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Posted on Fri, Sep 25, 2009 : 12:52 p.m.

Ann Arbor officials take questions at pre-bid meeting on 'library lot' development

By Paula Gardner

At least 75 people showed up at the mandatory pre-bid meeting for developers interested in submitting a proposal to bid on Ann Arbor's "library lot."

My colleague, Ryan Stanton, attended the meeting and posted a story about it, adding to his ongoing coverage.

Meanwhile, I took a few minutes to catch up with Jayne Miller, community services director for the city, as she concluded her after-meeting tour of the site next to the downtown Ann Arbor District Library at about noon.

Despite an earlier story that raised doubts about potential developer interest in the property, she told me that both familiar local faces - like Campus Inn owner Dennis Dahlmann, who was among those at the site after the meeting - and out-of-town prospects attended the pre-bid conference.

Watch the video for a few other comments from Miller.

Paula Gardner is Business Director at Contact her by email or via Twitter, or phone (734) 623-2586.


Ryan J. Stanton

Fri, Sep 25, 2009 : 1:14 p.m.

To clear up any confusion, the city's deadline for proposals is 2 p.m. Nov. 13.


Fri, Sep 25, 2009 : 1:14 p.m.

It is no surprise that Mr. Dahlmann attended this meeting. Remember when there were three major hotels downtown? They were the Campus Inn, Bell Tower, and Ann Arbor Inn. Two thankfully survive and continue their vital presences in the area.. The third hotel, Ann Arbor Inn, went bankrupt. Following this, no one even wanted to purchase it for its meager back tax amount, of less than $200,000. The building was empty for years, and a major black eye for the City.. The longstanding pattern of development in the hotel industry is for newcomers to displace existing properties. In a non-growth market such as Ann Arbor, new hotels merely commandeer business from existing hotels. None typically do well in this scenario. The newcomer believes that it can outlast the existing businesses, forcing them into closure, and capturing the market. It's anyone's gamble as to who survives.. The City is excited to become a speculating co-developer exactly at the time that banks are not lending for major projects in Michigan. The timing is dismal.. The City is risking precious and diminishing tax dollars in this venture. It also places existing business at risk during economic downturn. If the City joint ventures a property use that displaces existing business, leaving vacant buildings in the aftermath, how does this exactly benefit the City of Ann Arbor, its citizens, and its business owners?. The joint venture carries far more risk than the City being involved with constructing a shiny new building! First, it will be interesting to see the written proposals. More importantly it will be interesting to monitor the City's ability to analyze proposals in relation to their impact on the existing business community.