Ann & Fifth Ave.

Stopped. Watched. icon

New house almost finished at former site of the Bessenberg Bindery, north of the Armory. Agree with planning commission and historic district commission – a front porch would have been nice. [photo] [photo of bindery from 2011]

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  1. April 4, 2013 at 9:25 pm | permalink

    Did they forget to put on a front door?

  2. By Barbara
    April 5, 2013 at 7:56 am | permalink

    The Bindery was a little gem. The new house is a future teardown.

  3. By Andy
    April 5, 2013 at 2:51 pm | permalink

    An atrocity.

  4. By Timothy Durham
    April 6, 2013 at 10:50 am | permalink

    Very odd that the main floor seems to be exactly at grade. Hope there’s no water main break! The other properties on the street have the main floor popped up a few feet. This, and the lack of a front door, makes the front fenestration look bizarre. Who’s the builder? Clearly there was no architect involved. At least the builder attempted to integrate with the surroundings, so props for that.

    It’s close to being a nice (if huge) house.. Pop it up three feet and replace one of those main floor front windows with a front door and porch…

  5. By Mary Morgan
    April 6, 2013 at 11:51 am | permalink

    The architect is Dick Mitchell of Mitchell & Mouat. You can read more about the design and the reaction of planning commissioners in this Chronicle report from the planning commission’s March 15, 2011 meeting, when they gave approval to the site plan (search for the section “215 N. Fifth: House at Former Bindery Site”): [link]

    Here’s an excerpt:

    Noting that it’s not in the planning commission’s purview, Erica Briggs said she felt compelled to weigh in with her frustration over the building’s design. The inward-focused design reflects a lack of desire to be pedestrian-oriented. In thinking of the city’s long-term goals, it seems likely that Fifth Avenue will have traffic-calming measures at some point. It’s frustrating that the house doesn’t include “eyes on the street” in some capacity. The design seems very insulated, and it’s not necessary to be that way, she said.

    Because the site is in the Old Fourth Ward historic district, the site plan also was reviewed by the city’s historic district commission, which issued a certificate of appropriateness for it.

  6. April 6, 2013 at 7:13 pm | permalink

    Isn’t that the architect for the city hall addition, or am I confused?

  7. By Mary Morgan
    April 6, 2013 at 7:37 pm | permalink

    Re. “Isn’t that the architect for the city hall addition…”

    Quinn Evans Architects worked on the Justice Center/city hall renovations. Dick Mitchell has worked on a variety of other high-profile projects, however, including the Fourth & Washington parking structure and preliminary designs for the Fuller Road Station. Last month he also was appointed to the downtown design guidelines task force, which will review and make recommendations regarding improvements to the design review process.

    Both Quinn Evans and Mitchell & Mouat have other connections to city government. Ken Clein, a principal with Quinn Evans, serves on the city’s planning commission. John Mouat, a partner with Mitchell & Mouat, is a member of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board.

  8. April 6, 2013 at 7:49 pm | permalink

    I think the Fourth and Washington structure is our very nicest. Thanks for clarifying that.