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Posted on Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Water Street development: Ypsilanti to hear Family Dollar and Rec Center update

By Katrease Stafford

A Tuesday Water Street redevelopment work session will give city officials a glimpse into how the Family Dollar and Eastside Recreation Center projects are progressing.


Ypsilanti residents look at the model for the proposed Water Street Recreation Center.

Joseph Tobianski |

Arthur Itkis, an associate from CBRE and primary contact for the city on the Water Street redevelopment area, will present an update Tuesday on recent marketing efforts.

Itkis also is expected to present on development trends in the area and how the market is responding post-recession.

Family Dollar update

The city is moving forward to meet the letter of intent timeline to bring revised concept plans and a purchase agreement to council on March 5. At that time, a public hearing will be held and a decision is expected to be made by council.

The 90-day purchase agreement was set to expire March 10.

City Planner Teresa Gillotti told in January that the city has been in regular communications with Core Resources, the company who does the development for Family Dollar and that talks were going well.

City staff has been working with Family Dollar on some possible design changes to the building. Staff is seeking the following changes:

  • Windows along the Michigan Avenue frontage.
  • Addition of street trees along Michigan Avenue and Park Street.
  • Possible relocation of Dumpster enclosure.
  • Consideration of the use of swales for stormwater management.

Staff also has discussed the potential construction of the building to possibly support a second-story addition. Some city council members previously expressed concern regarding whether the building would be limited in its future use to similar one-story stores like Family Dollar.

The store will be about 8,320 square feet and on the northeast corner of the Water Street site, at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Park Street.

The property is owned by the city and Core will pay $210,000 to purchase the land. The property was removed from the market for three months, after the development agreement was signed Dec. 10.

Eastside Recreation Center update

The Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission has requested Ypsilanti consider a resolution Tuesday acknowledging its partnership with the city to design, build and operate a community recreation center on Water Street.

"As the next steps for the project will require direct expense on the part of the WCPRC to pay for formal design and estimates, the WCPRC is asking its partners to reaffirm their commitment to the project and to the previously adopted letter of intent," Gillotti wrote.

The original letter of intent was approved Jan. 10, 2012.

The Ann Arbor YMCA, which is expected to provide the management of the center, has formed a committee and has requested development of a marketing study.

Bob Tetens, director of WCPRC, will be in attendance Tuesday to provide additional information on where the project stands.

The city assembled the 38-acre Water Street property about nine years ago with a plan to create a mixed-use residential project. But it hasn't been able to find developers for the property. Officials hope the center will attract more interested parties.

The center would occupy eight of the 38 acres on Water Street. The center is expected to be nearly 60,000 square feet and would be much like the Meri Lou Murray Recreation Center that opened in 1991 in Ann Arbor, officials have said.

The center would be nearly 60,000 square feet and will cost roughly between $12 million and $14 million. Officials were expecting construction to begin late 2014 or early 2015.

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



Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 2:58 p.m.

Here's more about this for anyone not on the ypsicity list mailing group:


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 9:11 p.m.

If the Y has anything to do with this? You can expect to pay thru the nose and pay a hefty fee for any of its uses. Hate to say it, we can't afford the Y in Ann Arbor so why should we bother if the Y manages it here? I am now totally against this project. Especially the Family Dollar. What a sad day for Ypsilanti.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 4:01 p.m.

Why is the Ann Arbor YMCA managing a WCPRC facility? Doesn't WCPRC already have trained managers and infrastructure in place to do it themselves, like they do the Rec Center on Platt? Is this is a misprint?

Margaret Leary

Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 8:11 p.m.

Here is a clarification, based on my coverage of this issue for the AA Observer and for the AA Chronicle: there is not yet a formal development agreement among the three parties (Ypsi City, WCPARC, and Ann Arbor Y), there is just the letter of intent that Katrease mentioned. So no one know yet exactly what the arrangement will be. The rationale for having the Y manage it is that the Y is expert at this, and would use a different management model than what the county uses at the Meri Lou Murray rec center. The concept--stress on CONCEPT--is that Ypsi will provide the land, WCPARC the building, and the Y the ongoing management. In my opinion, this is a crucial piece of developing Ypsilanti--which, if you haven't noticed, is now full of great loft apartments along Michigan Avenue, busy streets at night, with more development planned in Depot Town. The Rec Center will shift the center eastward. A project well worth following and cheering for!

Ypsi Eastsider

Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 7:27 p.m.

Really, the County Rec Dept can't afford to manage the center, even though they are sitting on a $20+ million taxpayer fund. It isn't they can't afford to run it, they don't want to run it. Big difference

Katrease Stafford

Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 4:26 p.m.

No, it's not a misprint. The project is a three-way partnership among the city, the county's parks department and the Ann Arbor YMCA. The YMCA would provide the day-to-day management of the property. The reason for the partnership is the WCPRC can't afford to finance the project and also manage the property on its own.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 2:48 p.m.

I followed the link above to find out more about Arthur Itkis, the man who couldn't find anything but another dollar store to take up tenancy on Water Street, and this is the first line in his corporate bio: "Arthur Itkis is an 8 year old real estate veteran specializing in Retail Services." That explains a lot. I wish Ypsi had coughed up enough money to put a grown-up in that position.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 11:13 p.m.

If he doesn't spell check his own bio, what makes you think he pays attention to anything he sends out on behalf of the city?

Katrease Stafford

Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 1:58 p.m.

The work session starts at 6 p.m., on Feb. 19. It should last about an hour and it is open to the public.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 2:58 p.m.

Thank you!


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 1:08 p.m.

Will the public be able to attend this session?