where the big theater is on Carpetder

Brick Richard

Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 4:36 p.m.

What was once a Kroger is what was also once indeed The Ypsi-Ann Drive In Theater. I saw Planet of the Apes there


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 4:10 p.m.

Wayside was where the Farmer Jack is/was. University Drive-In was located at the Rave/Showcase site. I don't remember a drive in ever being at Glencoe, just a Kroger.


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 2:52 p.m.

I'm not sure about the movie theater idea Bill. I live near the Rave/Showcase and have noticed it is only being half utilized. But you do make an interesting case for dining and shopping. But I believe before that can happen that whole area where both buildings are located needs to be cleaned up and I don't just mean properties, if you get my drift.

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 2:52 p.m.

yes the Wayside was somewhere in that area. Many years ago there was also the Ypsi Ann drive in theater I think where Glencoe Hills is now.


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 2:46 p.m.

There was a theater there before the Farmer Jack. Wayside, or something like that.

Katrease Stafford

Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 2:28 p.m.

I think the question here is, what would residents like to see at these two properties? I can see how these large properties serve as a "gateway" so I think the use is important. I found it interesting to know that some of the offers that didn't pan out for the ex-Farmer Jack property included car lots, a church group, the Salvation Army, etc. Do you think that means the township, and hopefully the owners, want to be selective with the use since these are "prime" properties?

Boo Radley

Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 12:32 p.m.

@ Life in Ypsi ... This is the first time I can recall anyone mentioning a Dave & Busters in any conversation about new local businesses. I think you are absolutely right and this would be a great location for one. Best idea I have heard, and I think one would do really well there.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 10:59 a.m.

I wonder if they are really as prime as the township would like to think. A prime spot usually has no problem being purchased and/or filled by tenants. Speaking only on the Ypsi-arbor site, that is not an especially attractive area, and about The best they could expect there might be a demolition. The rest of the area needs improvement before anyone would sink money into a project there.

Life in Ypsi

Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 2:51 a.m.

I would like a skating rink. Ever since the skating rink in the township burned down, there is one less positive place for the kids. To go skating we have to either drive to Canton or Sumpter. A Dave and Busters would be a great addition too.


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 6:24 p.m.

A new bowling alley! I think it would be great if the old alley could be modernized.

Dog Guy

Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 1:54 p.m.

Development is a huge crapshoot. Developers are found either poolside or in court. Successful development yields income as well as blind envy from the 99%. But development by government commissions, authorities, and departments such as Reimagine Washtenaw Project has tax money capital so those in charge are guaranteed ever-increasing income. When a government project goes from $8.5M to 3M, it is a success. There is no uncertainty in any government activity.

Homeland Conspiracy

Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 1:38 p.m.

How about a new medical marijuana dispensary


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 1:24 p.m.

What signs of development?


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 1:09 p.m.

I'd like to know how that horrible electronic sign in front of the pizza place at the corner by the former Ypsi-Arbor bowl was approved. Aside from being overly bright and garish, it is a distraction at a busy intersection.

Denise Anderson

Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 1:48 a.m.

I live near there and thought the sign could be distracting. Hover, though the sign is still there, the lights have been turned off for a little while now [couple weeks, maybe].


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 12:52 a.m.

I've also had the same thoughts about the sign - so bright and busy it is really really hard to focus on driving without glancing over. Additionally, it looks super-cheapy - it's like the signage version of the kiosks at Briarwood.


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 3:15 p.m.

Yes, yes, yes, I agree entirely. The first time I was driving up to the Washtenaw/Golfside intersection after this sign was installed was at night and my eyes immediately diverted to that awful flashing sign. Not only that, the brightness blurred out the traffic lights. I thought of my mother-in-law and how I had to turn off my blinking Christmans tree lights because they could cause a seizure. I don't know much about seizure triggers but I'd have to believe these types of signs could do it. I thought about contacting the city to make a complaint. However, the last 3 times I've driven past that sign it not been activated so maybe the city already has taken action. I hope.

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 3:05 p.m.

My comment above was mean to be in another spot. Please ignore. PattyinYpsi, my apologies for the snarky nature of my comment. It was uncalled for. But in fairness you weren't just providing information you were speaking to the distractive nature of the sign in your opinion. And I stand by my point that if a sign is a distraction thats not on the sign its on the driver. Distraction is everywhere one needs to focus on the job at hand. As we approach summer pretty girls in summer cloths can be a distraction too. Its my job to ignore them and drive my car.

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 2:56 p.m.

I remember once a bunch of us broke high school kids at the drive in theater trying to back in the exit like that was going to work. Toward the end they charged by the car instead of by the passenger to thwart 3-4 kids hiding in the trunk.


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 2:53 p.m.

Wow. Thanks for the snarky reply, Craig. I was just giving you some information. So sorry!

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 2:33 p.m.

I've been through that intersection many times in the last few months. I can't say I can picture the sign at all. Maybe I'm too busy driving my car to pay attention.


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 2:22 p.m.

Craig, have you seen the sign? It's the kind that has been outlawed in numerous cities around the country. It features very brightly lit moving words, and it's virtually impossible, if you're at that intersection, not to notice it.

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 1:44 p.m.

Overly bright and and garish are a bit subjective. You might think so and I might not and neither of us would be right or wrong. As to a driving distraction, people that easily distracted shouldn't have a drivers license.

Duc d'Escargot

Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 12:54 p.m.

Whatever happens with the former Farmer Jack and bowling alley, I hope the Township will work with prospective developers to improve access for pedestrians and bicyclists. We need standardized sidewalks and curb cutouts all along Washtenaw. I understand that such planning is consisent with this "Re-Imagine Washtenaw" project. Another challenge for the Township will be the fate of the KMart property when they go out of business. I'm not knocking KMart (I shop there every week) but unfortunately it looks as if Sears Holdings is in trouble. This will probably lead to store closings and maybe even going out of business altogether.

Katrease Stafford

Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 2:22 p.m.

Interesting comments, Duc. I must admit that whenever I drive by the Kmart parking lot, I can't help but notice how empty it is. When I was in college, I lived in the Aspen Chase apartment complex, which is right next to the store. It was easy access and within walking distance for quick purchases, but the interior could definitely use an upgrade.


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 11:58 a.m.

Dude, could you image the pot store you could put in the Farmer Jack building? Whoa....


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 3:38 p.m.

Complete with blue light specials.


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 11:32 a.m.

When do they foreclose on the unpaid taxes?

Katrease Stafford

Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 1:19 a.m.

TommyJ, As the property values have decreased on the former Farmer Jack property, so have the tax amounts. At peak in 2007, the owner paid $175,970.47 in summer taxes and $52,288.53 in 2007 winter taxes. So you can kind of see how it's declined over time. Sorry for the long link, but you can get a better idea by checking out the township assessor's site here. The data goes all the way back to 1998:


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 5:35 p.m.

Do you know what is their tax payment per year?

Katrease Stafford

Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 2:10 p.m.

Good question, A2comments. The representative I spoke with from the county's treasurer department said in April, they'll put an additional 1 percent interest amount on the amount owed and so on. It doesn't go into forfeiture until 2014, at which point they can put a lien on the property. In 2015, at the earliest, that's when they can take him to court. It's worth noting that the delinquent taxes are from 2012 and were just turned over the county on March 1. The representative said they have several tax payments in the pipeline and it's possible his could be one, but they won't know until the end of next week probably.


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 10:47 a.m.

It is a shame all these buildings sit empty. And they keep building more!


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 10:26 a.m.

I worked in that store for all but the first eight months of its existence. Farmer Jack's overexpansion ended up dooming that company. That was a great location, until Meijer opened up about a year later.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 4:53 p.m.

Meijer opened in the early 70's. I moved tp Ypsi in 73 and I remember as a kid going to Meijer and playing in their play area for kids while parents shopped.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 4:35 a.m.

I am corrected, then. Meijer was there before FJ. My bad. Was it Target that opened in 2000? Oh well. I was mistaken. When I moved down here, the Kroger on Washtenaw was west of Golfside Road, and it was closing so they could open up a new store on Carpenter and Packard. I chose Farmer Jack because they paid me $12/hour, and Kroger only paid $7/hour for the same work. FJ was quite busy the first couple of years, but business started to die down around 2002-2003 and continued to get worse until it closed in 2005.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 4:12 a.m.

At least metrichead got the spelling of MEIJER correctly. You know someone is from Michigan because they add an "S" to names! LOL!

Life in Ypsi

Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 2:47 a.m.

There was a Farmer Jack on Carpenter next to Best, Is that the location you really mean?

John Henry

Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 11:56 p.m.

Obviously metrichead is mistaken. The Meijers had been there for a few decades before that.


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 3:47 p.m.

There was never a Kroger there. Years ago, it was a different building housing Wayside movie theater. The theater shut down (I don't remember what year), the building stood, and a whirlyball business moved in for a time. They left at some point, the building was vacant for a while, then was torn down to build the Farmer Jack. Kroger was located a little further west in what is now called the Glencoe Crossing (I think) shopping center, where the rent-to-own is now (Aarons or whatever).


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 1:27 p.m.

Meijers was built around 1972. Krogers moved from arborland to the Farmer Jack location around 1980.


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 12:27 p.m.

The Carpenter Road Meijer has been there from at least the 70s. in My earliest memories my mom shoppes there.


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 11:27 a.m.

I believe Meijers was open quite a while before that Farmer Jack closed. In fact if memory serves the Meijers on Carpenter Road was there well before that Farmer Jack even opened.