Stories indexed with the term ‘Baker Commons’

Housing Commission Rezoning Moves Ahead

Final approval to the rezoning of three Ann Arbor Housing Commission properties, and initial approval for rezoning of a fourth property, has been given by the Ann Arbor city council.

The planning commission had recommended the three rezonings at its May 6, 2014 meeting. Initial city council action came on June 2, 2014. And final action by the council came at its July 7, 2014 meeting.

The current PL (public land) zoning for some of the properties is a vestige of the AAHC properties’ status as city-owned land. The city council approved the transfer of deeds to the AAHC at its June 2, 2013 meeting. The three sites given final rezoning approval on July 7 are part of the housing commission’s … [Full Story]

DDA: Housing Commission Gets $600K

The Ann Arbor Housing Commission has received a grant of $600,000 to put into capital improvements to two properties in or near the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority tax capture district: Baker Commons and Miller Manor.

Baker Commons is a 64-unit building located at the southeast corner of Packard and Main, within the DDA district. Miller Manor is a 103-unit building on Miller Avenue outside the DDA district, but within a quarter-mile of the district boundary. That conforms with the DDA’s policy on use of its tax increment finance (TIF) funds for housing.

The $600,000 – which is to be paid in three $200,000 annual installments starting this year – was approved at the DDA board’s April 2, 2014 meeting. The … [Full Story]

Ann Arbor DDA: We’ve Been Good Stewards

Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board meeting (March 6, 2013): In a main agenda item, the DDA board authorized a $300,000 grant to the Ann Arbor Housing Commission – for renovations to the 64-unit Baker Commons public housing facility. It added to the $280,000 grant made late last year for the replacement of the Baker Commons roof.

DDA board member Keith Orr delivered extended remarks in response to a proposal currently being weighed by the Ann Arbor city council that would make amendments to the city ordinance governing the downtown development authority.

Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board member Keith Orr delivered extended remarks in response to a proposal currently being weighed by the Ann Arbor city council that would amend the city’s ordinance governing the DDA. (Photos by the writer.)

The grant award had come at the request of AAHC executive director Jennifer L. Hall, who’s proposing a major change to the way the 360 units of public housing are administered. The approach involves privatization and project-based vouchers.

The DDA’s support for public housing also surfaced at the meeting as a talking point for board members in the context of a proposal being considered by the Ann Arbor city council – which would amend the city ordinance regulating how the DDA’s tax increment finance (TIF) capture works. The amendments would clarify existing language in the city ordinance in a way that would favor the other taxing authorities, whose taxes are captured as a part of the DDA’s TIF. The council postponed action on that proposal at its March 4, 2013 meeting. In that context, at the DDA’s March 6 meeting, board member Sandi Smith raised the specter that the DDA would in the future not be able to support affordable housing in the same way it has done in the past.

In addition to clarifying the question of how TIF is calculated, the amendments would prevent elected officials from serving on the board and would impose term limits for board service. Board members took turns at the start of the meeting arguing that the DDA had been a good steward of public dollars and that the amendments to the ordinance are not warranted. Board members indicated that they didn’t think their service as volunteer members of a board was being afforded adequate respect by the city council.

The board comments followed a turn at public commentary at the start of the meeting from Brendan Cavendar of Colliers International, a commercial real estate services firm. His commentary departed from the typical pattern of someone signing up to address the board for up to four minutes. Instead, Cavendar had been invited to appear, and responded to prompts from board members to deliver a range of positive responses, including: future tenancy of the former Borders location; rising rents in the downtown area; and affirmation of the importance of the downtown public parking system.

The city’s public parking system is managed by the Ann Arbor DDA under a contract with the city of Ann Arbor. The monthly parking usage report is featured at every board meeting. But the March 6 meeting featured the parking system in an additional way. The board decided to award the full $50,000 of a discretionary management incentive to the DDA’s subcontractor – Republic Parking – for operation of the public parking system. It’s an annual decision, but it’s the first time in the last five years that the full amount has been awarded. The decision was based on good performance on metrics tracked by the DDA, according to the board.

In a third voting item, the board authorized $610,662 in support of getDowntown’s go!pass program, which provides a subsidy to cover the cost of rides taken on Ann Arbor Transportation Authority buses by employees of participating downtown businesses. To participate, a business must purchase a go!pass for all employees, at an annual cost of $10 per employee. Roughly 6,500 downtown employees are provided with go!passes through the program. [Full Story]

Ann Arbor DDA Grants $300K to Public Housing

The Ann Arbor Housing Commission’s Baker Commons building, located in downtown Ann Arbor at Packard and Main, will get an infusion of $300,000 from the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority – as a result of action by the DDA board at its March 6, 2013 meeting.

The $300,000 will be used toward a range of capital improvements to the 60-unit building: driveway and sidewalk replacement and repair; installation of energy-efficient lighting; insulation and air sealing; window replacement; adding a second entrance; door replacement; upgrade of fixtures appliances, flooring and cabinetry; replacement of heating and cooling units; generator replacement, elevator replacement, upgrade of common area furniture, and installation of additional security cameras.

This grant for $300,000 to Baker Commons comes in addition to … [Full Story]

DDA Green-Lights Housing, Transportation

Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board meeting (Oct. 3, 2012): At its most recent meeting, the DDA board approved four resolutions – two related to downtown housing and two related to transportation.

Roger Hewitt looks at a sample of the roof material that will be installed at Baker Commons.

DDA board member Roger Hewitt looks at a sample of the roof material that will be installed at Baker Commons. (Photos by the writer.)

Getting approval from the board was a $260,000 request from the Ann Arbor housing commission (AAHC), the bulk of which will pay for the emergency replacement of the roof on Baker Commons, a 64-unit public housing complex located at the intersection of Packard and Main streets. The sharply pitched roof will be made of steel, and is expected to last for 50 years, though it’s guaranteed for 20. Overall the board was positively inclined toward the request, but board member Newcombe Clark also wanted a clearer idea of how the DDA’s contribution fit into the AAHC’s capital maintenance and replacement schedule.

Also getting approval from the board was a resolution that authorized negotiating an arrangement for around 42 parking spaces in the public parking system for a proposed residential development at 624 Church St. The 13- or 14-story, 83-unit apartment building will include about 181 beds – a residential use that allows the project to qualify for a by-right “premium” under the city’s D1 (downtown core) zoning code.

The parking spaces for 624 Church St. can be provided through a contribution-in-lieu (CIL) program instead of providing them on site. That CIL program is administered by the DDA, because the DDA manages the public parking system under a contract with the city of Ann Arbor.

While the CIL authorization was perhaps at first glance only about housing, not transportation, two other items on the agenda were more obviously transportation-related.

A transportation connector study got a $30,000 contribution from the DDA. It’s contingent on the city of Ann Arbor contributing $30,000 as well, which is not a certainty. The total of $60,000 in city sources is part of $300,000 in local matching funds required for an already awarded $1.2 million federal grant. The remaining $240,000 is coming from the University of Michigan ($150,000) and the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority ($90,000). The corridor to be studied runs from US-23 and Plymouth southward along Plymouth to State Street and farther south to I-94. This alternatives analysis phase of the study is to result in identifying a preferred mode – such as bus rapid transit or light rail – and the location of stations and stops.

The board also authorized a 50-bike storage facility that would have the footprint of two vehicle parking spaces. The “cage” will be located in the downtown Ann Arbor’s Maynard Street parking structure.

In addition to the monthly parking report, the board received an update on the electric vehicle charging stations that are located in public parking structures. [Full Story]

DDA to Put Roof on Public Housing Complex

The roof of Baker Commons, which offers 64 of the roughly 360 public housing units managed by the Ann Arbor Housing Commission, will be replaced using funds provided by the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority. The authorization of $260,000 was given at the DDA’s Oct. 3, 2012 board meeting.

Jennifer L. Hall, the commission’s executive director, had addressed the board at its Sept. 5, 2012 meeting and also spoke to board members on Oct. 3.

Baker Commons, on the corner of Packard and Main streets, is the only AAHC  property within the Ann Arbor DDA district. The roof has had ongoing leaking problems, according to Hall’s presentation at the Sept. 5 meeting, and the housing commission has undertaken periodic patches. However, in the last … [Full Story]