Construction on three multi-level apartment buildings that will range from three stories to 12 and house hundreds of residents, mostly students, has begun in downtown Ann Arbor.
The most controversial of the trio of projects that aim to bring density to downtown is CityPlace on Fifth Avenue near Packard on the southern border of the Central Business District. Foundation work is going on now and the two buildings each of three stories should be ready for occupancy by December, says Ralph Whelton, chief development official for the city of Ann Arbor. Parking will also be built. Residents living near the project objected to the the developer's plans to raze homes but also opposed early plans to preserve them as part of a bigger project known as Heritage Row. The homes were mostly rentals for college students.
The other two apartment buildings, the 12-15 story Varsity Apartments on Washington and Division, and the City Center Apartments on First and Washington west of Main, should be ready for move-in by September, Welton says.
The Varsity Apartments will likely be 12 stories but could go as high as 15, Welton explains, and have a first floor of commercial space.
The Ann Arbor City Center apartments will be eight stories on top of four stories of parking, two above ground, two below. Some parking will be for the public. Ann Arbor's Downtown Development Authority will own the parking structure.
"It's very unusual," to have three large apartment buildings coming in within such a short span.
But it appears the need and the market is there.
"It'll be good for business," he says. "The residents may be students, but they still need to eat, buy things."
Source: Ralph Welton, chief development official, city of Ann Arbor
Writer: Kim North Shine