DDA Set to Present Parcel Plan to Council

The Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority has voted to approve the recommendations related to future development of five city-owned parcels in the DDA district – known as the Connecting William Street project. The recommendations cover: (1) the Kline lot (on the east side of Ashley, north of William), (2) the lot next to Palio restaurant (northeast corner of Main & William), (3) the ground floor of the Fourth & William parking structure, (4) the old YMCA lot (on William between Fourth and Fifth), and (5) the top of the Library Lane underground parking garage on South Fifth, north of the downtown library. [.pdf of presentation made at Dec. 5, 2012 board meeting]

The recommendations stemmed from a directive given to the DDA by the Ann Arbor city council in an April 4, 2011 resolution to engage in a public process with experts, stakeholders and residents to develop a plan for those parcels. The council’s resolution describes a step in the process when the city council and the planning commission would adopt the recommendations on the five parcels into the city’s downtown plan. The downtown plan is one component of the city’s master plan. Other components include: the land use element, the transportation plan, the non-motorized transportation plan, parks and recreation open space (PROS) plan, and the natural features master plan.

Based on the phasing described in the council’s April 2011 resolution, any request for proposals (RFP) to be made for the five parcels would come after the planning commission and the city council formally adopt recommendations on the five parcels into the downtown plan.

The DDA’s vote to adopt the recommendations came at the board’s Jan. 9, 2013 meeting, as preparation for the DDA’s presentation scheduled for a Jan. 14 city council work session. That session will begin at 7 p.m. in the second-floor council chambers at city hall, 301 E. Huron.

Also at the DDA board’s Jan 9 meeting, a vote was taken to adopt a policy on any grants to be made by the DDA in the Connecting William Street area of study. Among other things, the policy gives priority to projects that promote: connectivity and walkability improvements; environmental design features; significant architecture and design investment; public landscaping & plazas/urban open spaces; and infrastructure investments.

The grant policy makes clear that the DDA would not forgo its TIF (tax increment finance) capture on any property, but the amount of the grant would be calculated based on TIF revenue. The policy would apply only to the four city-owned properties in the area of the CWS study that are currently surface parking lots. [.pdf of grant policy draft]

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 of the meeting will follow: [link]