Ann Arbor Receives 5 Bids on Old Y Lot

The city of Ann Arbor has received five bids for the purchase of the old YMCA lot on William Street, between Fifth and Fourth avenues in downtown Ann Arbor:

  • Smart Hotels Opus Development: $5.2 million. Contingencies include: off-site parking in Library Lane and 4th and William public parking structures; and 700% floor area ratio (FAR) [(1) apartment – at least 130 market-rate units; (2) hotel – at least 120 guest rooms; (3) retail]. The offer expires if the city doesn’t indicate the terms are acceptable within 10 business days after receipt of the Oct. 18 letter (Nov. 1). [.pdf of Smart Hotels Opus Development offer 10.18.13]
  • Hughes Acquisition: $5.2 million. The approach would be to agree to purchase, pending approval of a site plan in accordance with the D1 zoning, with 180 days to obtain the city council and planning commission approvals. What’s planned is a mixed use development that might include on the upper floors: (1) market rate apartments (with a maximum of three bedrooms per unit); (2) a hotel, with conference or other ancillary facilities; and/or (3) office space. The plan would not include any residential units that contain more than three bedrooms. [.pdf of Hughes Acquisition offer 10.18.13]
  • Morningside Equities: $4.2 million. Morningside would have a 60-day investigation period and another 180-day period to obtain approvals from the planning commission and city council for a site plan. The offer describes a mixed-use development concept that “maximizes the property’s value.” The concept doesn’t include student housing, according to the offer. The offer expires on Oct. 25. [.pdf of Morningside Equities offer 10.18.13]
  • Dennis Dahlmann: $5.25 million. There would be no inspection or due diligence period. [.pdf of Dahlmann offer 10.17.13]
  • Clark Street Holdings: $5.15 million. There would be a 30-day due diligence period. [.pdf of Clark Street Holdings offer 10.18.13]

The property was listed at $4.2 million with purchase offers due by Friday, Oct. 18.

The city council is exploring whether to sell that property, which is also across from the downtown Ann Arbor District Library. Earlier this year, the city selected Colliers International and local broker Jim Chaconas to handle the possible sale, as the city faces a $3.5 million balloon payment this year from the purchase loan it holds on that property. The city has owned the land for a decade.

Now a surface parking lot, the site was zoned D1 as part of the original A2D2 (Ann Arbor Discovering Downtown) zoning process. The site was also one of five parcels that was the focus of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority’s Connecting William Street project, and was part of a more recent evaluation by the city’s park advisory commission as a potential downtown park.

Two months ago, at its Aug. 20, 2013 meeting, the Ann Arbor city planning commission made recommendations on the development of the former Y lot. Among others, those recommendations included: a building that generates foot traffic, provides a human scale at the ground floor and creates visual appeal; a “mixed use” development; and a building with vehicular access and parking that are accessed via the city’s new Library Lane underground parking structure.

The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority board voted at its Oct. 17, 2013 meeting to form a subcommittee to have conversations with the eventual successful bidder on the property to establish good relations and participate in potential negotiations on the property. That was an alternative to the AAATA making a bid on the property. The AAATA has historically had an interest in acquiring the land, and still envisions the block as a center of transit activity.

The Hughes offer indicates that: “In addition, Purchaser will work closely with the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority to determine the feasibility of expanding their bus facility onto the Property, in order to minimize bus staging on Fourth Avenue and William Street. Preliminary discussions with the AATA have already been held.” The cover letter for the Smart Hotels Opus proposal, written on their behalf by local developer Peter Allen, also indicates a willingness to work cooperatively with AAATA.