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Posted on Thu, Jun 3, 2010 : 1:36 p.m.

University of Michigan Credit Union buys ex-Ann Arbor News building

By Paula Gardner


The former Ann Arbor News building at 340 E. Huron in downtown Ann Arbor will become administrative offices for the University of Michigan Credit Union.

File photo |

The University of Michigan Credit Union finalized its purchase of the former Ann Arbor News building in downtown Ann Arbor today.

Credit union officials said the 58,000-square-feet of office space in the building will become administrative offices for the credit union. None of its 7 branches will be closed.

"It’s an incredible building," said Jeff Schillag, UMCU’s vice president of marketing and community relations. "It really did fit our space needs very well."

An undetermined number of administrative staff will be moved to the building, Schillag said, with no timing determined yet.

However, the employees will come from offices in south Ann Arbor, the East William Street headquarters, and the branch on Jackson Road.

By moving employees from leased space into a building the UMCU owns, the credit union is getting more value for its operations costs, Schillag said.

He declined to release the purchase price of the building, which was listed at $9.3 million.

However, Schillag said, "we were able to take advantage of the record-low property prices" seen in Ann Arbor.

The credit union originally had planned to consolidate its adminstrative staff into a new building - possibly on land it owns behind its branch on Jackson Road - but Schillag said the purchase price was less than the cost of new construction.

According to a notice sent to credit union members, "After a detailed cost analysis, the current real estate market allowed your credit union to purchase the former Ann Arbor News building for around half of what it would have cost to build with the same square footage. In addition, the downtown location provides UMCU with great visibility and allows us to maintain our close proximity to the University of Michigan."

According to a statement from said Jeff Trapp, president and CEO: “By relocating our employees from leased properties and more effectively controlling our costs, we believe this purchase will be in our members’ best long-term interest and will provide room for the credit union to grow."

The building in downtown Ann Arbor - located on the corner of South Division and East Huron Street - had been vacant since the Ann Arbor News closed in July. The building was owned by the Herald Publishing Co. LLC, which also has ownership ties to

The building came onto the market in October, with co-listing broker Jim Chaconas of Colliers International describing the property as suitable either for an owner-occupant or a development opportunity.

"It's a beautiful building and a flexible building," Chaconas said this afternoon.

That flexibility will help the credit union make it into offices that will feel customized for them, he added.

The three-story, Art Deco office also came with adjacent parking and a second parking lot with an entrance a block north on Ann Street. The estimated market value based on the total assessed value of the combined parcels and building was $10.6 million.

In addition to the office space in the building, a pressroom remains in the lower level.

Herald Publishing paid just short of $170,000 in property taxes on the building in 2009, according to city records. The credit union - affiliated with U-M but a separate, member-owned non-profit - will pay property taxes.

Chaconas said three potential buyers emerged as serious contenders for the property. In addition to the credit union, one was a company looking to move downtown and the third was an Oakland County development team.

"It's nice to see the building stay locally owned," Chaconas said.

Co-listing broker Mike Giraud of Collier's represented the credit union in the deal.

The credit union has over 46,000 members and its net income was $1,852,573 in 2009, according to Schillag. It has about 130 employees, according to IRS filings.



Fri, Jun 4, 2010 : 10:25 p.m.

Have Cash, Start New Paper!

Tom Teague

Fri, Jun 4, 2010 : 4:58 p.m.

@brad - Conde Nast has gone through a traumatic restructuring that, among other things, led to the elimination of Gourmet and other magazines. Staffers have had to cut back on perks and there have been layoffs. If they sold the building at bargain pricing it wouldn't surprise me.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Fri, Jun 4, 2010 : 4:14 p.m.

@Donn Fresard - University Bank would welcome your business if you want to leave behind one of the big mega banks! We have no minimum balance & no fee checking accounts, free internet bill pay, free internet banking and free usage of over 37,000 ATMs nationwide with no fee. We also currently are one of the few remaining banks in Ann Arbor still lending new money. We are one of only a few local owned and locally managed banks. When you are our depositor, your funds go to work in our community. See to download the forms to sign up for new accounts. I'm sure UofM CU would love your business, too. And kudos to UofM CU on their acquisition - we hope it works out wonderfully for you! As a advocate of historic preservation, I think it's wonderful that this Kahn building will be preserved.


Fri, Jun 4, 2010 : 4:10 p.m.

And a Kahn bldg is most likely made of high quality materials. I still see the purchase as a status symbol that will be more expensive in the long run. But it will be good to move workers from the suburbs to downtown.

Geek Chick

Fri, Jun 4, 2010 : 1:38 p.m.

Historic buildings don't always have a bigger energy footprint than new buildings. The reason? They tend to be built with high quality building materials. My 80-year-old high school in the South had foot-thick stone walls and windows that opened. We didn't have air conditioning and didn't need it. Also, UMCU's primary customer audience is downtown or nearby. The News building is within walking distance of campus and the Medical Center and close to the AATA bus station, used by many UM employees and students.

Sven Gustafson

Fri, Jun 4, 2010 : 1:30 p.m.

In all seriousness, that the building sold this quickly is a huge testament to the economic vitality of Ann Arbor. Take it from someone who lives out of town: In virtually any other city in Michigan right now, a building of that size would have remained vacant for a long long time.


Fri, Jun 4, 2010 : 9:05 a.m.

{sorry for the OT content] @Donn: I've been a member of UMCU for nearly 20 years, and love it. In addition, you can get good deals on AAA insurance through them - details at


Fri, Jun 4, 2010 : 8:39 a.m.

It's surprising that a prime downtown building with 2 parking lots is 1/2 the price of a new building. Either Conde Nast cum Advance Publishing really needs cash and took a ridiculously low offer, or UMCU is playing fast and loose with the facts (i.e. not comparing similar construction/renovation expenses; like the cost of removing giant printing presses). Also, won't the overhead (maintenance, energy, maybe taxes) of an old downtown building be more than a new suburban one over the next 20-40 years?


Fri, Jun 4, 2010 : 8:24 a.m.

I believe the building has close to 80 parking spots that come with it. The lot to the west of the building PLUS an area near city hall that is part of the Ann Arbor News building.


Fri, Jun 4, 2010 : 7:42 a.m.

Good News for the citizens of the City, no loss of tax revenue. I just hope the CU hires a better architect than The News did when they remodeled. Now they just have to find parking for all of those employees!


Fri, Jun 4, 2010 : 7:30 a.m.

Kudos to the credit union for saving this building. Ideal outcome for everyone. I'd only heard that some law firms might look at it, but was worried that the relative lack of windows would hurt its chances of surviving in present form. Slightly off topic: I'm sick of Chase. Should I open an account with UMCU? Or is Bank of AA better for some obvious reason?


Fri, Jun 4, 2010 : 5:55 a.m.

Congrats to UM Credit Union for your winning bid. One thing that bothers myself is that there has been no mention in this article or from any of the contributors, that the Ann Arbor News building (1936) is a significant architectural contribution of the famed Albert Kahn. This is the same man who designed Angel Hall (1924), Hill Auditorium (1913), Burton Tower (1935), Delta Upsilon (1903) fraternity (being renovated after a recent gutting fire) 1331 Hill St., not to mention several notable private family homes in the area. Other notable Kahn designs in the Michigan area are Pacard Motor Car Co. Assembly Plant(1907), Ford Motor Co Highland Park Plant (1909), Ford Motor Co. massive Rouge River Plant (1917), as well as taking a large part in helping to complete the World War II Willow Run B-24 Boomer Plant and the Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant. I hope that there are some provisions in the sales agreement that maintain the importance of keeping, at least, the outer appearance of this building somewhat original. To some it may seem like just another concrete and glass building. If you look close you will see the classic gothic columns and a wonderful polished marble base. Change is inevitable, just keep it within reason.


Thu, Jun 3, 2010 : 10:47 p.m.

Sad to see this building go, and I doubt the CU will be interested in finding a way to clean up and showcase the old press, which would be a cool way to honor the building's legacy. We can only hope. The presses that are used to print the (as well as the Michigan Edition of the New York Times and the Jackson Citizen Patriot) are located at 5690 Hines Drive south of Ann Arbor. The company name is Ann Arbor Offset, and it is still owned by Advance Publications. The presses have been in operation since the fall of 2001, and there are around 50(?) employees there, many of whom used to be Ann Arbor News employees. As mentioned above, is a customer of Ann Arbor Offset, and they are operated as completely separate companies.


Thu, Jun 3, 2010 : 9:47 p.m.

Glad to see it won't sit empty. Although it would have made for a much nicer Police Station than that tin box debacle currently under construction!


Thu, Jun 3, 2010 : 4:40 p.m.

I saved my paper bags back from when I delivered the snooze, which my wife despises by the way. I also ran across my old account book to keep track of payments a while back.what memories. They should decorate the interior with some classic old photos of Ann Arbor taken by photographers for the Ann Arbor News.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Jun 3, 2010 : 3:06 p.m.

Thanks, Paula! Good Night and Good Luck

Paula Gardner

Thu, Jun 3, 2010 : 2:50 p.m.

Sorry for the confusion. Here's the rundown: 340 E. Huron: Still has old presses, but they have not been used in several years. South State/Textile: The "new" printing plant where is printed, along with other publications.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Jun 3, 2010 : 2:45 p.m.

@Paula: You wrote: "So the presses inside the building have been inactive for some time." Is a mis-print or a typo? You say below this that the print version of is printed there, and it is my understanding that the New York Times for SE Michigan is printed there, as well. Thanks! Good Night and Good Luck

Sven Gustafson

Thu, Jun 3, 2010 : 2:35 p.m.

Dang! There goes my dream of converting this into a corporate chain-style restaurant called "The Newsroom Grill" with waiters who wear lots of flair and crisp white "Press" cards tucked in their fedoras.

Paula Gardner

Thu, Jun 3, 2010 : 2:34 p.m.

The Ann Arbor News built a new printing facility in Pittsfield Township several years ago - I'm guessing around 2001 (I wasn't with the company at the time). So the presses inside the building have been inactive for some time. The printing facility - northeast of State and Textile roads - is visible from State. It remains owned by the parent company and that is where is printed, but we're considered a customer of the facility. We do not operate it.


Thu, Jun 3, 2010 : 2:33 p.m.

A great outome for everyone - - the credit union, our downtown, and the taxpayers! It's nice to have some good news!


Thu, Jun 3, 2010 : 2:15 p.m.

What presses are used to print the paper edition of the Also the New York Times was printed by the Ann Arbor News presses prior to closing the building. Where is the NY Times printed now?


Thu, Jun 3, 2010 : 1:27 p.m.

University of Michigan Credit Union is NOT owned by U of M. As is the case with all credit unions, UMCU is owned by its members. The credit union will pay property taxes on this building just like does on its William St and Jackson Rd offices.

Paula Gardner

Thu, Jun 3, 2010 : 1:24 p.m.

I just added this to the story: Herald Publishing paid just short of $170,000 in property taxes on the building in 2009, according to city records. The credit union - affiliated with U-M but a separate non-profit - will pay property taxes.


Thu, Jun 3, 2010 : 1:21 p.m.

@RU4A2... No. The Credit Union, while affiliated with the University, is not a part of the University.


Thu, Jun 3, 2010 : 1:15 p.m.

Will this property be tax exempt as other UofM properties?

Phil Dokas

Thu, Jun 3, 2010 : 1:06 p.m.

Yeah, I'll be very interested to hear what becomes of those presses in the bottom floor. Glad to hear the building's going to be occupied again though!


Thu, Jun 3, 2010 : 12:56 p.m.

Maybe they'll find use for the printing presses...; )