More retail and coffee: Shell gas station expansion on Ann Arbor-Saline Road wins approval
Visitors to Ann Arbor coming in via Ann Arbor-Saline Road off I-94 will be greeted with a revamped Shell gas station with more retail and a new coffee shop later this year.
Abraham Ajrouch, who has operated the small station at the corner of Ann Arbor-Saline Road and Eisenhower Parkway for the last 15 years, received approval from the Ann Arbor City Council Monday night to go ahead with expansion plans.
Ajrouch plans to construct additions to the existing 1,000-square-foot convenience store, including 2,189 square feet to the north and east. He also plans to convert a 900-square-foot car wash area into new retail space, for a new total of 4,089 square feet.
Courtesy of Abraham Ajrouch
With the expansion, Ajrouch is getting out of the car wash business, which he said just isn't profitable anymore.
"And this site needs a big store with a lot more variety than we have now," he said. "And a coffee shop. I think we need one on Ann Arbor-Saline. There's not one close, and it's a freeway station. It's the gateway to Ann Arbor and it's going to be a beautiful building."
Council Member Marcia Higgins, whose ward includes the Shell gas station property, said she welcomes the new construction.
"It's going to be an improvement over there," she said. "It's something they think will add benefit to the community, so it's going to be exciting to see. I know they're hoping to have it done before the football season starts this year, so they're getting moving on it right away."
The existing access drive to the car wash will be converted to landscaping, and the 9-space parking lot will be reconfigured for a new total of 16 spaces, according to plans.
Two bicycle parking spaces will be installed at the southwest corner of the parking lot. A 22-foot-wide access drive is proposed off the northern reconfigured parking area to link to the Cranbrook Village shopping center, where Whole Foods and REI are located.
Courtesy of city of Ann Arbor
To comply with stormwater detention requirements, additional volume is required, city officials said. They said no natural features are impacted by the project.
City Planner Chris Cheng offered an overview of the site's history in a memo, noting the original Mills School was constructed on the site in 1856. Between the 1950s and 1990s, the building was used as a school and leased to the Washtenaw County apprentice program.
In 1967, the parcel was annexed into the city from Pittsfield Township, and it was zoned public land in 1980. In the 1990s, the PTO operated a thrift shop at the site.
In 1995, the Shell Oil Co. stepped in and requested C2B commercial zoning, but the request was tabled and later processed as a Planned Unit Development, allowing an auto service station and a car wash. Ajrouch came forward late last year with his expansion plans.
The vote Monday night was 10-0 with Mayor John Hieftje absent.
The Shell gas station expansion joins a long list of residential and commercial construction projects under way in Ann Arbor. The development boom has spurred the city of Ann Arbor to hire a new building inspector and a new plumbing inspector.