Water Street: Council to consider $1.2M Family Dollar purchase agreement, hold public hearing
Courtesy City of Ypsilanti
Will Ypsilanti give a green light to the proposed $1.2 million Family Dollar development on Water Street?
The City Council will decide Tuesday night following a public hearing that several community leaders have said they plan to attend to speak out against the proposed project.
Council approved a letter of intent Nov. 20 with Core Resources, LLC, Family Dollar's development partner, to purchase and develop approximately 8,320 square feet of the 36-acre Water Street property.
The letter of intent was signed on Dec.10, establishing 90 days for the city to finalize the plans with Family Dollar.
City staff has worked with Core Resources on a few modifications to the concept plan as well as on the purchase agreement with the help of Miller Canfield.
The last formal plan for development of the entire Water Street redevelopment area was a plan from Joseph Freed and Associates in 2006.
At the time, Freed proposed mixed use and single-story commercial development on Michigan Avenue and a mix of residential products through the site, according to city records.
The Freed plan identified the area Family Dollar is interested in purchasing as a potential spot for a one-story drug store on 1.45 acres. Family Dollar will encompass about 1.1 acres.
Consultants working on the city's master plan revision process are looking into a way to integrate the project with the future plan but may suggest a reorientation of the building or change in the parcel size to integrate the parcel into a future scheme, according to City Planner Teresa Gillotti.
City staff will be following up with Family Dollar, the consulting team and council on any particular changes that may impact the development agreement after Tuesday's council meeting.
Joseph Tobianski | AnnArbor.com
Family Dollar is proposing purchasing the land from the city for $210,000 and investing about $800,000 in improvements, not including land cost.
To determine the possible tax amount the city might receive from the development, staff used the AutoZone at 2166 Washtenaw Ave., the closest comparable retailer within city limits.
The taxable value of that property is $341,900 for a 7,864-square-foot building. Based on this, the estimated taxable value for the Family Dollar is between $350,000 and $400,000, which would result in an estimated $30,000 a year in taxes.
If council approves the purchase agreement, it would contractually obligate the city to the proposal. However, council can request a delay in the decision or decline the proposal altogether.
If approved, the agreement would be executed immediately and city staff would begin amendments to the brownfield plan, which would be presented to City Council. Core Resources would immediately begin work on a survey and submit a site plan.
Core Resources has told the city it expects to begin construction this summer.
As part of the purchase agreement, the city agreed to a restriction prohibiting similar discount stores like Dollar General or Dollar Tree from opening on the remainder of the property. However, big-box discount department stores larger than 30,000 square feet, such as Target, Walmart, K-Mart or Meijer, would be allowed to locate there.
Under the purchase agreement, Family Dollar must begin construction within six months of the agreement being signed and open for business within 24 months. If not, the city has the right to reacquire the property at the same price.
Several Ypsilanti residents have expressed concern regarding the proposed development, saying they prefer independent stores to chains for the Water Street property.
City officials have said the proposed development fit within the original Water Street vision.
Mayor Paul Schreiber noted the difference of opinion in his March 5 state of the city address.
"Critics preferred independent retail or a supermarket to attract customers to other businesses downtown," Schreiber said. "Supporters wanted to start development now with a viable proposal.
"In the end, the majority of city council voted to continue negotiations with Family Dollar because the proposal conformed to the planning commission guidelines, fit in with the buildings directly east and north of the site, and provided a building that could be adapted to other uses in the future."
A public hearing will be held prior to the Tuesday vote. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m., following an hour and a half closed session to discuss ongoing contract negotiations.