Stories indexed with the term ‘old YMCA’

Planning Group Strategizes on Downtown

Two major downtown projects – the possible sale of the former YMCA lot, and a review of the A2D2 zoning – were the main focus at a July 9 working session of the Ann Arbor planning commission.

Ann Arbor planning commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Looking east at the former YMCA lot, which has been owned by the city since 2003 and is used as a surface parking lot. The street in the foreground is Fourth Avenue. William Street is on the right. The reddish brown building at the opposite end of the lot – across Fifth Avenue – is the Ann Arbor District Library. To the left is the construction site for the new Blake Transit Center.

Planning manager Wendy Rampson updated commissioners on the city council-mandated review of downtown zoning. Ann Arbor-based ENP & Associates – consultants Erin Perdu and Megan Masson-Minock – are being hired to handle the process under a $24,500 contract with the city.

The primary concern for the council, as reflected in its April 1, 2013 resolution, is the downtown D1 zoning – which provides for the highest density allowed in city, with the tallest possible buildings. The concern was heightened by the controversial 413 E. Huron development, which the council approved on May 13, 2013. That site, located on a major transit corridor, but also next to a residential neighborhood, is zoned D1.

Rampson described the upcoming work as “fast and furious,” with a deadline of Oct. 1 to deliver recommendations to the council. The consultant will work initially with the commission’s ordinance revisions committee, which next meets on Tuesday, July 16 at 5:30 p.m. in the first floor south conference room at city hall, 301 E. Huron.

Zoning was also a point of discussion regarding the former Y site at 350 S. Fifth, across from the downtown Ann Arbor District Library and south of Blake Transit Center. The city council is exploring whether to sell that city-owned property, which was zoned D1 as part of the original A2D2 process. Colliers International and local broker Jim Chaconas have been selected 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.

Bonnie Bona floated the idea of developing recommendations to the council regarding what planning commissioners think the city should require in a sale of that site. “I think we have a responsibility as planning commissioners to give them planning advice,” Bona said. Other commissioners agreed, and the item will likely be on the agenda for the group’s Aug. 13 working session for a fuller discussion.

The 2.5-hour July 9 session also included a presentation by two Ann Arbor public art commissioners – John Kotarski and Bob Miller – about the finalists for artwork at the East Stadium bridges. And commissioners were updated by Rampson about the status of various projects and developments. This report focuses only on the Y lot and A2D2 discussions. [Full Story]

Colliers, Chaconas to Broker City’s Y Lot

Colliers International and local broker Jim Chaconas have been selected to handle the possible sale of the former YMCA lot, located at the corner of Fifth and William in downtown Ann Arbor. The roughly 0.8 acre parcel, owned by the city of Ann Arbor, is  used as a surface parking lot in the city’s public parking system. City administrator Steve Powers notified councilmembers of the decision in an email sent July 3, 2013.

[Full Story]

Proceeds of Land Sales: Mostly Case-by-Case

A version of a proposal by Sandi Smith (Ward 1) to re-establish a formal policy on how to use the proceeds from the sale of city-owned land was approved by the Ann Arbor city council at its Oct. 15, 2012 meeting. However, the approved policy was far more restricted than Smith’s original proposal, which the council had considered but postponed on Sept. 17.

Smith’s initial proposal would have directed 85% of the net proceeds from the sale of any city-owned land in the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority district to be deposited in the city’s affordable housing trust fund. During the month-long postponement, the council’s budget committee discussed the proposal and made a recommendation that for only one city property – the … [Full Story]

Old Y Lot Gets No Action from Council, Yet

A planning effort by the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority, Connecting William Street, got an implicit expression of support from the city council at its Aug. 20, 2012 meeting, when it voted down a resolution directing the city administrator to proceed independently of that effort. [See also Chronicle coverage: "Planning Group Briefed on William Street Project"]

The resolution would have directed city administrator Steve Powers to evaluate the parcel at 350 S. Fifth for possible public or corporate use; and if none was found, to report back to the city council with a timeline for the disposition of the property – based on state and city laws and policies. That parcel is more commonly known as the Fifth and William parking … [Full Story]

DDA Amends Bylaws, OKs Management Fee

Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board meeting (Feb. 3, 2010): The DDA board passed two resolutions at its Wednesday meeting. The first authorized a $45,000 discretionary part of the management fee in Republic Parking’s contract.

The Big Drill

The view from Division Street to the Library Lot work site, where the Christman Company is managing the construction of the underground parking garage. The drilling is part of the earth retention work. (Photos by the writer.)

The second resolution amended the DDA bylaws. The change eliminates the ability of the executive committee to act on behalf of the board between regular board meetings, and clarifies the role of the executive director in relationship with the board. Efforts to change the bylaws have accumulated over two years worth of history, and still need the approval of the Ann Arbor city council to take effect.

Another main theme of Wednesday’s meeting was finances – from parking revenues to tax increment finance (TIF) capture, to the housing fund.

And in a nod to the Bill Murray film “Groundhog Day,” we note that The Chronicle’s report of the DDA board’s February meeting from last year also featured a big drill as lead art. Both drills are related to the construction of the underground parking garage along Fifth Avenue. The board received updates on that and other construction projects, as well as on planning and development downtown. [Full Story]

The 100 Units of Affordable Housing

Sites A, B, C, identified as possible locations to build affordable housing units. The image is linked to a higher resolution file in which dimensions are legible.

Ann Arbor City Council Working Session (Dec. 8, 2008) At a council working session on Monday evening, attended by all councilmembers including the mayor, one option (consisting of three different sites) was presented for how to replace the 100 units of affordable housing previously provided by the YMCA building at Fifth and William streets.

The three sites that were offered by city staff to council for consideration have some different constraints, but the proposed construction on each site is similar. All three sites are located along a roughly one-block long stretch of Fourth Avenue from the south side of Ann Street to the north side of Catherine Street.

Based on official council action to date, this set of three sites can be fairly seen as one option of three still under conceptual consideration for a replacement location for the 100 affordable units: (i) the old YMCA site, (ii) an alternate downtown location, and (iii) a location outside of downtown.

We begin with some brief background of the history of these 100 units before December 2007, trace the interaction between council and the Housing and Human Services Advisory Board between December 2007 and May 2008, and finally summarize the presentation and council discussion from the council’s working session on Monday in customary Chronicle meeting-watch style. [Full Story]

Meeting Watch: City Council (1 Dec 2008)

City Council’s meeting Monday evening yielded few surprises, with council giving final approval to the City Apartments PUD and its site plan, and moving the City Place PUD along to a second reading (with some reluctance). And after hearing a progress report on the police-courts project, council approved an amendment to the architect’s agreement in the amount of $411,003. Also, with no discussion of what the fund agreement is, council passed a memorandum of intent and fund agreement for development of a skatepark at Veterans Memorial Park. [Full Story]