Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

A2News discusses State/Liberty rents

8. December 2004 • Murph
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The Ann Arbor News summarizes recent concerns over rising rents on State St. and Liberty. Zanzibar/Red Hawk owner Roger Hewitt and Shaman Drum owner Karl Pohrt criticize the rate hikes, which have caused many independant businesses to be pushed out of the area,

“You have interesting businesses in a business district that make the district valuable,” Pohrt said. “The rents are jacked up and those people are forced out. The only people who can afford the rents are fast food places, then no one has a reason to come into the neighborhood, and the fast food places go out of business.”

Pohrt said the Liberty Street departures – as well as other changes on State Street – have the merchants pondering whether any locally owned retailers will survive there.

Representatives of McKinley Brokerage Services and Oxford Co., landlords for many of the spaces in the area, defend the rising rates. McKinley’s president, Jim Chaconas, notes that State Street’s rents “still are lower than. . .Birmingham”.

The News seems critical of some of the changes (and, in this case, how could anyone not be?),

In April 2003, Decker Drugs closed on State. It was replaced by national chain The Noodle Co. this fall – exchanging a community service retailer for a limited-service restaurant. When Decker Drugs closed, the rent for the new space was advertised at the time at $36 a square foot per month. By comparison, a few blocks west of State Street on Liberty, rents are closer to $15 and $20 a square foot.

For some background, read some of the Goodspeed Update’s past comments on increased chain store presence and the closing of Decker and opening of Potbelly, each of which contains copious links to other relevant material.