Parking Payment-in-Lieu OK’d for 624 Church St.

A proposed residential development at 624 Church St. in downtown Ann Arbor – a 13- or 14-story, 83-unit apartment building with approximately 181 beds – will be able to provide 42 spaces of required parking by contracting for the spaces in the public parking system. That’s instead of building the spaces on site as part of the project.

The authorization to work out the arrangement came on a vote taken at the Oct. 3, 2012 meeting of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board. The DDA manages the city’s public parking system under a contract with the city.

Ann Arbor’s “contribution in lieu of parking” program was authorized by the city council 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. It’s option (1) that the 624 Church St. project will be pursuing.

At the Sept. 26 meeting of the DDA’s operations committee, the development team for 624 Church St. 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 make an arrangement for 40 permits somewhere in the parking system.

But the operations committee was not willing to commit at this point to offering spaces in the Forest parking structure, which is the closest parking facility to the project. That’s reflected in the Oct. 3 resolution considered by the board, which describes how it will be decided “at a later date where these 42 parking spaces will be assigned, including in the Forest Avenue parking structure or within other nearby campus-area public structures …”

The 624 Church St. address is 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 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 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]

This brief was filed from the DDA offices at 150 S. Fifth Ave., Suite 301, where the DDA board holds its meetings. A more detailed report will follow: [link]