Two Projects File Plans For Design Review

Proposals for residential buildings in downtown Ann Arbor – including a 14-story building at the northeast corner of Huron and Division – were filed with the city’s planning unit on Sept. 26 for consideration by the design review board.

The 27-page proposal for 413 E. Huron calls for 213 apartments, about 3,000-square-feet of street-level retail space, and 163 on-site underground parking spaces. [.pdf of 413 E. Huron proposal to the design review board] The complex would consist of two main towers and an “inset upper level garden and pool courtyard,” according to the proposal. [.pdf of site rendering] The project would target young professionals, graduate students and upper classmen, with apartment sizes ranging from one to four bedrooms. The building is designed to conform with D1 zoning, the city’s densest zoning district. No variances are required. The site’s owner is listed as Ann Arbor Green Property Owner LLC out of Norwalk, Connecticut, with Carter USA of Atlanta, Georgia listed as the developer. [.jpg of proposed 413 E. Huron project ]

Another 14-story project that was filed for design review is located at 624 Church Street, next to Pizza House. Dennis Tice, owner of Pizza House, is listed as one of the developers, along with 624 Partners LLC and Opus Group of Minnetonka, Minnesota. [.pdf of 624 Church Street proposal] When the Pizza House expanded in 2006, the project included foundations that would allow for a taller building to eventually be constructed. The new project would demolish an existing two-story house located south of the restaurant, replacing it with a 14-story building over the southern portion of the Pizza House restaurant and above the former house and loading zone area. The design by local architect Brad Moore would include a rooftop plaza and garden. [.jpg of proposed 624 Church Street project]

All of the required parking for the 624 Church Street project – about 40 spaces – is proposed to be provided offsite through the “contribution in lieu” of parking program, which the city council authorized on April 2, 2012. That program allows essentially two options: (1) purchase monthly parking permits in the public parking system for an extra 20% of the current rate for such permits, with a commitment of 15 years; or (2) make a lump sum payment of $55,000 per space.

The city’s public parking system is managed by the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority.

At the Sept. 26 meeting of the DDA’s operations committee, the development team for 624 Church Street pitched the parking proposal to the committee. Given the added capacity in the public parking system resulting from the construction of the new underground parking garage – Library Lane, which offers over 700 spaces – committee members were generally positively inclined to making an arrangement for 40 permits somewhere in the parking system. But they were not willing to commit at this point to offering spaces in the Forest parking structure, which is the closest parking facility to the project.

The design review board is a relatively new entity, formed in mid-2011 to evaluate and give input to developers about the city’s design guidelines, which were adopted in early 2011. The group meets on the third Wednesday of each month, as needed, which would make the next possible meeting Oct. 17. The city’s Legistar calendar system does not yet indicate that any additional meetings are scheduled this year.


  1. September 26, 2012 at 8:22 pm | permalink

    Is 14 stories the tallest you can build in the D1 zoning without triggering a need for variances?

  2. September 26, 2012 at 8:48 pm | permalink

    Re: [1] Height limits are defined in terms of feet. For D1 it’s 180 feet. But when the downtown zoning was revised under the A2D2 process, the result was that a bit of the north side of Huron Street (which includes the site for the E. Huron project) was designated as D1, but with extra setback conditions and a slightly lower height limit – 150 feet. That was due in part to the historic district immediately to the north. The height of this 14-story project is 150 feet.