Approval of changes to the Packard Square project – which is proposed to redevelop the former Georgetown Mall – has now been given by the Ann Arbor city council. The site plan – given original approval on May 2, 2011 – calls for demolition of the existing buildings, and construction of a mixed-use development consisting of 23,858 square feet of retail, up to 230 apartment units, and structured parking.
The changes, given approval by the council at its Jan. 7, 2013 meeting, alter the facade of the building by reducing the number of balconies by one-third, replacing some brick with Hardi-board siding, changing windows, and changing the color of the siding. The council’s approval came after postponing the matter a month ago, on Dec. 3, 2012.
Part of the council’s reluctance to give its approval was based on aesthetic dissatisfaction with the changes as reflected in the revised renderings. The renderings showing the changes were not given the same amount of attention to detail as the original drawings – with respect to shading to show depth, for example – which left some councilmembers to conclude that the development looked “flat” and dormitory-like. Councilmembers at the Dec. 3 meeting also gave the new color scheme an unfavorable review.
Responding to the specific request of the council to provide drawings on which they could make “apples-to-apples” comparisons, the developer of the project submitted 3D sketches. [.jpg with original color-scheme for Packard Square] [.jpg with revised color-scheme for Packard Square]
The changes to the building that the council was asked to approve were motivated by a change to the upper level residential portion of the Packard Road facade. It was moved 10 feet to the east to make it line up with the front stairwells. That also increased the footprint of the building by 4,720 square feet.
This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]