You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 5:24 p.m.

Georgetown Mall faces 4 p.m. Wednesday deadline to avoid tax foreclosure

By Paula Gardner


Georgetown Mall on Tuesday morning.

Paula Gardner |

Updated March 31: The deadline passed without a payment, but the mall owner said in an email he received an extension until May 21. County Treasurer Catherine McClary was not available to comment on the extension.

The owner of Georgetown Mall in Ann Arbor has until 4 p.m. Wednesday to retain ownership of the property by paying just over $512,000 in back taxes.

Washtenaw County Treasurer Catherine McClary said her office sought the tax forfeiture on the property based on unpaid taxes dating back to 2006 and 2007.

If the amount is not paid by the Wednesday deadline, the county will take ownership of the property and put it up for auction this summer.

The total back tax bill as of Monday was $828,907, according to county records through 2009.

The property - 6.5 acres on Packard Road, just north of Eisenhower - is owned by Harbor Georgetown LLC, according to city records.


Georgetown Mall on Tuesday morning, looking south along the Packard side of the property.

Paula Gardner |

Craig Schubiner, the registered agent of Harbor Georgetown LLC, had planned a mixed-use redevelopment for the property. A bank foreclosure notice filed on the property in 2008 indicated that $15 million was owned in principal and interest, but the lender did not proceed to foreclosure.

The property is valued at $4.6 million, based on its 2010 state equalized value.

Meanwhile, city officials have been meeting with mall representatives to keep the site secure from vandals and loitering. The 83,000-square-foot retail center has been vacant since Kroger moved in September.

“We’ve been working with the owners to secure the site,” said Jeff Kahan, city planner.

Changes have included chaining the entrances to the parking lot, removing the Dumpster, removing a ladder to the roof and securing a skylight, Kahan said.

The owners also have been removing weeds from the grassy area bordering the Packard Road side of the mall.

“They have made some progress on these issues,” Kahan said.

Paula Gardner is Business News Director of Contact her at 734-623-2586 or by email. Sign up for the weekly Business Review newsletter, distributed every Thursday, here.



Fri, Apr 2, 2010 : 2:39 p.m.

So, what happend?


Tue, Mar 30, 2010 : 3:53 p.m.

Well i'm not a builder so i don't know about looking at prices now compared to years ago when they OKd the new plan. I will say I was always against keeping any part of the current city hall. it's outdated, ugly, and has little redeaming quialities to me. They has some reason for not Building the new stuff on the library lot, I cannot remember what it was, but I would have been in favor of that over the current situation also. Instead that has become a real sore spot to people, which isn't good.


Tue, Mar 30, 2010 : 3:25 p.m.

Sure, none of them were available. But, with the difference between currently available buildings at $150 a square foot, and a2 building at $450 sf, it shows a big disconnect between what city officials think is going on with real estate here, vs the reality. Take into account the parking being built downtown for $50k a space, and it highlights a pattern of poor spending in large projects - in my opinion. We'll see if voters agree this fall.


Tue, Mar 30, 2010 : 2:03 p.m.

LBH I should have made myself clearer. I was not talking about Georgetown specifically I was talking about the general glut of empty space in Ann Arbor that preceded the current depression. I am aware how long it has been there my father worked on the project.


Tue, Mar 30, 2010 : 2:01 p.m.

Yes, let us not forget this place has been dying for 20 years. When I was a kid this place was the hot spot. Slowly and surely everything died off. The kroger there was, as stated, too small and old school to be profitable. No self scanning checkout was enough to make me leave multiple times if I had to wait in line. Sad casue I have a bad feeling it's just going to sit there empty for a long time. It's a pretty big site...I bet you could find some really interesting site plans for it.


Tue, Mar 30, 2010 : 1:49 p.m.

Agree with the first post's Arborland comment. The problem wasn't taxes, appraisals, the economy, or overbuilding; the site was past its useful life (both physically and in design). First, the buildings (there are a couple more behind the main one) were falling apart because of poor maintenance. Second, the "anchor" store was too small to be profitable. The approved site plan would have fixed these problems and created an economically sustainable retail center like Arborland's facelift.


Tue, Mar 30, 2010 : 1:39 p.m.

"The 777 building, a2 news, and the Georgetown mall." None of these pieces of property were available when the plans were OKd for the Police/Courts building. 777 & GT Mall are not located in the downtown so would not be deemed desirable by city officals. I don't think the GT Mall was available early enough to build a courts building before the county kicks the city out of Huron St.


Tue, Mar 30, 2010 : 1:32 p.m.

One more piece of property that could have provided a great alternative to spending over $50 million ob building a city hall addition. The 777 building, a2 news, and the Georgetown mall. All great locations at much more favorable costs instead of building at over $450 per sf. Poor planning by city officials.


Tue, Mar 30, 2010 : 11:31 a.m.

The Pontiac Silverdome was approximatly 127 acres and sold at auction for $585,000. The Commercial Real Estate market is a mess right now. Most communities have way to much space available which is driving the lease rates lower. Banks are not intrested in lending on commercial projects unless the developer can secure at least 75% to 95% pre-lease of the space.


Tue, Mar 30, 2010 : 10:51 a.m.

@RU4A2 - Do you mean like turning it into a park, which would take it off the tax roles and cost money to maintain besides? Or selling it to a church, which would also take it off the tax roles? Perhaps positive suggestions rather than the usual, tired, re-hashed, snarky, 'of course Ann Arbor will do the stupid thing', comments would be a better way to go? Are you really 4A2, or do you just enjoy running it down?


Tue, Mar 30, 2010 : 9:49 a.m.

Razing Georgetown to the ground would be far more enticing to a Developer to build new and the community could actually have some input as well instead of attempting to give the area a face lift and retroactively bring it up to code. Georgetown is a such an eyesore in an otherwise thriving neighborhood that some immediate action is required by city council.


Tue, Mar 30, 2010 : 9:26 a.m.

Maybe U of M will buy it for a dorm and we can take another piece of property off the tax roll. Or better yet, Frazer could move the city hall fountain project out to George Town. There's more parking for the huge crowds that will come to A2 to see it.


Tue, Mar 30, 2010 : 9:08 a.m.

The Georgetown Mall has been there far longer than 20 years, more like 40.


Tue, Mar 30, 2010 : 9:01 a.m.

For 20 years there have been too many imbeciles out there building empty spaces that they cannot rent. Because money was too easy to get. If they had looked down the street there was more than likely a space that could have been renovated to fit the use. Thus the glut of empty buildings! They make these investments under some bogus broker name so when it goes under they are not out very much.

Paula Gardner

Tue, Mar 30, 2010 : 8:40 a.m.

I just added a couple of photos to this post - I took them this morning on the drive into the office. The larger one is a little deceptive on the "weeds" front, since at this time of year, many things look like weeds! I'm not a gardener, but most of the growth looks recently trimmed and appropriate, at least to me. I added the sidewalk view, even though it's not a great shot, to show that it does appear to have been recently cleared on that side of the property.


Tue, Mar 30, 2010 : 8:32 a.m.

Why don't they tear it down and build a bunch of affordable housing there so a bunch of poor people can move in there and drive down the surrounding property values? That sounds like such an untypically Ann Arbor thing to do that it probably will happen.


Tue, Mar 30, 2010 : 8:24 a.m.

Not sure if this is reasonable or feasible, but it would be good to see the owners getting people in there to auction off/recycle/re-purpose the A/C units and anything else that is salvageable on the property, then knock it down so the buildings are no longer unsightly or an attractive nuisance.


Tue, Mar 30, 2010 : 8:23 a.m.

What's overlooked in all these discussions is that this is a neighbhorhood that ranges from solidly upper-middle to wealthy. I can't think of another commercial strip, even in Michigan, with this many vacancies in a neighborhood with this kind of available disposable income. I'm not a Tea Partier, but I have to wonder whether this indicates unwarranted intrusion into private enterprise by a hostile local government in matters of taxation and construction. The difficulties the city places in the way of those wanting to start small food-service enterprises (others have pointed to how hard it would be for anyone to take over the Paula's space) are well known, and tax issues seem to be the problem in the case of Georgetown. I look forward to discussion of this issue in upcoming campaigns in the Third and Fourth wards; it seems pretty clear that the current council and administration have been most oriented toward downtown developments of questionable value and dubious ethical background.

John Hritz

Tue, Mar 30, 2010 : 7:44 a.m.

Let's see if Craig is able to come up with a last minute solution this time. As far as I'm concerned, its a sequence of unforced errors by Harbor.


Tue, Mar 30, 2010 : 6:47 a.m.

The entire stretch on Packard from Stone School to Stadium looks very run down. The vacant GT shopping mall is the biggest eyesore. I am delighted that we have Morgan and York and soon to move in Cake Noveau...and to keep them there you have to shop there!!!! I walk by the shopping mall with my dog weekly and I do not see removal of weeds....that bed in front is full of overgrown bushes and rocks. What kind of plan can there be with no $$$$? The owner is not paying the taxes~ so who would have funds for a renovation? The longer is stays vacant the more vulnerable it is to vandalism and loitering.....


Tue, Mar 30, 2010 : 5:47 a.m.

Maybe the City can build an underground parking structure there too.


Tue, Mar 30, 2010 : 5:23 a.m.

It's old and was having a hard time drawing enough people during it's salad days. During a better economy, it may have had a chance but the whole country including this area is overbuilt in commercial real estate.


Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 11:13 p.m.

Will this become another Ann Arbor Inn? Or whatever the name of that hotel on Jackson Rd., that the city fought with the landlord, Dale Newman, over for years. Trader Joe's would be nice, just for the parking alone. But can TJ afford to invest $15M? For those who think income taxes are better, people lose their jobs and income just as businesses does, so how will shifting the taxes onto more people help? So, now people's income will be used to help support corporations? Some people really need to take an economics class.

John Alan

Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 10:32 p.m.

The city of Ann Arbor is doing a fantastic job in pretending that the values in Ann Arbor has been going up and up!!!! This over assessment of commercial property taxes have ruined commercial properties!!! I guess once they spent good chunk of money in legal fees for defending their unfair taxation in tax tribunal, may be then they realize that they are better off by taxing people more fairly.....


Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 7:57 p.m.

Someone had mentioned it would be a great place for Trader Joe's to expand. Agree w/Andy lots of blight along Packard w/the Hollywood Video and Paula's Place closing. Rumors are that Marco's is next (moving closer to campus). It is too bad.


Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 7:05 p.m.

I agree re property taxes. But, unless they go to zero, you'll have a hard time getting people to sign up for both income and property taxes. The perception is they'll just raise them over the years to where they are right now (property, that is...). It needs to be a state level decision.

Val Losse

Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 6:14 p.m.

This is a good example why property taxes should not be used. Think of this as your home. You have lost your job or you have a decrease of income. You are on the edge of losing your home because the property tax goes on and on with penalties. While you have been able to negotiate with the bank to reduce or delay payments so you can retain your home. Alas it is not the same with property taxes. There is no negotiating. Pay or move out. That is why income tax is the fair tax that will keep many families in their homes. No income means no income tax and if you own your home outright you will not loose it to property taxes.


Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 6 p.m.

I hope a real plan for this blight along Packard Rd. comes together. The details in this article sound weak (removing a dumpster, pulling weeds? - maybe we need to bring more dumpsters in while we knock down those ugly buildings). Maybe the owner should talk to the people who put the big face-lift on Arborland.