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Posted on Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

South State Street Corridor Plan: A new vision for Ann Arbor's critical gateway

By Lizzy Alfs


Ann Arbor's McKinley Inc. wants to build affordable housing on a vacant site behind the McKinley Executive Centre.

Daniel Brenner |

The South State Street corridor from Stimson south to Ellsworth is a major employment center, a retail destination and a critical gateway into downtown Ann Arbor, but how could the area be improved?

That’s the question at the center of the city of Ann Arbor’s first major planning study of the South State Street area in 22 years. Launched in 2011, the South State Street Corridor Plan is nearing completion and it will likely result in a new chapter added to the city’s master plan.

The 2.15-mile stretch of South State is diverse: It has more than one million square feet of retail space, about 900,000 square feet of office space, 580,000 square feet of industrial and light manufacturing uses, and a small number of residential properties.

The area houses some of the county’s largest employers — including Truven Health Analytics, Proquest and Edwards Brothers Malloy — and the region’s largest shopping center, Briarwood Mall, is located at the corner of Interstate 94 and South State.


A deteriorating sidewalk along South State Street.

City of Ann Arbor

Many of the buildings were constructed decades ago and nearly every parcel along the corridor is developed. Newer development has occurred on the south side near Ellsworth, including the Costco warehouse store in Pittsfield Township and a Tim Hortons coffee shop.

As the city solicited public feedback on how the area could be improved, a common concern arose: the corridor is ugly.

“Obviously, from a utility standpoint (the corridor) functions adequately, but it’s still far from being a good gateway into the city,” said Andrew Selinger, an investment analyst with Ann Arbor-based Oxford Company, which owns or manages about 400,000 square feet of office space around the State Street area.

“As an Ann Arbor real estate company, we’re thrilled that (the city) is sort of reconsidering what needs to be done down there and how to make it better,” he added.

Selinger said there are easy fixes that can be made to approve the appearance of the corridor: fix the roads, sidewalks and medians; plant trees; improve or add more bus stops; install signage or art.

“It’s not likely that area is going to transform into a vibrant neighborhood overnight, but what we need to do is take what we have…and 20 percent of the effort will get us 80 percent of where we want to be,” he said.

This type of input from the public is helping drive the recommendations in the South State Street Corridor Plan. A 41-page draft copy of the plan was unveiled at an Ann Arbor Planning Commission meeting in January, and residents can submit online feedback until April 30. (Download a copy of the plan)

Pittsfield Township Supervisor Mandy Grewal said planning staff was involved in discussions with the city of Ann Arbor about how to improve the corridor. She said the township envisions greater density and mixed uses to go in that node, which is defined in the township’s master plan.

Ann Arbor Planning Commission is scheduled to review the plan at a working session on May 7, and a public hearing for final adoption is scheduled for May 21.


The segments of State Street studied in the plan.

City of Ann Arbor

“There was extensive public outreach that took place last year, which included direct interviews with many dozens of stakeholders,” said City Planner Jeff Kahan.

“One of the themes that we heard from the public process was an interest in improving the aesthetic, but another was an interest in creating places that are more vital…so it’s not just a transportation corridor or a place where people to go work…one of the things we’re exploring is ways that we can encourage folks to get out of their cars,” he continued.

Some other recommendations in the plan include:

  • Develop incentives for more stringent efficiency standards that encourage all new buildings to have solar-ready rooftops
  • Evaluate utilizing open land for community gardens
  • Assess and improve high-crash areas along the corridor
  • As housing is integrated into mixed-use areas, encourage the expansion of affordable housing options
  • Resurface roads in the corridor
  • Develop safe non-motorized systems
  • Establish high-visibility pedestrian crossings
  • Replace DTE street lights with high-efficiency LEDs
  • Anticipate and plan for future light rail transit or bus rapid transit
  • Evaluate innovative parking solutions
  • Promote commercial development in specific areas

Although nearly every parcel in the corridor is developed, there are still a number of real estate opportunities.


The Edwards Brothers Malloy property at 2500 S. State St. has vacant land in front of its facility that could be redeveloped in the future.

Lizzy Alfs |

The Edwards Brothers Malloy property at 2500 S. State St., which the company developed in 1954, has vacant land west of the 185,000-square-foot facility. The South State Corridor Plan —and local developers and real estate experts — suggest the land could support a multi-family development if it were rezoned. The building is also surrounded by property owned by the University of Michigan.

“The Edwards Brothers land should be high density multi-family,” said Oxford Company President Jeff Hauptman via email.

Since Edwards Brothers merged with Scio Township-based Malloy Inc. in 2012, the resulting Edwards Brothers Malloy has considered its options for building consolidations or relocations, said CEO John J. Edwards. But both facilities are being used at capacity, and the logistics involved in moving presses is “daunting,” he said.

Edwards said he hasn’t been seriously approached about selling the entire property or the vacant land in front of the State Street building.

“We just have been here a long time. In my life, I’ve seen the town just kind of march past us,” he said. “This kind of facility could be anywhere, but we haven’t really thought much about it.”

Meanwhile, Ann Arbor-based McKinley Inc. is considering building an affordable housing project behind the McKinley Executive Centre at 2245 S. State.

McKinley CEO Albert Berriz said a vacant 4.47-acre parcel — which is behind the office building and nestled near railroad tracks and an Ann Arbor Public Schools administrative property that houses buses — would be a prime location for an affordable housing development.

“We think it’s a perfect location for it,” he said. “It’s close to downtown, it has excellent transportation support…right around the corner in walking distance you have the (Kroger and Produce Station) grocery stores and the (CVS pharmacy) right around the corner as well. I think there are certainly a lot of good, walkable services in the immediate vicinity.”

McKinley is in the beginning stages of proposing the project, but the company intends to apply for a Low Income Housing Tax Credit. The program encourages the development and rehabilitation of affordable rental housing by awarding tax credits to developers of qualified projects.

“I think it’s feasible that we would attract, in addition to our equity, the tax credit equity quite easily,” Berriz said.

“It takes a sophisticated person that has money, that has staying power, that is willing to take the time (to get approvals for affordable housing),” he continued.


Dave Hamilton of Swisher Commercial said the high-profile King Engineering property on South State Street is under sales contract.

Melanie Maxwell |

Commercial development opportunities include the high-profile former King Engineering buildings at 3201 S. State St., which have been vacant since the company moved out a year ago. The 2.48-acre site is being marketed for sale with Ann Arbor’s Swisher Commercial, which lowered the listing price from $3.5 million to $2.7 million in fall 2012.

Dave Hamilton of Swisher told this week that the property is under sales contract with a developer, but he said it could take at least six months before it’s officially sold. Hamilton declined to reveal any details of the deal due to confidentiality agreements.

Further south at 3776 S. State, the former Passport Restaurant and Lounge building is being marketed for lease after the restaurant closed permanently in November.

Developers have also proposed a retail project on a 1-acre property at 3945 S. State St. just north of Ellsworth. It would consist of two buildings, totaling 8,531 square feet with a single-lane drive-thru to serve one building. Bob Andrus of Michigan Commercial Realty is marketing the buildings for lease.

For the property surrounding Briarwood Mall, the South State Street Corridor Plan suggests pedestrian and transit access should be incorporated into any future redevelopment of the parcels. It also says surface parking could be converted to structured parking to allow development on portions of the existing parking lot.

“More intense uses will help use land more efficiently and can promote greater vitality at the mall,” the plan says.

Briarwood Mall unveiled a renovation plan in March, but mall officials declined to reveal plans for the shopping center’s expansive parking lot.

"We continue to explore opportunities," Briarwood Mall manager Ida Hendrix said.


An aerial photo of Briarwood Mall shows the redevelopment opportunities on the parking lot surrounding the shopping center.

Melanie Maxwell |

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



Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 1:53 p.m.

quit with all the stupidity re pave/fix the roads and sidewalks. the rest is just silly WANTs of the few pretending to be the many.

Lets Get Real

Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 12:03 p.m.

•"Develop incentives for more stringent efficiency standards that encourage all new buildings to have solar-ready rooftops" REGULATION NATION - this will certainly encourage building - make it more expensive! •"Evaluate utilizing open land for community gardens" - Have you seen some of these unkept, weed filled eye sores? I'm sure Edwards Brothers who takes pride in manicuring their front lawn would welcome this to their front lawn - NOT •"As housing is integrated into mixed-use areas, encourage the expansion of affordable housing options" - DESIGNATING THE SOUTH SIDE? Already got the Salvation Army Store, Resale Row, and Avalon Housing - lets just move the Section 8 folks in too. That'll surely attract more retail and upscale dining to the south side - NOT •"Develop safe non-motorized systems" Yes, please - more reduction of lanes for cars and more for the handful of bikers. Where is this trail that was supposed to connect the areas of town and keep the bikers safe and off the roadways? •"Establish high-visibility pedestrian crossings" - A way for hotel guests to walk to the mall and the restaurants makes sense - yeah for one good idea. •"Replace DTE street lights with high-efficiency LEDs" - so let DTE upgrade their own stuff •"Anticipate and plan for future light rail transit or bus rapid transit" - Is this like 'we're not putting lights in the renovation of Michigan Stadium' - we're just anticipating them? The upidy Ann Arborites won't give up their cars and use the bus, so why? •"Evaluate innovative parking solutions" What parking problems need solution? Briarwood has more parking than they can fill and all of the businesses in the area have lots. What is the issue? •"Promote commercial development in specific areas" - What specific areas? The ones owned by the insiders who will get rich by selling them? Stop spending money on everything but what is needed.


Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 11:38 a.m.

Lizzy, what about EV charging infrastructure, especially at Briarwood Mall?


Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 1:55 p.m.

the electric vehicles nobody buys even with the huge govt. subsidies?


Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 1 p.m.

Hopefully they'll also put in free gas pumps for the other 98% of us.


Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 3:51 a.m.

Less talk and more action on these Gateways - S. State and N. Main. FIX THE ROADS FIRST! Then tear down the blight and then you may plants trees.


Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 3:47 a.m.

My question is the same as it was for the "North Main Task Force"... Who asked you to do anything? Professional planning busybodies equals your tax dollars wasted.


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 9:51 p.m.

Whenever you are part of a discussion involving State Street changes, just claim whatever it is that you want will create jobs. Oh, and that it is vibrant, sustainable, and involves the creation of mixed-use developments, complete streets and transit-oriented development. Bonus points if it involves a design charette, form-based code, and LEED certification. It doesn't have to really do or involve any of those things. Just use all the buzz words the nanny-staters find so impressive, and your ideas will be implemented.


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 8:15 p.m.

They should put State St on a road diet - as they have done with every other major artery into the city. That will certainly help traffic flow, safety, etc.

Nicholas Urfe

Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 8:34 p.m.

A road diet for state street isn't sufficient. State St in that area needs a gastric bypass.


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 7:33 p.m.

"As housing is integrated into mixed-use areas, encourage the expansion of affordable housing options" Thats the way to improve the area. More section 8 housing ALWAYS brings value. We could have a Miller Manor on every corner!

Jay Thomas

Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 6:48 p.m.

While I am as capitalist and market oriented as they come, I do think that McKinley has far too much control over pricing in this rental market. They should be limited by law and not allowed to gobble up the entire town. It's really a race to see who will do it first, McKinley or the U!


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 6:10 p.m.

Why not consider what has worked elsewhere?:


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 7:23 p.m.

It's not Boulder but Boulder has not been spared the nasty effects of sprawl. Not be a long shot.


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 7:05 p.m.

Is that Boulder? Otherwise hizoner won't care.


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 5:32 p.m.

I hate change and the building of things


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 4:52 p.m.

It took 22 years to require a new study. It took two years to complete the study. How many years to sift through ideas and oppositions. How many years to agree. How many years to then implement. Add it all up - changes to beautify the corridor will happen in another 22 years. That's my bet.


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 4:40 p.m.

They have been talking about this for years. And nothing yet. Still waiting.

Rick Stevens

Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 4:20 p.m.

Can those of us who'd like cycle or walk from Ellsworth to north State Street please get a few modest improvement so that can be done with safety? Right now it's a 'free fire zone' for cars and insane drivers who see pedestrians, runners, walkers and cyclist as intruders in their space. They do their best to drive them away. It's not a lot to it?

Silly Sally

Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 1:32 p.m.

Ann Arbor City limits include the intersection of Ellsworth and State, going east and then north. Go look on a map.


Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 12:58 p.m.

@a2citizen - that's exactly what I was thinking.


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 9:02 p.m.

Maybe submit your request to the Pittsfield Township planning commission. If you want A2 amenities, move here.


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 8:47 p.m.

If you are starting at S. State and Ellsworth it would be an additional two miles - it's a mile from State to Stone School. What's two miles on a bike? If that's too far, tell us what you would be happy with. The fact that it needs to cross an interstate highway is a bit of a complication.

Nicholas Urfe

Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 8:33 p.m.

Thanks for making the point Brad - you propose a 3 mile detour. Along a route that is not particularly safe. The city should be able to do better.


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 6:48 p.m.

Just take Ellsworth to Stone School and use the bike/pedestrian bridge over I-94 there.


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 4:19 p.m.

probably the last thing they are thinking about is a safe way for bicyclists and walkers to travel on the corridor over I-94, but it would be an asset to drivers as well. This sort of thing needs to be considered if AA is to become a modern community that will attract young adults and families.


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 3:53 p.m.

Can someone please explain A2's obsession with "affordable housing options" to me?

Rose Garden

Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 12:32 p.m.

Affordable housing generates a demand for more affordable housing. Word spreads.


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 8:22 p.m.

It's also a way to subsidize businesses by moving their employees closer. Why do you think the DDA is so interested in "affordable housing"?


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 7:42 p.m.

I know it's absolutely ridiculous. A2 is not affordable for everyone, if it was it would be like the rest of SE MI. It is a waste to use any subsidies to buy space in this high-cost area. You get more bang for your buck elsewhere.


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 7:02 p.m.

Developer subsidy, need I say more?

Jay Thomas

Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 6:53 p.m.

Sure. People think they have the right to live in a nice place instead of being shunted off somewhere not-so-nice because it actually is affordable. Therefore they demand that they be subsidized so they don't have to leave. Then in come greedy developers sniffing all the government greenbacks the project will bring. They are more than happy to build it for you. Ka-ching! There were even people in Beverly Hills, CA demanding affordable housing last time I checked (and if that makes any sense).

Bob W

Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 3:30 p.m.

I'm not sure we have much "change" to worry about either way if they are no more successful improving this "gateway" if the efforts to improve the other "gateway" (North Main) are any indication. Lots of talk, little action.


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 2:54 p.m.

"We think it's a perfect location for it," he said. "It's close to downtown, it has excellent transportation support…right around the corner in walking distance you have the (Kroger and Produce Station) grocery stores and the (CVS pharmacy) right around the corner as well. Good idea if you build a pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks. Affordable housing clientele can't afford the high prices at the Produce Station and it's doubtful people will choose to take the long way to Kroger's on Stimson. Considering that this site is out of site and out of mind from the general public, it just might get built.


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 2:35 p.m.

Here, do this:

You Don't Say

Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 2:32 p.m.

The Planning Commission needs to focus its attention and resources to the most unsightly corridor in Ann Arbor, North Main street. This ugliness has been a blight and disgrace to the city for the 50 plus years I lived here. And what about the crappy stretch of road on Ann Arbor Saline Road as you enter the city limits. If the city wants to spend its money to improve sight lines entering the city, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out where to start. South State Street looks a heck of a lot better than North Main, with the exception of the eyesore Tyner furniture parking lot and the flower shop on the west side of State.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 12:16 p.m.


Ann English

Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 12:31 a.m.

Last week, I realized what you other comment posters mean about Ann Arbor-Saline Road; where it crosses over I-94, it's rough. I don't usually drive on that part of it, just on one side of I-94 or the other. Even if more Research & Development divisions of businesses did buy the empty parcels on Research Park Drive and put in their own buildings, they wouldn't be visible from State Street; no other roads are near that northeastern part of Research Park Drive's loop.


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 2:42 p.m.

They are all ugly IMO. Street resurfacing would do wonders for all of them.

Nicholas Urfe

Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 2:28 p.m.

Compared to downtown, that is a terrible area to work in. The area is not safe for pedestrians, for those of us who like to walk to lunch or walk or bus to work. The selection of places to eat is lousy - and should not be expected to improve with the limited pedestrian access. Traffic is heavy, so if you do want to leave your office tower for lunch, driving is an ugly option. Options for safe biking to or from work, or local businesses, are also limited. The area reminds me of Troy or similar detroit suburbs.


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 8:52 p.m.

There are cross walks at State and Ike. They are perfectly safe. Just order a pizza...we know the real problem.


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 7:01 p.m.

So let's impede the traffic (thousands), so the few can walk safely. Let' eliminate parking too, then we'll be just like a downtown south.


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 2:38 p.m.

Maybe we should just make the entire city one big downtown.Then everything will be wonderful, just like it is in NYC.


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 2:27 p.m.

I think it's funny that Albert Berriz cited being able to walk to the Produce Station as a reason it's a great place for affordable housing. Don't get me wrong, I love the Produce Station, but you certainly don't shop there for it's affordability. It's more in line with the Whole Foods crowd.

Lizzy Alfs

Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 11:08 a.m.

He did cite Kroger and CVS, too. I think his point was just that there are things in walking distance to the site, which is something to consider when building affordable housing.

Jay Thomas

Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 6:54 p.m.

The poster boy for being "out of touch".

Basic Bob

Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 2:13 p.m.

Was Mandy Grewal interested in discussing the township's plans for State Road immediately south of Ann Arbor? The $29 million preferred alternative is a four-lane boulevard with 20 foot medians, three additional roundabouts at Morgan, Textile, and Old State Roads, with bike lanes of course. The public hearing was last week, and the comment period is closing next week. Once this project is approved, we can expect that the runway relocation will follow shortly after.


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 1:23 p.m.

I am excited that the city is planning to beautify this important gateway to Ann Arbor. Some professional landscaping with flower gardens in the median north and south of I-94 would be a great improvement.


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 1:42 p.m.

"Beautify"? Did that word appear anywhere in the article?


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 1:20 p.m.

Get back to basics: 1. Resurface roads ! Resurface roads ! Resurface Roads ! Every back country road in Canada is much better than most AA roads. It is simply an INSULT to drive on AA roads. 2. Traffic lights system...As if the roads did not do enough damage to your car, the AA traffic lights system is an insult to your intelligence and anyone who had the chance of driving in other cities. GET SENSORS ! It is NOT GREEN to have to sit idle and feel like a fool when there is no one around , yet the light is red. Why is it that in this city of high intellect we are not trusted to turn left without and arrow ? The one that take the cake for silliness is S. State and Airport Blvd. If you turn left on State fr Elsworth, you KNOW your next light at Airport Blvd...will be RED. If you are even less fortunate and you drive on Airport Blvd. and have to do the idiotic 180 dance to get on State heading KNOW the next light on state will, again be RED. Of course, you could just turn left on State, but that just makes too much sense. So again: Back to basics. Get drivable roads FIRST, smarter traffic lights system just to catch up with the rest of humanity and then we'll talk about other more lofty goals. Get real folks, see the world outside of AA and realize how ridiculous negotiating AA streets really is.

Ann English

Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 12:23 a.m.

Those who work at businesses on State Circle are allowed to turn left on State Street. The next traffic signal on State Street north of Airport Boulevard is the I-94 interchange. No detours around that red light, but if you want to get to eastbound Eisenhower from northbound State Street, there is a way around that traffic signal at State and Eisenhower: turn right on Victor's Way, then left on Boardwalk, and you'll get to Eisenhower without waiting for that red light at State and Eisenhower to change.


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 1:17 p.m.

I drive down South State street frequently and find the uncrowded openness attractive. The large lawn in front of the Edwards Brothers Malloy building has a park-like appearance and is well-maintained. Developers view the same property as an opportunity to construct buildings either more housing or commercial enterprises. Those fostering a State Street Plan would probably want to develop Regents Park in London. I will be disappointed if the South State Street Plan follows the Connect Williams Street plan with every parcel of land being considered for construction of 12-story to 14-story buildings. The article mentions the need for rezoning which could mean permission for D1 development. Think that it may not happen? Also I fear that the State Street Corridor Plan turns into the State Street Corridor Authority with its ability to tax Ann Arbor citizens and use the tax dollars for incentives to developers. With this possibility I understand the interest held by local developers and real estate companies. Ann Arbor is not expected to have a significant population expansion in the next ten to twenty years so continued residential construction is not justified. Furthermore, Ann Arbor has all the retail and commercial developments that are needed. Therefore, any new commercial construction will be difficult to lease and will likely attract a hodge-podge collection of smaller niche businesses with limited resources and staying ability. The Arbor Hills development at Platt and Washtenaw Avenue will be interesting to follow for this reason. "If its not broken, don't fix it" applies to South State street which looks just fine now.

Ann English

Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 12:12 a.m.

Nothing is written in the article above regarding all the parcels for business on Research Park Drive. That undeveloped land is visible on the map above. It's right in the middle of Area 3. Land-for-sale signs are posted on the even-number side of Research Park Drive. It isn't for retail businesses. Subaru, Mercedes Benz, and Honda have R & D buildings on the odd side (outside) of the loop street named Research Park Drive.


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 12:25 p.m.

Can someone tell me if it's automatically tax money that goes into "affordable housing?" So when I see these 2 words, I know that this means it's either funded by a federal program, or a local program, or both? Also, are there local-to-Ann-Arbor "affordable housing" organiaztions OTHER than Avalon?


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 10:06 p.m.

That was a very informative response, and thanks. So I'm guessing that Avalon getting a grant from the DDA is actually one of the least common types of affordable housing funding. And I wasn't familiar with several of those other more common types you referred to, so I'm guessing there's plenty of waste going on all the time, and with greater dollar amounts. So I'm guessing no private developer ever develops affordable housing UNLESS the revenue is padded by one of these grants/programs. In other words, McKinley wouldn't build affordable housing unless they received money from a grant to offset the revenue they lose from if it were NOT affordable housing. From past articles I've read, it also seems like the affordable housing credit/grant is not a one-time deal. In other words, someone gets a grant or tax credit as an incentive to build affordable housing, then someone gets even more later to fix the property up. So it's basically just a consistent drain that never eases, and most likely gets worse (e.g. locally we pay to demolish Avalon/3 Oaks affordable housing properties, and they still own it). I think the city needs to get out of the Affordable Housing game. If McKinley gets their money for it, great. But I'd prefer not to see more tax money spent on it later, especially as it pertains to demolishing. Does anyone have a really good example of Affordable Housing working and not being a drain? Like it generates revenue and is kept up and is full of happy productive people and well managed and self-maintaining (without constant tax money)?

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 8:48 p.m.

@RUKiddingMe: There is a whole ecosystem of grant and tax credit programs that support the construction of new affordable housing. Among the most popular are: 1. Competitive federal tax credit program (administered in Michigan by MSHDA). These give a deduction from your federal income taxes, but are generally syndicated and sold to investors. 2. Non-competitive federal tax credit program administered by MSHDA. Same as #1 but with much less federal tax credits per dollar invested. 3. Federal Home Loan Bank grants. These GSEs are owned by banks, credit unions and insurance firms and are mandated by law to give away a fixed percentage of their annual income to affordable housing programs. These are available on demand and can subsidize up to about $10k per dwelling unit. 4. HUD single family and multi-family programs. There is a wide variety of these including grants to cities and counties and 40 year fixed low interest rate lending programs. These are paid from the annual federal budget. 5. Other MSHDA programs. MSHDA sets aside some of its profit each year to fund these programs. 6. Private non-profit foundations, some of which give generously to affordable housing. I hope this list helps.


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 11:53 a.m.

Why does everything have to be 'developed'? I kind of like the open spaces around Edward brothers, golf course area etc. Maybe just improve the street and lighting perhaps a pedestrian island. just my thoughts

Lizzy Alfs

Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 11:05 a.m.

The Edwards Brothers property is quite pretty. I went out there last week to take some photos, and I actually think it stands out in the corridor as one of the better sites. I'd just note - the plan does call for possibly developing parks or rec areas on appropriate parcels on the corridor. It's not all building development.


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 11:35 a.m.

As one has to be cautious as to ones words..I'll be extra polite...Let the free market system develop itself ..we have more than enough laws , rules and requirements on the books to control the actual development...we don't need round and go round abouts , dietary roads to accomidate a handfull of bicyclebuddies, underground parking , windmills , solar panels ,etc , etc ,etc ,etc that the powers of Oz declare will make our life a utopia....


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 12:52 p.m.

The free market will developer itself still, however without an incentive to do something different than the free market has done, you will probably end up with what you have right now.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 11:29 a.m.

When I look at the huge Briarwood Mall site I always think that it is amazing that it is one story with so much land being used so inefficiently. I think Briarwood would be a great site for some New Urbanism development with housing and perhaps offices above the one story mall. The site could be intensely developed and that would be a good thing not only for the mall, but the entire town.

Lizzy Alfs

Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 11:04 a.m.

@Stephen: I think you're right to focus on this site. I thought the structure piece was interesting in the plan - I wonder if Briarwood is considering that. I do think there's something in the works for the parking lot, I'm just not sure what at this point.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 1:34 a.m.

@Ann English: Yes, you are correct, the department stores are multi-story, but my point is the rest of the mall isn't.

Ann English

Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 12:04 a.m.

You mean J. C . Penney no longer uses its second floor? It's been years since I shopped in any of the stores there.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 11:18 p.m.

@Arboringinal: Yes, it's a race between them and JC Penney to the bottom... My point overall, is we ought to enable mixed use in the zoning so when the inevitable happens and a major tenant leaves or fails, the mall is strengthen by it overall and not turned into a failed ghost town half occupied.


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 8:57 p.m.

Once Sears goes belly up a newer two story section could be built in it's place.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 4:22 p.m.

@Steve Hendel: Sorry I was at church and not able to give you a more detailed explanation until now. Briarwood Mall has had challenges over the years achieving high occupancy rates. Small portions of the site in the marginal edges that have had high vacancy over the years (for example in the rear) could be demolished and one or more towers built. The land is essentially free for this purpose because the mall owner already owns the site, so only the cost of construction is involved. With the added population and foot traffic, the mall food court and retail stores would achieve higher sales and therefore over time add value to the whole site. Mixed use sites are always the best and most vibrant in a community. Single use zoning went out of style and justly so many years ago.

Steve Hendel

Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 1:39 p.m.

I'm surprised. Usually your comments are sensible and practical, but either demolishing/rebuilding or adding floors to Briarwood is neither; just consider the cost. How about Arborland? Why not level/rebuild/add-on to that as well? It wouldn't take long to make a longer list of candidates for 'upgrading.'


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 1:33 p.m.

Stephen, I think that you are on to something! The Briarwood Mall lot could easily accommodate three or four 14-story residential structures and maybe even a 12-story commercial building as well. Let's make a metropolis out of the mall (and maybe even change the name to reflect the change). Of course I do not know how these buildings will be populated but, hey!, since when have developers ever worried about utilization?

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 12:45 p.m.

Quite serious.

Steve Hendel

Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 12:25 p.m.

Are you serious? Build ON TOP of Briarwood ? Or do you mean demolish it and completely rebuild?


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 11:11 a.m.

What they really need down there is an Arby's.


Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 11:45 a.m.

Better take out the existing Taco Bell, the new Tim Hortons, and the Red Robin to comply with your beautification efforts.

Rose Garden

Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 11:42 a.m.

I say, no drive-in fast food places. They are not attractive which defeats the purpose of beautifying State Street.

Ann English

Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 12:02 a.m.

Putting in an Arby's there would save a trip out to Baker Road's Arby's. No I-94 CURVING bridge around State Street, as over Jackson Avenue.


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 1:47 p.m.


Jonathan Blutarsky

Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 1:39 p.m.

Sarcasm or munchies?


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 10:34 a.m.

The following are bonehead ideas and show how out of touch this committee is. That is the problem these committees are all full of insider do-gooders who always default to "its for the common good". Stop wasting money and promote realistic growth opportunities. •Develop incentives for more stringent efficiency standards that encourage all new buildings to have solar-ready rooftops •Evaluate utilizing open land for community gardens •As housing is integrated into mixed-use areas, encourage the expansion of affordable housing options •Anticipate and plan for future light rail transit or bus rapid transit


Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 3:05 p.m.

Did you post your comments on the A2 Open City Hall website?

Steve Hendel

Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 10:28 a.m.

"There was extensive public outreach that took place last year, which included direct interviews with many dozens of stakeholders," said City Planner Jeff Kahan. This raises the question as to how well general public opinion is represented, when the 'public' consists of people who have (in one way or another) VOLUNTEERED their opinions. Look, for instance, at the late and unlamented County-wide transportation plan crafted by the AATA (pardon me, "The Ride"); a number of people came to public sessions, and the result was a gigantic wish-list of expensive options . This was taken to represent what the public wanted. Later, however, the ELECTED legislative bodies of nearly every governmental unit in the County rejected the plan. Now, where was the general public's opinion more accurately represented?

Steve Hendel

Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 1:45 a.m.

Well. Mr.Me, my point is that if you concentrate on just what 'stakeholders' want, that is not the same as general public opinion; and of course, it is the general public which pays the taxes which will finance whatever is done-which brings up another point: if you just ask people what they want, without asking them about how it should be financed, you tend to get pie-in-the-sky answers (bicycle lanes, affordable housing, gardens, etc.).

Mr. Me

Sun, Apr 28, 2013 : 10:51 p.m.

How exactly are they supposed to accurately know the opinion of people who don't share theirs?