CBRE Selected for Library Lot Brokering

Ann Arbor city administrator Steve Powers has indicated that he’s selected CBRE to assist the city with the marketing and sale of the Library Lane parcel. That announcement came in an email sent to councilmembers on July 1, 2014. The site is located north of the downtown Ann Arbor District Library, between South Fifth Avenue and Division.

The surface of the Library Lane parking structure is highlighted in yellow.

The surface of the Library Lane parking structure is highlighted in yellow.

Direction from the city council to Powers – to engage a broker for the development rights on top of the Library Lane underground parking parking garage – initially came at the council’s March 17, 2014 meeting. That was an 8-1 vote, with dissent from Sumi Kailasapathy (Ward 1). Absent was Sally Petersen (Ward 2). Margie Teall (Ward 4) departed late in the meeting but before the vote.

However, the resolution was reconsidered at the council’s April 7, 2014 meeting – with the same outcome, but a different vote tally. The vote on April 7 was 7-4, with dissent from Kailasapathy, Jane Lumm (Ward 2), Jack Eaton (Ward 4), and Mike Anglin (Ward 5). Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3), who’d sponsored the resolution, nonetheless asked the council to reconsider it. He made it clear that he was bringing back the resolution for reconsideration to highlight why he had wanted the property listed for sale: He wanted definitive answers on the question of how many of the Library Lane structure parking spaces could be dedicated for private use – while still meeting the restrictions of the Build America Bonds used to finance the structure.

A partial answer to some of Kunselman’s questions came when the council voted on March 17, 2014 to waive attorney-client privilege on a memo written by outside bond counsel. [.pdf of Aug. 9, 2012 Dykema memo]

Other recent council action on Library Lane includes a resolution to allocate 50% of the proceeds of the sale of the development rights to the city’s affordable housing trust fund. That resolution was approved at the council’s April 7, 2014 meeting. Also on April 7, the council re-settled a previously decided issue, and passed a resolution that would reserve a 12,000-square-foot portion of the Library Lane surface for an urban plaza/park.

The message from the city administrator announcing the selection of CBRE cites the broker’s extensive experience in community engagement and clients that include cities, counties, universities and states. CBRE’s international, national, and regional experience is also cited in the administrator’s message. Next steps will include city staff working with CBRE  on development of  the community engagement plan, competitive disposition process, and marketing of the property, Powers wrote.

This is the second time in the past year that the city has hired a broker to explore the sale of city-owned property. A year ago, Powers selected Colliers International and local broker Jim Chaconas to handle the possible sale of the former YMCA lot, located at the corner of Fifth and William in downtown Ann Arbor – near the Library Lane site. On Nov. 18, 2013, the city council approved the sale of that site – a parcel north of William Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues – to Dennis Dahlmann for $5.25 million. Of that sale, the city council voted to deposit $1.4 million into the city of Ann Arbor’s affordable housing trust fund.