Ann Arbor seeking proposals from developers to build atop underground parking structure downtown
The city of Ann Arbor is seeking proposals to develop the “top side” of an underground parking structure slated for construction on South Fifth Avenue.
“The city is seeking creative proposals for the development of an approximate 1.2 acre lot owned by the city,” reads the 34-page request. “The site is located at 319 S. Fifth Avenue, within the Downtown Development Authority District.”
City officials have indicated a successful proposal will be consistent with the community character of Ann Arbor and “make positive contributions to the immediate neighborhood and the larger community by incorporating elements such as publicly accessible open space, green building design, public art, and a financial return to the city while adding to the vibrancy of the city’s central downtown.”
City and DDA officials couldn't immediately be reached this morning to discuss the proposal.
“Over the past five years, the City of Ann Arbor invested a great deal of time helping its community establish a future vision for the downtown, and then developing new zoning that encourages greater residential density and strengthens the mixes of uses in the downtown,” the city's request reads. “This initiative (known as 'Ann Arbor Discovering Downtown' or A2D2) provides direction for the redevelopment of the city-owned parcel known as the 'Library Lot.'”
The city's Web site states that construction of the underground parking structure will begin in spring 2010, which is a deviation from the originally planned groundbreaking this fall. The city is looking for a developer to build atop that structure once it's finished.
The city has scheduled a Sept. 25 mandatory meeting for prospective submitters and has set a Nov. 13 submission deadline. An evaluation committee will conduct interviews the week of Dec. 7 and make a recommendation the week of Jan. 25. The City Council is expected to select a proposal by March 1.
City and DDA leaders have said the site atop the underground parking structure has been designed with flexibility for future development in mind. Development could include residential, retail or office buildings and a public plaza. Conceptual drawings on the city's Web site show a combination of low-density and high-density development.
In addition, the site is planned to accommodate lateral expansion if neighboring properties want to pursue additional underground parking.
Despite a lawsuit filed in opposition to the project last week, the DDA's governing board took steps on Wednesday to hire a construction manager for the pre-construction phase of the project. The DDA board also approved spending up to $226,000 for new water mains as part of the project.
The city closed on the sale of bonds in the amount of $49.3 million on Wednesday for the parking structure project and related improvements to the area. The DDA will use that money to finance most of the project and is kicking in nearly $10 million more in cash.
Ryan Stanton covers government for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at email@example.com or 734-623-2529.