New infill developments, higher density in Ann Arbor

While I complained a couple of weeks ago about NIMBYism stalling high-density development in Ann Arbor, I have to admit that Ann Arbor seems to be buzzing with construction plans right now.  There’s the student high-rise currently under construction at 601 Forest, at the edge of the South University corridor.  Another apartment complex is slated for a space that looks to be right behind or next to the Panera on Plymouth west of Murfin:

(Existing) loft-style apartments (at the site) filled up quickly when they became available last spring, and currently maintain 100 percent occupancy at rates from $900 to $2,200 per unit…

“(I)t’s quite feasible that we could start construction between August and October,” says (architect Damian) Farrell.

“With a 10- to 12-month construction period, it could be available to rent sometime mid- to late summer next year.”

This is good infill development along a major bus line, adjacent to a lot of restaurants, and most importantly, right across the street from UM’s North Campus.

Finally, there’s the Packard Square development proposed in the former Georgetown Mall which I discussed in a post a couple of months ago.  According to the Ann Arbor Chronicle, the developer Craig Schubiner’s “ideal construction timeline will be… to start in August and finish by the end of 2012 or early 2013.”  The city planning board peppered him with complaints, including this bit that caught my eye:

Schubiner acknowledged the size of the plaza was a compromise based on the need to include adequate parking spaces for the retail aspects of the project.

Minimum parking requirements strike again!  was my initial reaction.  In fact, however,  it seems the planning commissioners sensibly pushed the developer to minimize or avoid free parking.  One would think it would be possible to coordinate with AATA to increase service on the Packard route that runs by the proposed development.  (Packard is also one of the more bikable roads in the city.)

Add in Zaragon Place II downtown on William St., also under construction, and you have at least four large new multi-unit developments on the market, all either downtown or located on major bus lines, set to significantly boost Ann Arbor’s density within the next two years.  Most encouraging is that each of these are infill projects, planted in already-developed parts relatively close to the city’s core, rather than sprawl spilling over into the cornfields and forests on the city’s edges.

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4 responses to “New infill developments, higher density in Ann Arbor

  1. I think there is a plan to start construction of a large-ish apartment building across from the Blind Pig.

    • I assume this is different from the development proposed at 415 W. Washington? The Chronicle described the latter as a “greenway park and arts center.”

  2. The 415 W. Washington property is the old Washtenaw County Roads Commission Building that is across the street from the Y. I *think* it’s a city building now. Regardless, it has seen better days. There is a proposal to turn it and its substantial dirt parking lot into an art center and park, respectively. There is a “greenway movement” that wants to create a series of parks along the Ann Arbor Railroad line. http://www.aagreenway.org/

  3. The project “across from the blind pig”, yes, is distinct from 415 W. Washington. Property used to be a short parking deck (apocryphally the country’s first municipal parking deck?), torn down a couple years back (2006?), and an RFP issued for developers to build a new parking deck, to be purchased by the city, capped by a few stories of residential use.

    I haven’t followed too closely lately, but the project is “City Apartments” by developer “Village Green”. Sorry, too lazy to html, but:

    * ArborUpdate has archived the developer responses to the 2006 rfp: http://arborupdate.com/article/1319/first-washington-redevelopment-proposals
    * From the Chronicle, it looks like the project is actively moving forward, as of February: http://annarborchronicle.com/2011/02/04/dda-oks-village-green-amendment/ , http://annarborchronicle.com/2011/02/10/marijuana-law-stalls-future-projects-okd/

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