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Posted on Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 11:50 a.m.

More apartments for young professionals: 618 South Main project wins approval in Ann Arbor

By Ryan J. Stanton


Project architect Mike Siegel, left, and developer Dan Ketelaar hold up the latest rendering of 618 South Main at Monday night's Ann Arbor City Council meeting.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Ann Arbor developer Dan Ketelaar assures his newest apartment complex on South Main Street won't be geared toward University of Michigan students.

"This is not a student project. This is designed specifically for young professionals," he said just before the Ann Arbor City Council voted 8-2 to approve the project Monday night.

The complex, officially called 618 South Main, is expected to break ground by next spring, bringing 231 more bedrooms to downtown Ann Arbor.

Ketelaar's Urban Group Development Co. is planning to demolish two existing structures to construct a seven-story residential building containing 70 studio apartments, 70 one-bedroom units, 42 two-bedroom units, and 7 duplex units each containing one bedroom.

The project is located at the site of the former Fox Tent & Awning building, north of Mosley between Main and Ashley. The site plan calls for 121 underground parking spaces, 65 bicycle parking spaces, and pedestrian amenities along Main, Ashley and Mosley.


Dan Ketelaar

"The amenities are to appeal to a young professional group," Ketelaar said. "The apartments are small. We have large common areas so they can mingle, so they can get together and spend time together. We're trying to create a community here."

And just a two-block walk to the many downtown bars, shops, restaurants and offices that line Main Street, Ketelaar expects it to be a popular place.

The City Council voted 8-2 in two separate votes to approve the site plan and a brownfield plan that calls for channeling $3.7 million in tax revenues from the project back toward to the developer for eligible costs, including demolition, lead and asbestos abatement and infrastructure improvements.

Mike Anglin, D-5th Ward, and Stephen Kunselman, D-3rd Ward, were the only two to oppose the project and the brownfield plan. Sandi Smith, D-1st Ward, was absent.

Anglin shared some of the same concerns raised by Ann Arbor resident Rita Mitchell during a public hearing on the site plan.

They both pointed out the developer had requested a modification to allow greater building height — 85 feet compared to the maximum 60 feet allowed under D2 zoning — in exchange for creating a building setback along South Ashley Street.

With mostly one- and two-story buildings surrounding the development, they said, a seven-story building will create an out-of-character wall towering over the area.

In all, the project totals 153,133 square feet. An architect working on the project said it's a $40 million project overall, including about $25 million in building construction costs.

The building is expected to meet LEED Silver standards for energy efficiency and environmental design. Solar panels are proposed for the roof to help heat water.

Private open space is proposed on the west side of the building, consisting of an outdoor pool and pool deck, a pool house/rental room, two fire pits, three rain garden/bio-retention areas, landscaping areas and patio areas made of porous pavement.

The building is proposed to be set back five feet from Main Street. The building also steps back five feet above the third floor on each of the three frontages, and an additional 10 feet above the sixth floor along the Main Street frontage.

Barbara Hall spoke in support of the project on behalf of the Old West Side Association, saying the developer did a great job of working with the community to refine the design.

"The proposal gives Main Street an industrial facade while buffering the impact on the neighborhood with a large rain garden," she said.

"We see this new building as a gateway to downtown Ann Arbor," she added, expressing hopes that it will invigorate new and existing businesses.

Project architect Mike Siegel of Chicago-based VOA Associates said when the project started, the design team first explored options that conformed with the established zoning and 60-foot height limit. They weren't sure that was the most appropriate solution, though.


The site of 618 South Main at the northwest corner of Main and Mosley, also bordered to the west by Ashley Street.

Courtesy of city of Ann Arbor

"It's a rather dynamic site from one side to the other and somewhat of a transitional site, so we went to the planning staff and began to have some conversations about how we might deal with this issue," he said. "They suggested that if we developed a planned project proposal, that we would have some flexibility in the height and massing."

Siegel said the design team went back and developed three schemes and decided to go to the community for feedback.

He said the community guided the shifting of the massing from Ashley Street to Main Street, and requested additional parking. That led to an additional level of parking, which drove the height of the building up above the 60-foot limit.

"The community wanted an enhanced pedestrian experience on Main Street," he said. "We set the building back five feet to accommodate this."

He said the design team also took into consideration the suggestions of the city's Design Review Board, which led to other architectural improvements, including the development of a tower element on the corner of Main and Mosley.

"We are delighted to be at this point," Siegel told after the project was approved. "It was a great process. Collaborating with the community can be challenging at times, but in this case, they were very constructive and we listened and responded."

Added Siegel, "We hope to have local HUD funding approval at the end of the month, and for it to go in for its federal approval and go in for a building permit sometime before the end of the year, and maybe start construction in the spring if all goes well."

Ray Detter spoke in support of the project on behalf of the Downtown Area Citizens Advisory Council. He said he attended all four public meetings on the project and watched it take shape and become a well-designed building that can serve as a gateway to downtown.

Mayor John Hieftje said he was willing to overlook the deviation from D2 zoning limitations given that it came in response to requests made by the public. He said having more residents in the area will hopefully bring new customers to nearby businesses.

"It may mean that in the future we'll have to wait a little longer for an ice cream cone at Washtenaw Dairy, but it will still be worth it," he said.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.


Ron Granger

Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 1:52 p.m.

If only the city would enforce the current height restrictions. If only the city would stop squandering our tax income by crediting it back to wealthy developers.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 10:06 p.m.

Will some number of these apartments be set aside for subsidized or low income housing? I know that is required in many multi-unit developments but have not seen a discussion of that in this case. Perhaps that is the give-back to the city that some of us are wondering about?


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 4:15 p.m.

The building won't have trouble finding tenants if they sell the units at a reasonable price. I'm a young professional and was actually looking to buy a place downtown. The places that were for sale at the time, however, were either 100 year old buildings that needed a lot of work (=$$$) on top of the ridiculous asking price + the high Ann Arbor taxes, or condo units that were also for sale at ridiculous prices (read $300,000+). There were some less expensive units, but for 700 square feet, yeah, no. So unless you're well-advanced in your career, or have a high paying job, this quickly eliminated all hope of me ever possibly living downtown. I think this is the right step, but smaller apartments in favor of larger common areas? I don't think so. I also went to undergrad at UMich and have lived in my share of tiny @$$ rooms and sh*tty apartments. I want my space. Plus, having lived in a house with 11 other people, from my experience, people tend to not clean up after themselves if they can get away with it. I foresee higher association fees in order to keep these areas clean. Another expense to worry about on top of your regular payment. A pool and a garden area (size in reasonable moderation) does sound nice though.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 5:40 p.m.

considering most of the units are studio and 1 bedroom, I wouldn't hold much hope that they'll be bigger than the 700 square feet places you passed on before. I believe the article even quotes them as saying the would be small.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 1:56 p.m.

How does this relate to the Armen Cleaners PERC contamination across the street and in the street (not related to project Brownfield efforts)?


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 1:05 p.m.

I have a rental just by the corner of seventh and huron and try to rent to young professionals. All these new buildings are making it more and more difficult to find tenants. Some of us in these wonderful historical houses are not slumlords and have taken real good care of the houses! But because of all these new buildings, are making me have to drop prices dangerously low.....


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 4:01 a.m.

Would it be wrong to hope that these project go financially bust by Spring of next year? If not, I hope they lose all potential financial backing to save the integrity of the neighborhood from this nightmare of another monster building, the survival of Washtenaw Dairy, the drivers, walkers, biker from traffic hell, and mostly our city from more than enough housing for young professionals. From needless art projects to needless monster buildings the city council's decisions are wrong. Considering how insanely close the relationship that builders have with the city council is ....we should be prepared to vote them out.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 3:07 a.m.

The city will lose TIF only if the project is financially successful. Sufficient occupancy to produce enough revenue to pay taxes is not guaranteed and the relatively expensive units may not sell well. Ashley Terrace and one of our loft buildings were not financially successful and had to be sold for pennies on the dollar. Those secondary purchasers are now making money because they could have the leasing rates and still make money. The city does finally get TIF payments though much smaller than expected due to the mark down of valuation when these buildings were resold.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 2:03 p.m.

What's wrong with Ashley Terrace is that the inside and outside both are horribly designed and cheaply built. So the fact that it has performed poorly has little implication for projects which do, in fact, have a desirable design. Common-sense design standards and predictable design review would go a long way toward learning from the mistakes at Ashley Terrace.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 3 a.m.

Could this apartment complex actually deny tenancy to anyone who is not a "young professional"? I don't think that's legal. What if a family wanted to move in, or a single retiree or a professional couple? I think the project is too large for the neighborhood and will decrease the views and light for houses in the surrounding area. Who wants to stare at the back of an 85 foot building while sitting on a porch in a residential area? Developers are only in it to make money for themselves, not to improve the neighborhood. The developers don't live in the area, and are not affected by monster buildings in residential areas. They live in gated communities somewhere out in suburbia. Property values will decrease for single family homes that are adjacent to this oversized project.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 2:06 p.m.

It is not lawful to deny housing tenancy, except for seniors-only housing. Oh, and if you live in a house and work in a building, thank a developer. Also, Dan Ketelaar is a local.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 2:53 a.m.

The city council is deliberately destroying the city of Ann Arbor and its neighborhoods with its over abundance of apartments, close ties with builders, disregard for their own restrictions regarding heights, and total stupidity that the survival of this city, its tax base, future and survival is overpriced housing for the so-call young adult group. Where do you think these people will go when they have families? Building another yet another monstrosity of a building while disregarding the current glut of housing is ridiculous. They all deserve to be voted out of office.

Madeleine Borthwick

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 10:31 p.m.

Oh, Joy. just what this town needs. more high-priced housing. God forbid that there should be any more low-income housing!! Dear Me No! we don't want any more of THOSE people living in our fair city. To the developers of this "lovely" project: in case you didn't notice, Sarcasm is my second language. I'm very fluent in it. Have a nice day.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 6:42 p.m.

SO how many of the professinol poeple?doctors.educater make there living of /by the "LOW-INCOME persons/Vetreans/senior? really like ti see numbers!


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 1:59 a.m.

they are afraid that if had affordable housing then the snubs cant brag anymore.

Marvin Face

Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 1:17 a.m.



Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 10:15 p.m.

I'm a bit ambivalent, really. Aren't there a lot of new condos/apartments built that stand empty? Why will this one be any different?


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 8:55 p.m.

So, what happens to Affordable Vet. Are they going to have to move.. Thats the best Vet in Ann Arbor.

Madeleine Borthwick

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 10:49 p.m.

Paul....EXCELLENT QUESTION!!! Affordable Veterinary Services is where we take our 2 kitties and you can't do better. Bill McArthur and his staff are the best, bar none.

John Q

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 8:12 p.m.

One of these days, city officials and city residents will figure out that demanding more parking is doing the city and the neighborhoods a disfavor. The building could have had less of an impact on the views in the area without the demand for additional parking, which is almost twice what the city ordinances require. Adding more parking does nothing to address parking demand in the neighborhoods and encourages people to drive more, not less. Provide less parking and market the apartments to people who don't require a car because they work in the area and rely on transit or biking to work or can use a shared car service.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 6:39 p.m.

RENT a ZIp-CAR by the Hour in A2


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 1:55 p.m.

What about driving to the grocery store, shopping centers or any other errand? They cannot do any of this on foot or cycle.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 9:30 p.m.

Take it from someone who walks downtown regularly, most of us still do require cars and a parking space.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 9:06 p.m.

Good point!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 8:04 p.m.

The only issue I have is the $3.7M Brownfield money. To build the parking they are going to have to excavate really deep, so why do we care about any cleaning fluid in the dirt? It will all be gone with the dirt. Seems to me that we could use the money to hire more Public safety people.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 6:34 p.m.

BROWNFIELD ?? try Waterstreet in Ypsi..10 years and counting!

John Q

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 8:04 p.m.

Where are the comments from all the regulars who accuse the city of being anti-development?

Top Cat

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 7:43 p.m.

I hope the yuppies like the ambiance of the railroad and the lumber yard.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 12:24 a.m.

In the wee wee hours! Remember when the proper "ye olde westsiders" tried to get an exception to the whistle law? Hee Haw!


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 9:27 p.m.

Actually two per day. One northbound, then it returns to Toledo a few hours later.

John Q

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 8:03 p.m.

Yeah, that one train a day schedule is really disruptive.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 8 p.m.

lol/ post of the year!


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 7:40 p.m.

According to the Board of Realtors, there is a 3 to 5 year surplus of condos and townhouses in the Ann Arbor area. Recent condos and townhouse complexes in Downtown include the Ashley and Main building, the smaller Lofts off William and First, Ashley Mews off Main and Jefferson. The issue remains is too much supply and not enough demand. I am not against further development but this is not prudent. I do not know what supply data Ann Arbro City Council is looking at to justify this project. If they build it, they will not come in droves. It would take a few years to fill up these units. Either way, it's gonna be built.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 6:38 p.m.

IF you need a Car in A2 ZIP_CAR by the hour...


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 11:19 a.m.

Greenradish- the condo/apartment complexes named above were all built post 2004. We're not talking Tower Plaza or U-Towers, here. I also was not addressing a free market for sellers. The city should be aware of supply and demenad and does not imply regulation. Perhaps a four story builing instead of an eight story building would be more appropriate.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 8:35 p.m.

...Or the existing supply is undesirable. Condos are not interchangeable. Different strokes and all. So if people shouldn't build new condos until the old ones sell, do you think people who have a condo now shouldn't be able to sell either? It is a free market. Since when is it the city's business to regulate supply and demand? Go patrol the produce aisle and make sure the co-op's not buying so many strawberries that they expire on the shelf.

Gordon Chaffin

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 7:37 p.m.

As a Michigan alum and hopefully future AA resident (trying to get back to Michigan after grad school in DC), I welcome this project. There needs to be a balance between development and maintenance of historical neighborhoods--I'm not a fan of the student high-rise that took over the former Village Corner lot on South U. What I do know for sure, is that AA needs more housing geared towards young professionals. No, young professional is not a ruse--not a fake demographic created by developers. I want to live downtown, I want to be a part of the community, and I don't want to have to live in Ypsi and drive into town for work.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 6:37 p.m.

Time for the train to stop in all of michigan..move to Ypsi and you can do all your shopping on foot.postoffice. doctors. libary . beautyshops, fastfood ,drugstore, etc etc


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 1:56 a.m.

we need a balance of much more affordable housing.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 7:43 p.m.

Please tell a few hundred of your friends to move in as well because you may not have too many neighbors to begin with in that building.

Marvin Face

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 7:26 p.m.

Thanks everyone for weighing in. Unlike the rest of you, I live in this neighborhood. My neighbors and I love this development and welcome it with open arms. I have yet to talk to any of my neighbors who isnt 100% behind it. Start digging.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 9:11 p.m.

Sounds very reasonable to me, thanks for sharing.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 9:03 p.m.

Good points Marvin, I'm also in the neighborhood and think its ok, except a bit too high and wish they would save the big locust tree at Ivory Photo...

Marvin Face

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 8:57 p.m.

We've all lived with Fox Tent & Awning for a long time and never thought anything of it. a couple years ago, several in the neighborhood were talking during a block party and all realized that the property was really pretty ugly. Asphalt up to the sidewalk, rusty chain link fence, etc. We all shrugged because Fox was just part of the neighborhood. When it went up for sale, we talked again and envisioned something big and beautiful that would be a gateway to downtown and the neighborhood. we didnt want a real estate office or a bank but wanted lots more people to add to the already diverse mix in the neighborhood to keep it vibrant and add to the sidewalk activity in the area. When this project was proposed we all liked the look of the large windows, the Main St sidewalk edge, the setback from Ashley, etc. All good. Plus, with that many more poeple living nearby, perhaps a neighborhood grocery would be viable in the near future.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 8:23 p.m.

Marv, this is good info. Can you elaborate on why the neighborhood is behind the project?

C.C. Ingersoll

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 7:19 p.m.

2 full stories over the limit is a little bit much. I'm not 100% sure why they keep deciding to build condos right next to the train tracks where they run freight and blow the whistle at 4am in the morning. Good luck to them and to the project going up on South 1st St. though. The more condos they build the cheaper my rent gets in my 100 year old house.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 9:23 p.m.

That's funny. I highly doubt your rent has ever, or will ever go down.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 8:27 p.m.

There's this thing they invented after 1912: soundproof windows.

rusty shackelford

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 6:51 p.m.

Even the notoriously obnoxious and fickle OWSA approves of this development. Think about that for a second, and realize how unreasonable that means you have to be to oppose this project.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 9:46 p.m.

Please name one instance of the OWSA being notoriously obnoxious, or just plain obnoxious. Or just plain fickle. Just one will do.

Marvin Face

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 7:28 p.m.

Not only approved but came out and voiced support. This is a good project.

4 Fingers

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 6:49 p.m.

Hmm...I wonder if I can rent one out for my tailgating needs...

Linda Peck

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 6:25 p.m.

This is the building the Mayor told me personally earlier this spring that this building would probably not pass Council approval, in response to my question about this building specifically and its impact on the surrounding neighborhood.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 2:34 a.m.

This design may represent changes from earlier this Spring - the article talks about incorporating changes from the community.

Madeleine Borthwick

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 10:42 p.m. actually believed him?!

Alan Goldsmith

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 6:28 p.m.

And you actually BELIEVED him? Incredible!

Mike D.

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 6:22 p.m.

I am not particularly young, but I could see myself living here. Outdoor pool without screaming children? Sign me up! Now if they actually had enough parking, it would be a slam-dunk. 1 parking spot for every 2 bedrooms? Yeah, no.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 9:42 p.m.

I wonder if the parking spaces will be for rent separately from the apartment units or included with the rent for each unit. There may be renters who will not use a parking space. I too am not particularly young, but would be interested in this place if I would know I would have at least one guaranteed parking space included with my rent OR paid for separately. But an apt without parking? No way. Does anyone know how parking will be allocated? I know of places in Boston where the developer put in the required number of parking spaces and then rented them out to people not living in the complex! Or rented them to apt renters for nights and weekends only and to commuters to downtown on weekdays. It was a mess!


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 6:21 p.m.

Love it and am confident it will enhance downtown's density and vibrancy. Ann Arbor missed the real estate boom of the 90's and 2000s so I am in favor of trying to catch up.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 1:53 a.m.

Ann arbor needs liberal and liberate the cost living, its myth dangers crimes will fact try would then go down.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 8:24 p.m.

Growth does not have to equate with unsustainable growth. All i am saying is that i left town for 2 decades and came back and Packard road has not changed in 30 years and the building boom did not get to michigan like most places. Do you not favor the recent building over the last few years?


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 7:59 p.m.

Catch up in a race to the bottom, that is.

C.C. Ingersoll

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 7:26 p.m.

Um, you mean the unsustainable boom that left other cities like Seattle with vacant sky-rises and 70' holes in the ground on their version of Main St.? I'm not so sure I want to "catch up" with that. The guy that sells the land makes money, the guy that draws up the plans makes money, the guy that develops the property makes one moves in and another vacant 9 story eyesore dots the landscape. 111 North Ashley is only 5 blocks away, look how great they're doing 5+ years later. (not very)

Will Warner

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 6:16 p.m.

I'm ready to give up my acre and move downtown, but I've celebrated 20 anniversaries of my 39th birthday. I probably won't be comfortable in a place consciously targeted at young professionals. Any place for me?


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 11:47 a.m.

I'm sure it would be uncomfortable living near the people who will be paying your Social Security and Medicare. Awkward indeed -


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 6:03 p.m.

I feel all these new buildings are out of place relative to size, height and appearance relative to the surrounding community.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 1:51 a.m.

yea but ann Arbor wants to be the next new york city lol


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 5:46 p.m.

It's just as ugly as all the rest of them...and the "young professionals" angle is a just means older students, not the freshmen.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 11:46 a.m.

"Young professional" excludes the category of "student" altogether. Unless, of course, you consider yourself a young "professional student," which wouldn't necessarily be out of place in this town.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 5:34 p.m.

Ah to be young again...and considered a worthy tenant...if this place is getting all this "help" will there be low income rentals available? Or will the owners be able to restrict who is a tenant?


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 6:29 p.m.

YOU cannot discremenate in Housing..HMMMM brownfield ? So how depth is the sinkhole? THe city of Birmingham tried years ago and had to move "low-INCOME" VETREANS IN. The only thing LOW is the System making it more and more lower and lower >please thank the VETREANS for YOUR FREEDOM>..

Madeleine Borthwick

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 10:39 p.m.

djm, are you kidding me? low-income rentals on main street? NOT A CHANCE.

C.C. Ingersoll

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 7:32 p.m.

Technically -- the more 'upscale' places they build for the students the more the landlords with older houses have to lower their rent. I'm paying $650 on Ashley for a place I'm pretty sure rented for $900+ in the 1990's To answer your question though, they don't have to 'restrict' anyone from moving in: Making sure that renters pay a 1-1/2 month security deposit, 1st months rent, last months rent (which only includes you living there for 2 weeks) pretty much ensures that someone that doesn't have $5,000 on move-in isn't even getting an interview after the 'credit check'

Tex Treeder

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 5:31 p.m.

Yet another monstrosity building, changing downtown Ann Arbor into downtown Anytown. Why bother having height restrictions if you're just going to waive them?


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 6:25 p.m.

Disagree RE: changing downtown AA into downtown Anytown. First, this isn't really in the downtown district...second, it provides much needed "young professional" housing on the edge of downtown, and actually looks to have some architectural detail...not just some plain box like The Varsity. Not every new building in AA has to look the same...or be a "signature" building defining the skyline. Peronally, I think some of the blah buildings that are in the south Main st. area right now are more indicative of downtown Anytown. Agree RE: height restrictions. Why have them if you're just going to end up waiving them?


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 5:11 p.m.

City council is doing a great job at ruining this city. Height restrictions (like they have in Boulder, CO) should have been put in place a long time ago! Think it's time elect someone who actually cares about what's built in this city.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 9:18 p.m.

There is a height restriction for this neighborhood. But as you can see, if you grease enough palms, know the right people, and most importantly have enough money, zoning restrictions become a minor bump in the road. Remember, zoning is for the little people.

C.C. Ingersoll

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 7:34 p.m.

And replace them with a grand view of a 9 story taupe, ivory, and brown highrise? No thanks RS.

rusty shackelford

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 6:01 p.m.

Got to make sure no one blocks all those gorgeous views of the mountains in A2. Wait..


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 5:04 p.m.

Sounds like the Washtenaw Dairy will probably be losing parking spots on those summer days and evenings when they are busy. Plus besides viewing quaint old two story homes in the neighborhood, ice cream lovers will be able to take in the magnificant view of an 85 foot tall building. Sounds like yet another step towards connecting Michigan Stadium with downtown.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 8:22 p.m.

Yeah, but if customers have to walk a whole extra block to get their ice cream, they can take in even more quaint old homes and burn a few calories to boot. Win!

David Waligora

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 5:58 p.m.

This is the natural progression of cities!


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 4:54 p.m.

TIFF money is money we argue about. TIF money is tax increment financing. The brownfield money is both TIFF and TIF. . . ; )


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 4:49 p.m.

"Shouldn't we get an additional something in exchange for the brownfield funding?" Come on, Jack, it's TIFF money. It gets paid back in the form of future tax revenue. And, how about that future tax revenue from the new improvements? This substantial amount far exceeds "additional something," you seem to wish for. This is an OWS-approved project. How about that?

Jack Eaton

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 4:26 p.m.

Let me get this straight. The developer wanted permission for a major departure from the zoning restrictions. In exchange for allowing an 85 foot building in a zoning district that allows 60 feet, the City gave the developer $3.7 million in brownfield funding? Who is doing the negotiating on behalf of the City? This seems like a one-sided deal to me. Shouldn't the City get something of value in exchange for letting developers depart from zoning requirements? Shouldn't we get an additional something in exchange for the brownfield funding?


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 11:44 a.m.

The zoning requirements are not the Ten Commandments. It should not require the extraction of a pound of flesh to get this thing started.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 7:30 p.m.

I believe the residents asked for the additional level of parking - to avoid parking nightmares on the side streets. Wise move.

David Waligora

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 5:56 p.m.

I would imagine the commercial district downtown would get a big boost from this development. The natural progression of medium to large cities is up. Every area can't be a historic district, with the right logical reasoning any zoning law can be amended/"varianced". That's what the ZBA is for.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 4:26 p.m.

Please save the big locusts tree at Ivory Photo...

Madeleine Borthwick

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 10:34 p.m.

uabchris, the powers-that-be could not care less about the trees in this town, I'm sorry to say...

Wolf's Bane

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 4:16 p.m.

The location is awesome, but the building needs work. A private pool area? Really? With the Y and countless other pools being located within the area? Odd duck.

Wolf's Bane

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 11:15 p.m.

woah, lots of swimmers out there, huh?


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 4:10 p.m.

Can't these apartments also appeal to people who feel "young at heart" but aren't necessarily "young" any more?


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 11:43 a.m.

No; those are called "independent living facilities."

Billy Bob Schwartz

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 11:23 p.m.

Lots of retirees are one or two person families.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 6:28 p.m.

By 'young professional' they usually mean it's great for 1-2 people but not enough space for most families.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 4:05 p.m.

I don't know but this seems so out of place and over powering for that neighborhood.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 9:33 p.m.

Just wait, the developer and the city are planning on reducing the driving lanes on Main St. down to 1 each way (from 2 each way) with a left turn lane. What with the hundreds of extra new residents and future growth, Main St. will be a parking lot during rush hour, along with all the air pollution that comes with stop and go traffic.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 8:18 p.m.

OK, so run for mayor on an "I'm scared of tall buildings" platform.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 8:04 p.m.

You cannot "run" for planning commission. Members of the Planning Commission are nominated by the Mayor and approved by the council. And they are only nominated by the Mayor if they agree with everything he says.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 4:12 p.m.

So run for planning commission.