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Posted on Wed, May 8, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

$1.2M Family Dollar store to become Ypsilanti's 1st Water Street development

By Katrease Stafford


Ypsilanti's Water Street site will soon be home to a Family Dollar discount store. Officials expect construction to begin by fall.

Daniel Brenner I

Ypsilanti's first Water Street development will be a $1.2 million Family Dollar store, nearly 14 years after the city first assembled the 38-acre site.

Barring any unforeseen issues or site plan complications, officials expect construction to begin some time in the fall. The purchase agreement approval Tuesday night by the Ypsilanti City Council was key to the project moving forward and officials now expect things to move rapidly.

However, the approval was not without frustrations from residents and local business owners who called the agreement a mistake and an "embarrassment." Three council members voted against the purchase agreement.

Dave Heikkenen, owner of Heikk's Decorated Apparel Studio at 133 W. Michigan Avenue, said the store will be an embarrassment for the city.

"I'm embarrassed that this is all we're going to get," Heikkenen said. "... It's a horrible looking building. I don't know how you can support something like this. It is ugly and it sets the bar low. We're going to be sort of the laughing stock."

Heikkenen's comments were in line with what several residents have expressed since the proposal was made last year. On Nov. 20, 2012, the city council approved a letter of intent with Core Resources LLC, the development partner of Family Dollar, to purchase and develop an approximately 8,320 square feet. The letter was signed on Dec. 10, 2012.


Dave Heikkenen speaks out against the proposal for a Family Dollar store on the city's Water Street property during a city council meeting Tuesday Mar. 19th.

Courtney Sacco |

Mayor Paul Schreiber, council members Pete Murdock and Ricky Jefferson, and Mayor Pro Tem Lois Richardson voted in favor of the purchase agreement. Council members Daniel Vogt, Susan Moeller, and Brian Robb voted against the agreement.

The approval follows months of debate on whether the development was appropriate for the long-vacant property.

Jefferson didn't agree with the notion that having the discount store on the Water Street property equated to the city having a "beggar's mentality."

"...This is Ypsilanti, not Ann Arbor," Jefferson said. "I've been asking members of Ward 1 if they're interested in this and they said yes. They were not interested in the Burger King. There is a lot more land once Family Dollar goes in there to develop what we decide."

Jefferson said the city isn't settling by accepting the purchase agreement.

"We're not just accepting anything," Jefferson said. "... I've heard developers say that it would not hinder (further development) as an anchor. Nobody's buying land to build on, but I've been told that's going to change... I believe that what we're doing here as city council members is the best we can do."

Jefferson said while the Family Dollar won't likely draw in any tourists or individuals from nearby towns, he believes the store will be a convenient amenity for local residents.

"I'm glad to see one coming here to Ypsilanti," he said.

Moeller voted against the agreement because she said the majority of citizens in her ward were not in favor of the proposal.

Former Mayor Cheryl Farmer, who recently told she didn't support the development, addressed council and urged them to reconsider making the store the site's "anchor development."

"Can a Family Dollar store be the anchor development that helps Ypsilanti draw in the development that Ypsilanti wants to see on other parts of the property? I don’t think so. Has a Family Dollar store been planned for the Arbor Hills Crossing (in Ann Arbor)? What we’re willing to settle for will be what we end up with."

In 2010, the city considered a proposal from Burger King to open a location on one acre of Water Street. Burger King offered to purchase the parcel at Michigan Avenue and Park Street for $400,000. The city council ultimately rejected the proposal.

Murdock said the developer has been accommodating to try to address concerns brought up during the city's master plan process, and he didn't think it would make sense to continue to drag the process out.

"There were suggestions from the new planners about making changes to the size and placement of the Family Dollar project," Murdock said. "Part of that was the grid system, which we’re trying to accommodate. I think they’ve met the citeria we set in the beginning. It's not Macy's, it's a Family Dollar... If we keep changing every time someone comes in with a new pretty picture, we won't get anyone to come in here for anything."

Vogt acknowledged the developer has been accommodating with most of the requested changes to the concept plan, but he said that only convinced him "48 percent of the way" to vote in favor of it.

Thumbnail image for Familydollar.jpg

Instead of being located off of Park Street, the building will be located to the west, off of Lincoln Street.

Vogt said he recently went on a trip with his wife and traveled through several cities where he saw mixed use developments with two to three story buildings located off of street frontage.

"It was fabulous," he said. "... I don't think we can achieve perfection in this, but I think we should take every effort to get close to perfection."

Murdock moved to amend the resolution to add that the entire $210,000 from the purchase agreement would go toward a fund dedicated solely toward retiring the Water Street debt or for infrastructure costs. The city owes $24,764,695 on the Water Street debt.

"If we don’t do it at this point that we have time to do it, it'll never get done and then we'll find out it's been spent for something else," he said.

Murdock, Richardson, Robb, Vogt and Jefferson voted in favor of the amendment, while Moeller abstained and Schreiber voted no.


Council member Ricky Jefferson, pictured here in a file photo, said the city does not have a "beggar's mentality" because it agreed to the Family Dollar purchase agreement

Jeffrey Smith |

Schreiber voted no on the amendment because he said he didn't like that it was added at the last minute, prior to discussion with city staff.

City staff worked with Core Resources to alter the conceptual site plan including a change in size of the parcel from about one acre to .85 acres to accommodate the extension of Lincoln Street south onto the site while accommodating a second buildable lot to the south.

The city is granting an easment to Core Resources to construct a Lincoln Street road to allow access to the building.

Instead of being located on the corner of Park Avenue and Michigan Avenue, the city and developer agreed to move the building to the west, off of the proposed Lincoln Street and Michigan Avenue.

Core Resources agreed to construct six foot windows on Michigan Avenue, to give the building a more desirable look.

Key points from the agreement:

  • Core Resources will pay the city $210,000 to purchase the land.
  • $3,500.00 is due within five days of purchase agreement execution.
  • The city is agreeing to "burden the balance of the Water Street property" with an exclusive use restriction for the benefit of the Family Dollar parcel precluding the remaining property from being used as a variety discount store, like a Dollar General, Bonus Dollar, or Dollar Tree. A big box discount department store, like a Target, Walmart, K-Mart or Meijer is expressly allowed.
  • Buyer to provide easement for Park and Lincoln Street curb cuts, shared drive and access to southerly parcel.
  • The business is expected to generate $30,000 a year in taxes.

Since council has approved the purchase agreement, the next steps include Family Dollar going before the Planning Commission for site plan approval, the site plan would then go before council.

Bill Tippman, Core Resources representative, said Family Dollar is in the process of constructing 40 stores across the country.

"We are very eager to get going," Tippman said. "Hopefully we'll break ground here in 180 days or so."

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


martini man

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 11:13 p.m.

After the "dollar" store , pawn shops, and check cashing places, maybe make room for "Camp Take Notice" PT II . Showing the love for the downtrodden and those less fortunate. I can see all the families strolling along the river with their kids , enjoying the happy , safe , peaceful environment of Water Street . Ya just gotta love it .


Sat, May 11, 2013 : 5:10 p.m.

Having Camp Take Notice occupy the property would at least have provided a needed service.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 6:19 p.m.

As if the Family Dollar would do better there than in any of the hundreds of floundering strip malls already failing in and around Ypsi. I wonder what the RFP looked like? This photo with the caption, "Build whatever you want." I do like the nature bandaids™ surrounding the (what will soon be) vast and underutilized acres of car parking. Strip Mall of America. That took real imagination on the part of the Ypsi City Council.. that and a drive down Washtenaw from Golfside to Hewitt. Then take away the charm. And potential customers. Could have planted trees. That would have been an actual improvement.

Linda French

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 4:30 p.m.

I am extremely disappointed in the council and the Mayor for doing this to our city. The only reason Brian Robb voted against it was because he knew it was going to pass with or without his vote. He was a major supporter of the Dollar Store at EVERY meeting until the final vote when he knew it was going to pass. The reason people quit attending the Dollar Store meeting I was told my 2 council members "it's a done deal". Please remember this at election time. We deserve better than this.

Steve McKeen

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 8:05 p.m.

He voted the way his constituents wanted him to vote. Can we recall him?


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 7:45 p.m.

I was surprised to read that Robb and Murdock were separated on this since they are normally two peas in a pod about every issue. Now this makes sense. And I agree, people do need to remember this at election time.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 4:12 p.m.

I'm no fan of Family Dollar coming to Water Street (especially now that the parcel is different than what was initially proposed), but let's remember that the bad debt situation was made desperate because of the viciously successful campaign waged by Eller & Pierce against the Water Street millage proposal & other tax hikes. I would love nothing more than to preserve the greenspace & riverfront area as well as have the proposed boat launch & Rec Center be the 'anchor', but unfortunately there would be no revenue stream there that could reverse the massive debt that is an un pleasant reality. In my view, council's hand was very much forced on the deal, & I was actually surprised at how close the vote was


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 5:49 p.m.

And the bad situation would have been far worse if it had passed and people moved out to the township and took all of their tax dollars with them. You simply cannot tax your way out of debt. People will voice their displeasure by moving.

Alan Goldsmith

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 1:05 p.m.

Congrats on this new addition to downtown Ypsilanti! Keep working at more deals along this line, like blood donor businesses, check cashing stores, by-the-week furniture rental shops and liquor stores. The original idea of bulldozing the previous buildings and having a plan in place to save the downtown was outstanding and took a lot of courage. Unfortunately, the folks and political hacks involved in phase two, in finding upscale businesses that would actually turn the corner for this struggling city was a horrible failure. City Council need look no further than in the mirror to figure out who dropped the ball.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 12:35 p.m.

Is this the culmination of the Ypsilanti DDA? A dollar store?


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 11:34 a.m.

What about an outlet mall?

Honest Abe

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 2:56 a.m.

Would love to see a big box store! If you think about it, the City of Ypsilanti does not really have any type of grocery store or any other big name company.

Honest Abe

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 2:54 a.m.

Way to go. While your at it, perhaps reconsidering the Burger King Proposal should be in the plans. Maybe a nice liquor store, too. Hey! I got it! How about a coin laundromat!!?? Wait Wait, I can do better....maybe an outdoor flea market too! oh oh and maybe bringing back Lee's Chop Suey!! Geesh Ypsi folks are plain terrible. Seems you people forget it's our town , as in the people. Not yours. Either come up with something better, give a reason for investors and developers to build and operate OR leave things the way they are.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 6:19 p.m.

Newsflash: Ypsilanti never has been, and never will be, the urban hipster paradise that people are thinking it will magically transform into. I lived here since the early 90's when I was a student at EMU. Even back then, the landlords I rented from were talking about "gentrification" (there word, not mine) being just around the corner. It is a small rust-belt town with a poor minority popuation that's been decimated by the manufacturing exodus and the cutback of jobs in government. In light of that reality, what in the world did people expect to move there? Neiman Marcus? Talk about putting lipstick on a pig!

Jay Thomas

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 10:01 p.m.

What beermaestro mentioned happened, but it happened A LONG TIME AGO. The place had already taken a few hits along the way before the Willow Run plant finally close.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 7:44 p.m.

Solitude... pretty sure Ypsi has several empty factories sitting around that used to employ thousands of workers. But I agree with you, the water st debt is the single biggest threat to the city currently. What a debacle.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 6:43 p.m.

Actually, it wasn't decimated by either the manufacturing exodus or the cutback of government jobs. The only thing threatening Ypsilanti today is Water Street debt. That's it.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 4:53 p.m.

I'm a young professional that would like to live in Ypsilanti for years to come. This is really frustrating. Ypsilanti is really cool and could be so much cooler and more innovative; a place for young graduate entrepreneurs to call home and grow. In recent years, we've had some really cool and innovative small business take root in Ypsilanti like Red Rock BBQ, VG Kids, The Wurst Bar, B24's, Ypsi Studio, Insomnia Cookies, SPARK, Sweetwaters, and Beezy's. What would I like to see down on Water Street instead of a Dollar General, how about something that connects Downtown Ypsilanti and Depot Town across the park, making a triangle of cool, separate areas. Possibly something like Plymouth Green Shopping Center/Condos or small outdoor walkable mall with lofts above. Also, the river is right there and the scenery could be so beautiful. Sigh.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 5:25 a.m.

Wasn't that the original idea that was sold to the city that failed to attract a single buyer and led to the original developer bailing? It's a great idea, but that ship sailed a decade ago and isn't coming back.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 8:26 p.m.

Just for clarity, I agree with you also, ZeHammer. My point is that government's role is infrastructure and support, friendly taxing climates, etc., not retail or residential development. Private enterprise has to step in and make it happen. Family Dollar is a first step. Might not be the first step people have been dreaming about, including me, but it's the first one anyone has taken in 14 years and people need to realize that things have to start someplace, even if we eventually scratch it in favor of something else. The most important thing about this step is that, finally, it is one that will not cost the taxpayers any more money, and will actually bring the city some money.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 7:47 p.m.

I agree with you, ZeHam. I am also a young professional living in depot town, and would like to stay here for years if not forever. Ypsi has so much potential; it always feels like it's one or two strategic moves and developments away from real boom-times. The city council's incredibly idiotic move to saddle the city with this water st debt will affect us for decades to come.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 6:42 p.m.

Awesome. Now all you have to do is secure several million dollars in venture capital, get a developer interested and make it happen. Get to it. Downtown and Depot Town are already going to be connected by a pedestrian bridge or trail or something, so that part has been taken care of for you. P.S. Don't ask the city for any money. City taxpayers are already all-in.

Katrease Stafford

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 3:58 p.m.

A bit more background: In terms of employment, Core Resources representative Bill Tippman said a few months ago this location will employ between eight to ten people, some who will be part-time. Tippman said Family Dollar's target customer base are single mothers who make less than $40,000 per year and for this particular location, individuals who live within a one-mile radius of the store.

Gretchen Ridenour

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 4:43 p.m.

Thanks Katrease! I think it would be helpful to know that the city's plan for redevelopment includes a wider demographic.

Katrease Stafford

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 4 p.m.

It's also worth noting that Tippman previously said Family Dollar has no plans to close any of the area Family Dollar stores, despite the close radius.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 3:39 p.m.

They should have courted Menard's to come in and set up shop on this property.

Jonathan Blutarsky

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 5 p.m.

Actually I think most people would be content with a Aldi, Trader Joe's. or even a decent Spartan or IGA shingle. Other than the Co-op and the Dos Hermanos Market there are no grocery stores within walking distance of the core city.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 5:20 a.m.

From the article. "A big box discount department store, like a Target, Walmart, K-Mart or Meijer is expressly allowed." Why not put up a big box store? Especially a Menards, or maybe a Costco? Oh wait, that's because everyone was waiting for Whole Foods or a giant 4 star hotel to move in there while the neighboring townships snatched them up.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 3:29 p.m.

I think the reality is that this a store that is moving down the hill a good mile or so and is nothing new or exciting for the ypsilanti area. I also think it is a crying shame for the City to think that this will draw new jobs or added businesses to the area, just take a look at how well that is going in their current location. They won't last long and the bar has been set for water street to fail by a failed city council !


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 3:48 p.m.

It's only 0.4 miles from the store on ecorse.

Rob Pollard

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 3:28 p.m.

Did Councilman Jefferson really say the Family Dollar won't "likely" draw in any tourists or individuals from nearby towns? Why all this ridiculous shading? Just be straight up: there is ZERO chance it will draw any individuals or people from out-of-town just for the trip to the Family Dollar -- it's not an IKEA or even something less than that. If you feel it is best for the local residents to have a Family Dollar "anchor" your premier development, I don't agree, but at least that's arguable. But don't keep putting out there that there's any chance this will be a draw for people from outside Ypsi.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 3:24 p.m.

I have seen nothing about safety for this store. This is not always the safest area to get out of your car , escpecially by oneself. The store front needs to be dressed up, nothing stuck on the windows, and well lite. My biggest concern is the number of homeless that will be in the area, and safety.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 5:17 a.m.

The fact that safety is an issue is why they have to settle for a dollar store.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 4:28 p.m.

I live 1/4 mile from here. so I'm not in the burbs..Safety is still a huge issue for my neighbors and those to whom I have talked to


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 3:47 p.m.

Not safe to get out of your car? what? Stay in the burbs, then.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 3:25 p.m.

opps, dang fingers.. especially


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 2:49 p.m.

Hey now I'll have another reason not to come downtown. How about some more hair weave places and maybe another bar or two?


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 3:46 p.m.

So hair salons and bars are reasons for you not to come downtown? What the heck WOULD you come downtown for? I don't think anyone is missing you.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

This IS setting the bar extremely low. You can always tell what kind of neighborhood you are in by the number of 'fast food' chains and 'Liquor stores' in the area. that would go for 'Dollar stores' as well.

Paula Gardner

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1:56 p.m.

I also find it interesting that there seems to be a fair number of vacant or under-utilized existing buildings in Ypsilanti - and it seems that redevelopment could be a success in many of them. I just took a spin through the retail real estate listings in both the 48198 and 48197 Zip codes. Most of the listings are for smaller spaces or for centers on Ellsworth or south of I-94. Most Family Dollar stores are about 7,000 to 9,000 square feet. Two listings that are closest to that range - just for comparison - are the ex-Hollywood Video on Washtenaw and the former Pub 13 on North Washington. That makes me wonder what kind of role a real estate developer could play in redevelopment in Ypsi. I don't know anyone who's actively working that market on a bigger scale than some of the core downtown buildings. But it appears that the Water Street property - which is marketed as available as small as 1 acre per transaction - will be the only real option facing a retailer seeking a site near downtown. Despite some obviously vacant properties.

Paula Gardner

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 6:55 p.m.

The loft success offers a great example of how taking a bigger-than-a-single-building approach could benefit downtown. I still admire the two owners who renovated individual downstairs storefronts but collaborated on a single, shared loft project on upper levels.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 3:13 p.m.

On West Michigan Ave there are two basic vacancies, one owned by Joe Lawrence and then the old green room. To rent from Joe Lawrence, you basically have to have big bucks and pass an FBI background check, almost no one is good enough to rent the building that has been in his family for more than 100 years. The old green room needs a lot of work which the building owner has been hesitant to do without a long term commitment. On North Washington, both Pub 13 and Savoy are empty but the bank is holding out for full price, per previous communications with them, because they could not absorb a hit on their books for taking less. These spaces jut are not worth what is being asked (an opinion). I know for a fact that offers have been made on Pub 13, including one by a Tech company, and all have been turned down. On South Washington, the Elbow Room is supposed to be a mexican-style restaurant per the reports here in but there has been nothing done on the space to date. The Smith Furniture building is disaster waiting to be either gutted or torn down. The little building across Adams from the Business School is owned the same gentlemen who ownes the former Smith Furniture building and he isn't doing anything. So most of the vacancies in the downtown are empty because of owner issues and not because of a lack of interest. Also note that all of the lofts are full in Downtown with a waiting list in place!


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 2:35 p.m.

Good point, Paula. I walked through downtown ypsi the other day myself and noticed the large number of empty properties. But if they aren't actively listed for sale, there's not much you can do about them.

Katrease Stafford

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1:51 p.m.

I must admit I was surprised that more residents weren't present at the meeting to speak for or against the project. Dave Heikkenen had a pretty interesting idea though. He suggested that council consider creating a group or task force of residents and local business owners to share what they believe should be on the Water Street site. I believe a similar one was in place years ago. My question to readers: Do you believe this would helpful in determining future developments on the property? Should more community outreach be done in regards to the Water Street site? Or is that what the Shape Ypsilanti master plan charrettes hoped to accomplish?


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 5:55 p.m.

So, foodfighter, say that the two tax increases passed. You would then have no problem with the city sitting on the land for another decade with no growth whatsoever? The councils hand was not forced by the anti tax movement in Ypsi. It was forced by the failed leadership of a decade ago that tried to play monopoly with the people's money. If you are going to blame Eller and Pierce, you'd better be ready to blame the other 50% of Ypsi residents who were sick and tired of being taxed into the township by multiple city councils and city managers who have repeatedly failed at their jobs.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 3:58 p.m.

I'm no fan of Family Dollar coming to Water Street (especially now that the parcel is different than what was initially proposed), but let's remember that the bad debt situation was made desperate because of the viciously successful campaign waged by Eller & Pierce against the Water Street millage proposal & other tax hikes. I would love nothing more than to preserve the greenspace & riverfront area as well as have the proposed boat launch & Rec Center be the 'anchor', but unfortunately there would be no revenue stream there that could reverse the massive debt that is an un pleasant reality. In my view, council's hand was very much forced on the deal, & I was actually surprised at how close the vote was.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 5:15 a.m.

As a relatively new resident of the area, I'm not shocked at all that very few concerned citizens showed up. It's the Ypsi way. Complain and yell, but when something needs to be done, you can hear the crickets chirp. I have spoken to older residents of the city and people who have moved on to Ann Arbor or the townships and the echo my opinion. The city is made up of 18k people with an opinion that they like to sound off on, but maybe a dozen who actually do something about it.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 6:43 p.m.

Some of Ypsi residents are busy about 12 hours every day just trying to run their households and make enough money to get by.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 2:42 p.m.

A task force sounds like a fine idea to me. But I am dubious as to how much sway they would have over a city council desperate to recover some funds and tax base. The bottom line is that developers are simply not lining up to take on a complicated project here, so there's not much we can do.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 2:21 p.m.

I think it will be very helpful for potential investors/developers to see construction underway on this site. Breaking the ice on this site is imperative, and this development by a national chain will encourage others to jump in. If you drive by two restaurants at noon, which one seems a more attractive choice...the one with some cars in the parking lot or the one with the empty lot, the one no one else has chosen?


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 2:13 p.m.

I dunno Katrease...if the group or task force will be made up of the same people who have been sitting around for years paying less and less in taxes all the while demanding the same or increased service levels from city workers whose very existence they begrudge, I don't think there's much point.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1:47 p.m.

I think we need mandatory drug testing for city officials.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1:34 p.m.

What's next? Another carry-out pizza joint, a check cashing storefront, a sleazy looking tobacco shop, or how about a bail bondsman's office with bars on the windows?


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1:32 p.m.

I expected better from you Pete Murdock. Do you honestly believe this is what the people of the 3rd ward wanted?


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 2:37 p.m.

Solitude, chill. So we now have 0.8% of the debt paid off with this crappy store. You claim that this store will help spur further development, but most of us contend the opposite. So in our view we've accepted 0.8% of the funds needed to offset our city's bad investment, and potentially jeopardized getting anything more. As in, this was a bad decision. But we shall see...


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 2:06 p.m.

Did the people of the Third Ward vote in favor of the Water Street debt retirement millage? Are the people of the Third Ward sending the city extra money twice a year with their property tax payments to make up for the reduction they realized when their property values dropped? Do the people of the Third Ward have a spare $24 mil laying around they want to send over to City Hall, in order to secure a blatantly elitist dream for a now-vacant property?

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1 p.m.

Might as well put a salvation army there too.

Honest Abe

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 3:04 a.m.

LC- That salvation Army has been there for over 2 decades. Not to mention, it is not a Salvation army store. That is an office location, that actually helps people. FYI


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1:23 p.m.

There's a Salvation Army at 9 S. Park St. now.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 12:59 p.m.

All this whining would be comical if it weren't so pathetic. "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" Who said anything about this store being an "anchor"? It's obviously not. It's a smaller development that hopefully will become part of a bigger redevelopment of this property. The world is not coming to an end, the city is not now doomed, and many people apparently need to look up the definition of "anchor store" in the dictionary: "A large store, such as a department store or supermarket, that is prominently located in a shopping mall to attract customers who are then expected to patronize the other shops in the mall." "Other shops," as in places like this Dollar store.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 3:44 p.m.

I do NOT assert that those other businesses do not have just as much impact on the quality of the hood. But they are already there. This new one, we get to provide input and (city council) votes upon approving. We had a choice.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

So you get to decide which is the best lot of the parcel? It's a paltry .85 acres; hardly the best lot in a parcel with riverfront, and there's still plenty of Michigan Ave frontage left. I also reject the idea that one store defines a neighborhood, and that any of it is (cue the dramatic music) "permanent." Also, on what basis do you assert that this Dollar store has any more impact on the neighborhood than does Materials Unlimited or the Honda dealership, across the street, or Haabs or City Hall nearby? Or, for that matter, the Dairy Queen or the car wash?


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 2:32 p.m.

Except that they get the best lot of the parcel (for retail) with the most frontage and visibility. It's not exactly a small store, either. This store sucks, period. It helps permanently define this neighborhood as low income and low class. Other potential developers will now have to combat that image in order to transform any part of the property back the other way. We're allowed to be dissapointed in this turn of events; it's not pathetic whining, it's a legitimate complaint about the council's vision for our city.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 12:57 p.m.

Great! Now I can hit a Family dollar store at EVERY exit on that stretch of I94.

Sandy Castle

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 12:53 p.m.

Family Dollar - Dirty stores that offer crap goods. Just what this area needs. Nice to see that's the "vision" that City Council has for Ypsilanti.

Paula Gardner

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 12:53 p.m.

Here's a link to the marketing materials for the property: There's a demographic report there, too. The median household income within a 1-mile radius is about $29,000. That supports Ricky Jefferson's statement that some residents will consider the store a plus.

Paula Gardner

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 6:39 p.m.

Do you think it hurts to understand how a retailer defines the trade area?


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 3:03 p.m.

So we should build down to this income level?

The Picker

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 12:46 p.m.

Council, Please give us your vision on what will pair well with a Dollar Store? They have cemented Water St. as a low end development. So sad! So goes Water St., So goes Ypsilanti !!!


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 5:11 a.m.

Metro PCS and a franchisee for Deja Vu?

Honest Abe

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 3:02 a.m.

@ Ann English - Are you from here? As in Ypsi? Did you NOT notice the great, big Car Wash right on Michigan Ave, practically across from the Water Street area??

Ann English

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 11:57 p.m.

How about a $3-$5 car wash business, like the one on Washtenaw, just west of Golfside? That one isn't very far from a Dollar Tree inside the Fountain Plaza. The car wash on Packard, surrounded by mom-and-pop ethnic grocery stores, charges $4-$6 per wash, if not more.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 12:46 p.m.

This is extremely disappointing. As if $210,000 makes any appreciable dent in a 24 MILLION dollar debt load. We just have to hope that higher quality developments will still be willing to move in on the rest of the parcel over the next few years.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 2:50 p.m.

The "stain"? "Forever"? Do you expect to be taken seriously with that manufactured drama? My contention is not that one $200K purchase will, by itself, avert bankruptcy, and you can tell by the fact that it's not what I said. The only "stain" that a successful national chain has is in the minds of some people who are letting their prejudices get the better of their judgement. I guess you think that the successful student or business person working out at the rec center who goes into the Dollar store for a bottle of water is forever "stained," right? And I suppose no one's ever heard of a developer buying up property, even property with existing businesses on it, if the parcel is sought for a project? That's just a likely as many of the baseless doomsday scenarios being forwarded by many of these posts.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 2:28 p.m.

Maybe you overlooked the rest of my post? So, your contention is that this 210k payment on 24M of debt will surely help avoid bankruptcy for the city of Ypsilanti? Have you ever thought that maybe other suitors for this parcel could now be LESS inclined to propose a large scale development due to the stain of a dollar-garbage store? This is a pointless drop in the bucket that stains the parcel forever. I can understand the city council wanting to accept anything that comes along at this point, but it does dissapoint me.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1:01 p.m.

That's the spirit. Don't accumulate smaller amounts towards debt payment. Wait forever for that $24 million windfall to come along. Maybe, if we wait long enough, we can all watch the city go bankrupt. Brilliant.

Hugh Giariola

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 12:38 p.m.

The die is cast. Behold the great vision for Ypsi: a dollar store. Next up: party store and a payday loan store.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 12:33 p.m.

Maybe the plasma donor center will move to this location, right after the rent to own mall goes up!

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 12:59 p.m.

You have the vision, Mr. Future Ypsi Mayor.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 12:23 p.m.

One mistake placed on top of another. So sad.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 12:16 p.m.

I grew up in Ypsi and I have a split opinion on the project. On one hand I would love to see a mile long river front development take shape with sidewalk cafes, water taxis, strolling musicians and high end retail. On the other hand, lets be realistic. How many of us could choose a $35 entree and a $200 pair of yoga pants?


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 5:27 p.m.

Frank I don't think it is the hipsters that would turn their noses up at shops and condos all while supporting a dollar store......


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 5:09 a.m.

"should we be developing this area in the first place? " Well, we kinda have no choice but to try and find some money there since past administrations have saddled the city with a couple decades of debt on the land. If they hadn't bought it, I would say that we should turn it into a park. But since we are on the hook for the debt, we need the tax revenue.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 6:35 p.m.

Could the Argo/Gallup canoe/kayak set-up be extended with a joint venture with Ypsilanti? I'd like to have the option of trips to Depot Town with return service back to A2. Whole Foods and Plum Market are wildly out of my budget. Let's add to the tax base with a Family Dollar Store and with that extra tax revenue develop the land adjacent to the river as a park. I like dollar stores for greeting cards, wrapping paper and drinking glasses. Demographics are spot-on with a median household income of 29K. Look at the Packard corridor just west of Carpenter; try adding some mom and pop places like the Bombay grocery, etc.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 2:27 p.m.

you are right, Ypsi is not Ann Arbor or Royal Oak for that matter. I'd love to see a Whole Foods or a Plum Market, hell, even a 'Tractor Supply store' go in that site. The original 'mixed use' plan was amazing with shops and condo's.....but who are we kidding. who's going to support that? the hipsters? they'd turn their noses up at it. sad

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 12:58 p.m.

"How many of us could choose a $35 entree and a $200 pair of yoga pants?" I don't think that was the alternative. Not at all.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 12:24 p.m.

the fact that there is little demand for the retail, aside for something along the lines of a Family Dollar, begs the question, should we be developing this area in the first place? If it is just going to turn into another barren parking lot wasteland, why not leave it as a green spot?


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 12:07 p.m.

Mr. Heikkenen states "We're going to be sort of the laughing stock." News flash, Mr. Heikkenen…the city has been a laughing stock for years.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 12:34 p.m.

Nope...just sickened by how Ypsi has become a crime-ridden, dying city on the brink of bankruptcy. Also angry that the value of my home that I have lived in for over 20 years has plummeted in value, taking much of my life savings with it.

Honest Abe

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 2:47 a.m.

you must be an 'ann arborite'.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 11:40 a.m.

It was a 4-3 vote for Family Dollar when in reality, had all members voted to represent their constituents, it should have been 5-2 or 6-1 against. But make no mistake, this is on the Mayor and it represents the best vision he has for Ypsilanti. The drawing in this article does not represent the cold reality of what is about to happen and how the low the bar has been now set by the Mayor for development of the rest of the property. Photos shown during the meeting of similar Family Dollars are disheartening and the future of Ypsilantt is threatened not only as a result of this vote but by lack of vision, effort and actions taken by this City Council, and headed by this Mayor, to lead forward. The next mayorial election cannot come soon enough.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 11:35 a.m.

If you build it they will come! So sad, Ypsilanti can do better. A disparate move for sure:-(


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 5:07 a.m.

I missed where the residents of Ypsi wanted to be known as the land of cheap gas.

Ann English

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 11:50 p.m.

Ypsilanti has less expensive gasoline than Ann Arbor does, and doesn't require a Costco membership or card in order to buy the gas! I wonder how many are already coming to Ypsilanti for the gasoline? The stations at Spring and Huron often make the Least Expensive Gas list at


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 10:59 a.m.

That sexy brick wall facing Michigan Avenue is what I call anchorific!

dading dont delete me bro

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 10:59 a.m.

drive toward detroit along michigan ave. you will see future ypsilanti on both sides all the way thru all the cities. ypsi will fit right in. fail.