AnnArbor.com’s Paula Gardner describes a problem most Michigan cities would love to have:
But it also begs the question posed by developer Ed Shaffran: “Where are you going to find 100,000 square feet?”
AnnArbor.com reader Bernie P. had an idea:
Brownfield @ Broadway / Maiden Lane – COULD BE purpose built for a Barracuda campus to hold 500 people with parking, shopping, etc, etc.
Bonus is that it is within walking distance of AATA stops from the park & ride at Plymouth / US23.
As I already wrote in response to his comment: I could not agree more.
Before I moved out near Arborland, I lived off Maiden Lane on the north side right next to the huge abandoned brownfield at the corner of Broadway and Maiden Lane. Surrounded by chain link fence, the property has reverted to prairie and looks like something you’d see in Detroit, not Ann Arbor.
Lower Town is probably the most blighted part of Ann Arbor. The student ghetto is blighted too, but at least has a high population density; Lower Town, largely divided between unkempt university parking lots and the property I’m writing about, just feels empty. It’s a puzzling failure of land use, since it includes ample parkland along the Huron River and sits in the heart of the city, smack in between the prime real estate of Kerrytown and the University’s sprawling North Campus.
As I noted in my comment responding to Bernie P., the site has a number of advantages for a corporate campus of some size. It would presumably be much cheaper than downtown real estate, while offering access to the river and, as he noted, AATA’s #2 bus. The biggest problem would probably be opposition from homeowners on Broadway, but steps could be taken to minimize adverse impacts on their neighborhood. And the most immediate neighbors on the other three sides of the site are either commercial, rental housing, or university parking. It’s not quite as glamorous as downtown, but certainly better than developing on the city’s outskirts. And providing space for employee parking would be infinitely easier than downtown.
Am I missing something? Anybody know why this site has been idle for so long, besides the lousy real estate market?