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Posted on Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Village Green breaking ground on new downtown Ann Arbor apartments catering to young professionals

By Ryan J. Stanton

A groundbreaking is planned this week for the long-awaited Ann Arbor City Apartments project at the corner of First and Washington downtown.

Camille Amiri, public relations manager for Farmington Hills-based developer Village Green, relayed the news via email that the project is moving ahead.

Representatives of the development team, the city of Ann Arbor and the Downtown Development Authority are expected to be on hand for the 10 a.m. event on Thursday. The city and DDA are partnering with Village Green on the project.

"We're pretty excited," said Tom Crawford, the city's chief financial officer, who said the closing on the property is expected to go through this week.


A look at part of the flier promoting the groundbreaking of Ann Arbor City Apartments just west of Main Street downtown.

"They're ready to get going," he said. "Their groundbreaking is them starting. Over the next month or two, it's my understanding you'll start seeing them mobilize and do work."

Village Green plans to construct a 155-unit apartment building, rising 104 feet into the downtown skyline. In addition to apartments, the project includes a 244-space parking garage to be owned by the city and managed by the DDA.

The Ann Arbor City Council agreed in October 2010 to authorize up to $9 million in general obligation bonds to help pay for the parking structure. Of the 244 spaces planned, about 72 are expected to be held for residents, leaving 172 spaces for the general public.

The $3.2 million deal to sell the 0.57 acres of city-owned land to Village Green has been in the works for years. City officials have been counting on using that money to help finance the recently completed Ann Arbor Municipal Center project.

With a mix of 45 studios, 71 one-bedroom units and 39 two-bedroom units, the new apartments are likely to cater more to young professionals.

That marks a notable change, as other housing developments built or proposed in the downtown in recent years have catered mostly to University of Michigan students, such as Zaragon Place, 411 Lofts, The Varsity and the controversial City Place apartments.

"They really have a nice market they're looking for," Crawford said. "It's not designed to be a student place with a lot of bedrooms off of one common area."

Crawford noted 10 percent of the project — or 16 units in total — will be affordable housing units, which he called "exciting because we haven't had many of those constructed downtown." He said he isn't sure what the monthly rents will be, though.

A representative of Village Green could not be reached for comment.

Because of the grade, the number of above-ground floors in the project fluctuates depending on where one stands. The height varies from around 8.5 stories above grade at the northeast corner to 10 stories above grade at the southwest corner, said City Planner Jeff Kahan.

The building is nine stories at the main entrance at the corner of First and Washington, which is the northwest corner of the building. Counting the portion of the project that's below grade, it includes a total of four floors of parking and seven floors of housing.

The first part that's going to be built is the parking deck, Crawford said. That'll take roughly a year to complete, and then the apartments will follow.

"But the deck will be open during the time they're building the apartments, so it'll be about a year before the deck is ready," he said.

Crawford said the project includes a number of environmentally friendly elements and the developer plans to use local contractors.

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.


Mike D.

Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 10:27 p.m.

Developers will never learn. One of the main reasons young professions were slow to buy in Ashley Mews was the lack of parking spots. If I have the money to buy or rent downtown, chances are I want a car for commuting to work and/or errands. Ashley Mews at least had 1 spot per unit. 1/2 a spot per unit is absurd. Good luck filling half those units with people willing to hunt for public spots (or walk 3-4 blocks to the new library lot) and the other half with couples that share a car. What do these developers think we do? Fly around on brooms? Just because we're liberal wingnuts doesn't mean we don't drive!


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 3:34 p.m.

Parking garage will be owned by the city and managed by the dda. Nothing like owning something that someone else gets the profits for. Kinda defeats the purpose


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 6:36 p.m.

Assuming that the dda is "someone else". The Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority was formed by the City of Ann Arbor.

hut hut

Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 3:38 p.m.

Don't forget that the City leans on the DDA to cough up increasing $$ for running those structures.

hut hut

Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 2:26 p.m.

I welcome new residents, young or old, to the city.

hut hut

Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 2:25 p.m.

Crawford is banking on that $3 mill to make good on his budget promises built on... air? The CFO position was created by Fraser to be a buffer between him and council. Crawford was someone Fraser could blame when the budget legerdemain gets discovered. Fraser needed those bloated managers between himself and those he served so he could have people to blame. Now that his mentor, Fraser, is gone do we really need a CFO or Crawford?


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 2:14 p.m.

The way to make affordable downtown housing is to "Build baby build"! If housing was more plentiful, rates go down so get on the band wagon and encourage investors to build in downtown Ann Arbor!

Mike D.

Tue, Jan 24, 2012 : 1:48 a.m.

Infrastructure costs per person go down with increased population density. More people downtown mean cheaper per capita infrastructure costs for all of us. It's also more sustainable, because less energy is used. The reasons are simple: less distance for utilities to travel and lower heating and cooling load per person in multi-unit buildings.


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 9:02 p.m.

hut hut: No, those investors pay increased real estate and personal property taxes on greatly improved properties that, in return, pay for the city's infrastructure. A 10 story apartment building assesses at a much higher value than a city-owned surface parking lot ($0). Anyhow, the infrastructure downtown is intended for dense use, and is underused as parking.

hut hut

Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 3:43 p.m.

And the public infrastructure would cost more to build and maintain to serve those buildings and their residents. Utilities, roads, Police and Fire, City landfill, garbage pickup... etc. all cost money. The infrastructure that developers and their investors seek costs money. Tax money. Those investors gain while the public pays the price of their entry.

Silly Sally

Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 1:52 p.m.

One parking spot for every two apartments? This seems great for the surrounding neighbors. I'm glad that I'm not one! Oh- they'll ride their bikes.

Peter Baker

Tue, Jan 24, 2012 : 5:23 a.m.

"Oh- they'll ride their bikes." They just might.

Emma B

Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 1:35 p.m.

Well I find this fairly exciting, but then again, I am the definition of a young professional.

Homeland Conspiracy

Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 1:17 p.m.

young professionals...There goes the neighborhood lol

Townie John

Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 12:37 p.m.

Hopefully they construction plans are more accurate than their flyer as they have the building location indicated as between Washington and Huron instead of between Liberty and Washington.

Mike D.

Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 10:20 p.m.

They have it on the wrong place on their flyer. Someone might want to tell them before they start digging in the parking lot across the street from the intended location.

Ryan J. Stanton

Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 5:11 p.m.

Thanks, I just fixed the sentence. It should have stated the building is nine stories at the main entrance at the corner of First and Washington, which is the northwest corner of the building.


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 2:07 p.m.

The flyer says one thing (northeast corner), this article says another... "The building is nine stories at the main entrance at the northwest corner of First and Washington." ...and then there's the truth (southeast corner).

Alan Goldsmith

Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 11:50 a.m.

"Crawford noted 10 percent of the project — or 16 units in total — will be affordable housing units, which he called "exciting because we haven't had many of those constructed downtown." He said he isn't sure what the monthly rents will be, though." Clueless. Not sure what the rents will be for the 'affordable' housing? But you ARE sure about the $3 Million looted off the top from the land sale going towards the new City Building? Uh huh.


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 3:23 p.m.

&quot;Not sure what the rents will be for the 'affordable' housing?&quot; To qualify as 'affordable housing', the monthly housing costs, including rent and utilities, can not exceed the 'Fair Market Rent' (FMR), which is &quot;calculated annually by HUD through census data, rents and annual phone surveys. HUD uses this data to calculate the 40th percentile rent for the distribution of two-bedroom units occupied by recent movers.&quot; <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Unless you have a method for predicting HUD's calculation of FMR when the project is completed and open to the public, I think it's understandable why Crawford is &quot;not sure&quot; about rental rates for the project.