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Posted on Wed, Sep 7, 2011 : 5:52 p.m.

Possible new tenant for Borders store in downtown Ann Arbor emerges

By Lizzy Alfs


No bids were received for the downtown Borders lease, but a possible new tenant is emerging for the flagship store on Liberty and Maynard streets.

Melanie Maxwell |

No bids were submitted by the 3 p.m. deadline today for the two remaining Borders leases in Washtenaw County, but a prospective tenant for the flagship store in downtown Ann Arbor has emerged, a real estate agent confirmed today.

DJM Realty, a unit of Borders asset liquidator Gordon Brothers Group LLC, has been auctioning off the Borders leases for the remaining 399 stores in two rounds.

The bid due date for the two remaining Ann Arbor area leases was this afternoon, and no bids were received for either location, Andy Graiser, president of DJM Realty, confirmed in an email.

The lease for the flagship store on Liberty and Maynard streets in downtown Ann Arbor was signed through 2025, according to a DJM listing. The lease for the Lohr Road location was set to expire in 2019.

Since no bids were received, the existing leases will be terminated, and landlords can begin seeking tenants to start a brand new lease.

Michael Lippitt and Bruce Simon of Landmark Commercial Services have already been marketing the downtown property — and Lippitt said today that Landmark is in discussions with a possible tenant for the space.

“We have received a legitimate letter of intent that we are reviewing,” he said. “I hope we can announce it soon.”

Lippitt declined to reveal any details about the prospective tenant. But he said it would fit “very, very well” with the needs of the community.

It is unclear whether the tenant would occupy the entire 42,000-square-foot store, or just parts of the building.

The Landmark Commercial listing has the property separated into three potential spaces: the 18,683-square-foot first floor, the 18,236-square-foot second floor and the 6,311-square-foot basement.

The annual asking rate ranges between $18 and $35 per square foot.

The downtown Ann Arbor retail building has multiple ownership entities, including a family trust and Agree Realty Corp., which has controlled the property after a complex series of leases and land leases.

Local developer Tom Goldberg is an owner of the 28,500-square-foot Lohr Road property, which is located in the Waters Place Shopping Center.

Meanwhile, Borders announced that the flagship store will close for good on Monday.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at



Mon, Sep 12, 2011 : 2:47 p.m.

@rs The Trader Joe's in Grosse Pointe (The Village) validates parking at the parking structure nearby. It works great. :)


Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 9:16 p.m.

Container Store needs to be in Ann Arbor! Downtown would be great for students. Or Georgetown Mall when it ever renovates!

Original Ann Arborite

Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 3:55 p.m.

Anthropologie lolololol That type of store can go 2 the boring Briarwood Mall. How many ppl can afford Anthropologie? No, we don't need another Whole Foods or Trader Joe's come on! We need something new, u know, that has never been here b4! Think outside the box... Something fun/entertaining/experience that actual residents of A2 (not students) can also enjoy even when school is not in and others will want 2 come 2 A2 because of it...please... Someone with the money contact me, I have a few great ideas


Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 2:19 p.m.

Think about the economics for a second. The first two floors taken together are about 37,000 square feet. Multiply that by the lowest rate mentioned in the article of $18/sq. ft. That's a rent of $660,000/month! Then, ask yourself what kind of business can generate that much money plus staffing costs and all the other costs associated with a business. What kind of business can generate that much money every month? I don't think it's going to be another bookstore, and I'd be surprised if it was a grocery store. I wonder what kind of rents Trader Joe's and Whole Foods are paying at their current locations?

Silly Sally

Mon, Sep 12, 2011 : 11:58 a.m.

divide your figures by 12


Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 3:58 p.m.

Uh...mr_annarbor...I believe that the $18/sq. ft. is an annual figure. Using your figures the $660,000 rent would be per year which works out to $55,000 per month.

paul wiener

Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 2:05 p.m.

This is what passes for news: possibles, maybe's, not-saying, wait-and-see, teases. Embarrassing journalism, a waste of bandwidth.


Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 4:35 p.m.

Hey, this is where there's no grammar, fact or anything checking! And lots of kids working at minimum wage trying to fill space with fluff, and made up stuff and 'whatever'. If you wanted journalism or anything resembling it you came to the wrong place.


Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 1:41 p.m.

Could it be that Bongs & Thongs has their eye on this location instead?

Christy King

Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 12:36 p.m.

Is this where I put in my formal nomination for a Anthro?


Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 2:28 p.m.

Word is there's one coming elsewhere in town...

Andy Piper

Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 12:13 p.m.

Wouldn't be a relief to see this rented to a high quality tenant right off the bat! My wish list 1. downtown grocery store, I know we have 7-11 and CVS and don't really need anything more, but, Whole Foods or Trader Joe's would be fine. 2. High quality home furnishings store - Crate and Barrel etc.


Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 12:10 p.m.

Chinese restaurant.

G. Orwell

Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 12:09 p.m.

Now that mom-n-pop dispensaries have been shut down, the new tenant will be a corporate owned mega marajuana dispensary. Everything has to be big and connected to DC these days or you are not allowed to compete.


Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 11:52 a.m.

If the replacement is going to last, it should fit with economic reality. Payday Loan, Liquor, Lotto?


Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 11:23 a.m.

A grocery store would be very nice. And you who are concerned about space for semis just don't understand the logistics of delivery. There was a grocery store --A&P--on State Street about next door to the State Theater when I moved here. And it worked just fine. Yes that's been awhile but the landscape was the same.


Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 7:04 p.m.

If State & Liberty is such a great location for a grocery store then: A) Why did the old one go out of business? and B) Why has no other grocery store taken its place? Sometimes places go out of business for a poor location.


Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 11:03 a.m.

No way does a grocery store go in there ... do you really want semi trucks unloading anywhere around that block? Not to mention the total lack of street-level parking — unless they worked out a highly bizarre arrangement with the Maynard Street garage to offer direct access to an upper level (no crossing the street) and free parking for grocery customers. Nope, the logistics are all wrong for a grocery store. I'm thinking Crate & Barrel or something similar.

Jonathon Swiderski

Thu, Sep 15, 2011 : 4:10 p.m.

The Jacobson's had a direct access from a middle level of the garage (forget which one exactly) to the second floor of the store... I believe they validated parking, too. Neither is unheard of for that building, let alone in general. It's not like C&B or a similar store would be able to have their products delivered by sedan and pickup truck, either, btw. That's what the alley between Maynard and State is for.


Mon, Sep 12, 2011 : 2:54 p.m.

@rs The Trader Joe's in Grosse Pointe (The Village) validates parking at the parking structure nearby. It works great. :) Deliveries of stock (like in any busy city?) would probably be made off hours, when street and foot traffic is less. A Bookstore (or something like Crate & Barrel) on the second floor, and a Trader Joe's on the main floor would be nice.


Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 2:09 p.m.

fjord is right. Grocery stores rely on a high volume of customers. This is why nearly every grocery store has parking lots that are larger than the store itself. Without a parking lot it will never work, and people won't pay for parking in a structure to grocery shop.


Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 12:38 p.m.

The logistics? Oh, please. Like, semi trucks only are used for groceries? That area has been sorely needing a food market for some time.


Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 2:55 a.m.

Well apparently it will be a sex toy emporium that is also a head shop, bird sanctuary and public art collective. With a coffee shop taking up the entire top floor to make up for the utter lack of coffee shops within a twelve-foot radius of the store (you need to go at least 20 feet before you can find another one... it's disgraceful!)


Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 2:26 p.m.

I think you're onto something. I'd add either a Korean or Indian restaurant because 867 of them in A2 isn't enough.

Jojo B

Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 3:32 a.m.

Best... idea... ever...!!!


Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 2:52 a.m.

Nordstrom. Shoes!!


Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 1:58 a.m.

Wal Mart - It fits in with the needs of the community.


Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 5:13 p.m.



Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 1:45 a.m.

If this space is split into three: Anthropologie, Papa Joe's & the Apple Store.


Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 1:27 a.m.

anthropologie or cb2 would be great!


Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 1:26 a.m.

A real property-tax paying, high-employing business which will pay lots of taxes and provide lots of employees to buy stuff and go to restaurants. Preferably from out of state, so they will buy houses in Ann Arbor and pay real estate taxes too. And I still believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

Silly Sally

Mon, Sep 12, 2011 : 11:56 a.m.

If one expects a business to pay a lot of taxes, ever wonder why those states and nations with low taxes seem to attract more firms with jobs than those with high taxes?


Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 1:22 a.m.

C'mon, we all know that the only organization that moves that quickly to gobble up real estate in Ann Arbor is the University of Michigan.

David Briegel

Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 1:22 a.m.

Not Whole Paycheck, Trader Joe's!!


Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 12:34 a.m.

MY Wish list for downtown a2: 1.Powell's Books 2. Crate and Barrell/ cb2 3. Anthropologie 4. A cool aquarium 5. Ballard/Horchow/Pier One/ikea/home goods 6. H&M/TJ Maxx 7. IHOP/ denny's (remember the downtown denny's with the liquor license?)

Adam Jaskiewicz

Mon, Sep 12, 2011 : 11:50 a.m.

I'd love a furniture store along the lines of CB2 or Room and Board. Good, solid, stylish stuff that young professionals can replace their worn-out Ikea furniture with without breaking the bank.


Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 5:03 p.m.

YES, Crate & Barrell

Kai Petainen

Wed, Sep 7, 2011 : 11:49 p.m.

downtown wholefoods?


Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 12:36 p.m.

A downtown grocery of some kind would be great.

Christy King

Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 12:34 p.m.

That's a great idea, Kai. Students need a good grocery store they can walk to. Though, Trader Joes might be a better option for their budgets. I, for one, would love to buy groceries during my lunch hour

Broken Record

Wed, Sep 7, 2011 : 11:15 p.m.

I'm still hoping another bookstore like Nicola's or even Barnes and Noble will take over the flagship stores space. In the last few years Shaman Drum, David's Books, and now Borders have closed and I think it will leave a gap downtown with only The Dawntreader and a few other used book sellers left around. I can't think of many other stores that could take over a space that large and in that location successfully. Also, I'm really curious what Borders had in their 6k square foot basement. I had thought all the office space was located adjacent to the store area.


Wed, Sep 7, 2011 : 11:09 p.m.

Another bookstore would be fine.

John of Saline

Wed, Sep 7, 2011 : 10:32 p.m.

Bring back Jacobson's!


Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 10:53 p.m.

Ditto Ditto Ditto.........I miss that place....


Wed, Sep 7, 2011 : 10:15 p.m.

Fingers crossed for a Container Store. Or Archivers.

Lauren McLeod

Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 4:30 p.m.

Container store? Really?