Council OKs Village Green Extension

At its Aug. 4, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council voted again to extend the purchase option agreement with Village Green on the city-owned First and Washington site, where the developer plans to build Ann Arbor City Apartments. It’s a 9-story, 99-foot-tall building with 156 dwelling units, which includes a 244-space parking deck on its first two stories.

The delay in the land deal – which was originally $3.3 million and reduced by the council at its June 6 meeting to $3.2 million – means that the city’s contingency plan (for the failure of anticipated revenue from the sale to materialize in a timely way) will need to be exercised.

Of the purchase price, $3 million was part of the city of Ann Arbor’s financing plan for the new municipal center, which is currently in the final stages of construction. According to the staff memo accompanying the Aug. 4 purchase option extension, the city council will likely be asked at its Aug. 15 meeting to approve a short-term loan to cover the municipal building construction costs that would have otherwise been covered by the purchase of the land. At a city council work session in April 2010, the contingency plan of taking out a short-term loan – costing $150,000 – had caught the eye of Sandi Smith (Ward 1), who questioned the item in the budget planning for that year.

The additional extension approved Aug. 4 is through Nov. 3, 2011, and comes at a cost of a $50,000 non-refundable payment by Village Green to the city. The extension approved by the council also allows an additional 30-day extension – to Dec. 3, 2011 – to be made by the city administrator in exchange for an additional $50,000 non-refundable payment.

At the council’s July 18 meeting, interim city administrator Tom Crawford had given the city council a heads up that an additional extension to the purchase option agreement would likely be necessary.

The timeline revised by the council at its Aug. 4 meeting was put in place on Aug. 5, 2010 – when the city council approved an extension that called for Village Green to purchase the land by June 1, 2011. However, that deadline was subject to an extension of 90 days by the city administrator – an option which Crawford then exercised.

The parking deck portion of the project is being developed in cooperation with the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority, which has pledged to make payments on around $9 million worth of bonds, after the structure is completed and has been issued a permit for occupancy.

According to the staff memo accompanying the Aug. 4 resolution, Village Green still hopes to break ground on the project this construction season.

In a separate item, the council authorized an increase in the contract to $60,000 (previously authorized up to $25,000) with James C. Adams of Ufer & Spaniola, P.C. for legal consulting in connection with the City Apartments/First and Washington parking structure project. The city is to be reimbursed by Village Green for the cost of this legal work.

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]