Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board meeting (Jan. 8, 2014): In a meeting that lasted just 40 minutes, the DDA board handled two substantive items of business: funding for design work of a new parking structure elevator; and extension options for monthly parking permits associated with a planned new residential development.
The elevator in question is located at the southwest corner of the Fourth & William parking structure. The 994-space capacity makes it the largest structure in Ann Arbor’s public parking system, which offers around 8,000 parking spaces in lots, structures and on-street, metered parking.
The elevator is at least 30 years old, and was characterized at the meeting by DDA executive director Susan Pollay as one of the slowest in the Ann Arbor area, and the frequent subject of parking patron complaints. A trip from street level to floor 7 was timed by The Chronicle at about 45 seconds. That compares to 17 seconds for a similar trip on the elevator at Fourth & Washington, which is the DDA’s second-newest structure.
The board’s Jan. 8 resolution authorized $40,000 for Carl Walker Inc. to develop architectural renderings for the work at the Fourth & William parking structure. Carl Walker is the consulting firm used by the DDA for its routine maintenance inspection program for the parking structures. The design is supposed to allow for phased construction so that the parking structure could remain open during the construction period, which would not begin before next winter. The estimated construction cost for the project is $2.25 million.
In its other main business item, the board voted to allow the developer of the future 624 Church St. project in downtown Ann Arbor to extend for up to 15 years – for a total of 30 years – the contracts for 48 already-approved parking permits under the city’s contribution-in-lieu (CIL) program. At its meeting on Nov. 6, 2013, the DDA board had already approved the purchase of 48 parking permits through that CIL program for a new version of the proposed residential development at 624 Church St. in downtown Ann Arbor.
The spaces were approved to be provided in the Forest Avenue parking structure. The DDA board’s Jan. 8 resolution indicated that for the extension periods, the DDA might choose to allocate the spaces in some other structure than the Forest facility.
In an update at the meeting also related to parking, city administrator Steve Powers said that the surface parking lot at the former Y site would need to be closed no later than March, due to the sale of the city-owned property to Dennis Dahlmann. The property is located on the north side of William Street, between Fourth and Fifth avenues near the Blake Transit Center and downtown library.
The board also received an update on its initiative to pay for downtown ambassadors. And board members were alerted to the upcoming Jan. 13 city council work session about economic development.