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Posted on Fri, Sep 25, 2009 : 6:12 p.m.

List of those who came to Ann Arbor today includes major hotel developers

By Ryan J. Stanton

A total of 43 people penned their names on the sign-in sheet at today's pre-proposal meeting for development of the "Library Lot" in downtown Ann Arbor.

They're now the only people who can submit proposals.

The city is asking for creative ideas for private development atop the underground parking structure being built along South Fifth Avenue and proposals are due by Nov. 13, city officials told developers in the audience today.

As previously reported, the list of potential submitters includes everyone from Ann Arbor business consultant Fritz Seyferth, who is representing a group of New York investors proposing a hotel and conference center plan, to a group called the Ann Arbor Committee for the Commons, which prefers creating an open park space.

Seyferth was joined today by associates of Valiant Partners LLC, which included Bruce Zenkel, an investment banker and developer from New York, and Michael Bailkin, an attorney from New York.

Sitting nearby was Thomas Prins of Gemstone Resorts, a Park City, Utah, company that specializes in managing unique hotels and resorts, including a Ritz Carlton in Philadelphia, the Hotel SAX Chicago, the Mosaic Hotel in Beverly Hills and the Amber Hotel in Kansas City, Mo.

Ann Arbor real estate executive Bill Milliken Jr, son of former Michigan Gov. William Milliken Sr., also showed up at today's meeting representing a firm from Aurora, Colo., called the Modus Development Group. Milliken said the group has experience with hotel projects and is considering a hotel project that potentially ties in with a redevelopment of the neighboring downtown library.

"They asked me to be there as their eyes and ears," Milliken said. "They have been following the market for some time and they're interested. They have talked with me over the course of the last year about being active in this market, at this location or another location."

Milliken said the group is thinking broad, but he doesn't yet have specific information to share.

Also in attendance today was Ann Arbor developer Daniel Ketelaar of the Urban Group Development Co. Ketelaar, who is planning the 601 Forest student apartment complex, said he's been closely following talks surrounding the Library Lot.

"We're paying attention to it. We're not sure what we're going to do quite yet," he said. "We just wanted to see what was going on and who the participants were. There's a whole area that needs to be redeveloped for the city and it seems to me there needs to be a vision."

Mike Perry and Kathleen Ponitz of the Grand Rapids design firm Progressive AE penned their names on the list today. Perry said he attended the University of Michigan in the early 1980s and parked at the Library Lot many times when working at the old YMCA across the street. He said he's strongly considering a proposal that could include retail and commercial development.

"I really like the way the city has put the challenge out there," he said. "We are thinking about a proposal but, like anything, it takes a while to put the team together. What we were there for was to really find out more about the project and to decide who the best team is to put together."

Ed Shaffran of The Shaffran Companies Ltd. of Ann Arbor showed up today with Jeff Kraemer of The Raymond Group of Middleton, Wis., a collaboration of companies in the hospitality and real estate development industries. The Raymond Group has been looking to build hotels in Ann Arbor for some time.

Others in attendance included:

• Carl Luckenbach of Luckenbach Ziegelman Architects PLLC of Bloomfield Hills.

• Scott Krall of Blue Star Inc., a Warren firm specializing in demolition.

• Douglas Allen of Peter Allen & Associates, an Ann Arbor firm specializing in development brokerage and property management.

• Sandi Smith, a member of the Ann Arbor City Council.

• Josie Parker, director of the Ann Arbor District Library.

• Ken VanTine of the InForm Studio of Northville.

• Anthony Bango, vice president of pre-construction for
Skanska Building, which has offices in Southfield.

• Joe and Andrew O'Neal of O'Neal Construction of Ann Arbor.

• The Ann Arbor Committee for the Commons, which included Dana Barton, Alice Ralph, and Alan Haber.

• Mary Morgan, a writer from The Ann Arbor Chronicle.

• Patricia Garcia of the Ann Arbor Observer.

• Kathy Keinath of Perimeter Engineering LLC of Ann Arbor.

• Vivienne Armentrout, a former Washtenaw County commissioner.

• David Ong, Doug Smith and Joan Cleland of Acquest Development of Bloomfield Hills.

• Cindy Radecki of Lord, Aeck & Sargent Architecture of Ann Arbor.

• Bonnie Greenspoon of Lewis Greenspoon Architects of Ann Arbor.

• Joseph Maynard and Adrian Iraola of Park Avenue Consultants Inc.

• William Eddy of the General Equity Group of Ann Arbor.

• Tom Pallos, principal partner with Pallos Bernhard Fekete Herk architects and engineers of Birmingham.

• Tracy Wick and Joel Smith of Neumann Smith Architecture of Southfield.

• Mark Abanatha of Alexander V. Bogaerts & Associates PC of Bloomfield Hills.

• Campus Inn owner Dennis Dahlmann and Steven Zarnowitz of Dahlmann Properties of Ann Arbor.

• Bill Jarratt of Jarratt Architecture of South Lyon.

• Kristen Schleick of Hobbs & Black Architects in Ann Arbor.

• Brian Charlton of JJR LLC of Ann Arbor.

• Lux Contracting of Mount Clemens

Ryan Stanton covers government for Reach him at or 734-623-2529.



Sat, Sep 26, 2009 : 2:14 p.m.

"think it's great anybody would want to build in this economy," It would be great if they want to build with their own money, but developers for this site are banking on a large public subsidy in the form of land, parking, infrastructure, tax breaks etc. Yes, they will pay some property taxes, but any project like this has risks (like being a financial success in a bad economy) and the public, you and me, are taking the biggest risk of all... long term debt. If the project fails, guess who ends up holding the bag?

Ryan J. Stanton

Sat, Sep 26, 2009 : 9:46 a.m.

FYI-I inadvertently missed two names on the list. The story has been updated to state there are 43 people who penned their names, not 41.


Sat, Sep 26, 2009 : 9:35 a.m.

I think it's great anybody would want to build in this economy, I get so tired of people complaining about building and renewing property. If you don't like it buy the property, pay the taxes and do what you want with it. It's so easy to tell people what to so with there hard earned money.

David Cahill

Sat, Sep 26, 2009 : 6:58 a.m.

Wow - thanks for this list! Yes, Moose, "open and inclusive" would have been nice. But you won't have that under the current city administration.


Fri, Sep 25, 2009 : 9:37 p.m.

If only they had been open and inclusive from the start this thing might be proceeding without such mistrust and ill will.


Fri, Sep 25, 2009 : 8:37 p.m.

"The city is asking for creative ideas for private development atop the underground parking structure." The city is pretending to ask for input as it has all along, but its plans for a towering hotel/conference center were leaked long ago. Why else the need for several hundred more parking spaces?


Fri, Sep 25, 2009 : 7:12 p.m.

It's an impressive list of many experienced professionals... written proposals could prove to be interesting...