Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Broadway Village Underway in Lower Town

18. January 2005 • Brandon
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Demolition has begun in preparation for the Broadway Village mixed-use development at Maiden Lane and Broadway. In a story available only in the print edition, today’s Ann Arbor News reports:

A 75,000-square foot athletic club, a steak and seafood restaurant and a 96-suite hotel will be among the tenants in the Lower Town project northeast of downtown Ann Arbor.

Demolition began early this month at the site of the ambitious 6.4-acre project at the corner of Broadway and Maiden Lane, a shopping are once anchored by a Kroger store.

The Ann Arbor Athletic Club will be an upscale health and exercise facility with a swimming pool and state-of-the-art fitness equipment, said Ken Polsinelli, senior vice president of Ann Arbor-based McKinley, who is lining up tenants for the development.


Adjoining the athletic club will be a 96-suite hotel, said Polsinelli, who is in the final stages of negotiating a lease. He declined to name the hotel, but described it as a name everyone would recognize. Blake’s Chop House and University Bank have also signed on, he said.

McKinley, a property management and real estate investment firm, is negotiating with a number of other local and national tenants, from eateries to specialty stores.

>Previous Arbor Update Lower Town stories

  1. (Brandon seems reticent to editorialize here, so I’ll put in a plug for his comments on the Lower Town progress over at Past the College Grounds.)
       —Murph    Jan. 19 '05 - 06:44PM    #
  2. Generally (in keeping with Brandon’s offsite comments), “upscale” and “national chain” are not things that bring me joy when it’s talk about Ann Arbor developments. I’m still reasonably optimistic, though.

    Considering Todd’s comments over at AAiO on the difficulties of opening a local bar I’m not surprised that the national chains are the only ones that are signed up so far. The national chains are the only ones that can afford to sign leases and commit two years before the space is ready—we’re definitely not going to see any local businesses signed before this thing gets closer to complete. This is in part a problem inherent to real estate financing: you need to prelease before you can get your construction financing, which means you probably need the pockets and the patience of chains (or of UMich, who pulled out).

    I’m thinking this will be a good thing overall, though. Northside Grill is going to packed. (Do we know if Foods of India, etc, are going to have space in the new buildings? If so, I’m sure they’ll benefit from the new residents also.) The underused space above St Vincent dePaul will probably fill, and the blighted-looking lot next to Northside will probably be redeveloped pretty quickly. I don’t frequently buy into the rising tide/all boats propoganda, but I think some of it will be seen here.
       —Murph    Jan. 19 '05 - 06:58PM    #
  3. I’m pretty sure the space above St. Vincent DePaul is in use—I asked the clerk there one day whether and when the apartments up there might become available. See suggested that they have low turnover and it’s rather difficult to secure an apartment in the building, even though it’s in pretty poor shape. Anyway…
       —Scott T.    Jan. 19 '05 - 07:19PM    #
  4. Yes, I was a bit surprised to see the national chain part. I know Peter Allen was specifically looking for locally-owned businesses to occupy the spaces instead of chains, but I’m not sure what happened when he got less involved, or if it was just too difficult. He was also looking for the types of businesses that Brandon mentioned – ones useful for the neighborhood. Hm. Perhaps you could ask him, Murph. I know the high rental prices (mainly because it is a new development) automatically eliminates most local businesses (and some chains). Or at least those that aren’t already well established and want to move or open an additional location in Lower Town. And I’d imagine the hotel will mainly have people on U of M business staying at it (patient related and business-related).
       —Lisa    Jan. 19 '05 - 07:45PM    #
  5. test
       —Scott T.    Jan. 20 '05 - 08:44PM    #
  6. Dammit. I live over there. What I want is a good neighborhood bar, some artist space, a bit of decent shopping… Not some yupscale bullshit chains.
    Oh, and as far as the St. Vinnie’s apartments go, those are all owned by Jim, the guy who owns the Northside. He’s been slowly doing repairs, etc. but he has tennants that have been there since before he bought the buildings some 15 years ago. I know that he had been trying to get some of them out by raising their rents (especially one guy, who’s the scion of the people that used to own the building, and is supposed to be a real terror to deal with). But every time he ups the rent, they stay on…
       —js    Jan. 21 '05 - 02:42PM    #
  7. 3 things I wanted when I lived there:

    1. Bar
    2. Coffeehouse
    3. Grocery

    I got pretty tired of tromping across the bridge and beyond constantly… so, maybe, as Murph says, we should still be optimistic. But “yupscale bullshit chains “indeed.
       —Brandon    Jan. 21 '05 - 05:50PM    #
  8. There are a couple of decent places to get a cuppa, but no real coffee houses. Once upon a time, Saica was a coffeshop what catered to Asians, but now it’s a full-blown Japanese restaurant (with really good tofu curry sushi, believe it or not).
    I hate crossing the bridge too, but I figured I couldn’t complain about the grocery store since I’m closer to Kroger than to the Northside Diner. There’s ERC up there too, but I don’t like going to anything in that strip aside from Kroger if I can at all avoid it.
       —js    Jan. 22 '05 - 04:42PM    #
  9. Ah—see, I lived just a few blocks from the bridge, so all that Plymouth Rd. mismash was a distant dream (and drive), while I could walk to downtown (longish but very do-able) or especially bike. And I’d be riding that now-free-for-me AATA bus a lot if I were still there, I think.
       —Brandon    Jan. 22 '05 - 06:41PM    #
  10. Yeah, in the summer I’m close enough to bike downtown and to Krogers, which is nice. I’d like to be closer to downtown, but I think when I move again, it’ll be to some other town…
       —js    Jan. 25 '05 - 07:35PM    #
  11. Looks like the old laundromat has vanished. P.A. says the car wash and dry cleaners are coming down in the next month.

    Fun fact: the building between Broadway and Plymouth that was rehabbed, and that existing businesses were moved into, was done at no cost to the businesses. They all have significant remaining time on their leases, so the developers fixed up a structure and moved them in order to demolish their old space. The space they’re in now is also going to be demolished in a late phase of the project; I don’t know how long the existing leases last, but I presume those businesses will be moved into new retail space constructed in the early phases of construction so that their current space can be demolished in turn.

    So, the whole deal is kind of a hassle for the businesses, but they’re not being straight-up booted, or forced to move at their own cost. (At least, not until their leases expire and the new space at their old location has twice the rent of the old.)
       —Murph    Jan. 31 '05 - 04:15PM    #
  12. What amazes me is that the laundromat space is being rehabbed. I know that the last time a big development was in talks, one thing that held them back is that the ‘mat had been essentially pouring toxins into the soil around there for years, and that the clean-up was insanely expensive. But hey, good on’ em for getting it cleaned (hopefully, they won’t just build over it).
       —js    Jan. 31 '05 - 07:12PM    #