Village Green breaking ground on new downtown Ann Arbor apartments catering to young professionals
A groundbreaking is planned this week for the long-awaited Ann Arbor City Apartments project at the corner of First and Washington downtown.
Camille Amiri, public relations manager for Farmington Hills-based developer Village Green, relayed the news via email that the project is moving ahead.
Representatives of the development team, the city of Ann Arbor and the Downtown Development Authority are expected to be on hand for the 10 a.m. event on Thursday. The city and DDA are partnering with Village Green on the project.
"We're pretty excited," said Tom Crawford, the city's chief financial officer, who said the closing on the property is expected to go through this week.
Village Green plans to construct a 155-unit apartment building, rising 104 feet into the downtown skyline. In addition to apartments, the project includes a 244-space parking garage to be owned by the city and managed by the DDA.
The Ann Arbor City Council agreed in October 2010 to authorize up to $9 million in general obligation bonds to help pay for the parking structure. Of the 244 spaces planned, about 72 are expected to be held for residents, leaving 172 spaces for the general public.
The $3.2 million deal to sell the 0.57 acres of city-owned land to Village Green has been in the works for years. City officials have been counting on using that money to help finance the recently completed Ann Arbor Municipal Center project.
With a mix of 45 studios, 71 one-bedroom units and 39 two-bedroom units, the new apartments are likely to cater more to young professionals.
That marks a notable change, as other housing developments built or proposed in the downtown in recent years have catered mostly to University of Michigan students, such as Zaragon Place, 411 Lofts, The Varsity and the controversial City Place apartments.
"They really have a nice market they're looking for," Crawford said. "It's not designed to be a student place with a lot of bedrooms off of one common area."
Crawford noted 10 percent of the project — or 16 units in total — will be affordable housing units, which he called "exciting because we haven't had many of those constructed downtown." He said he isn't sure what the monthly rents will be, though.
A representative of Village Green could not be reached for comment.
Because of the grade, the number of above-ground floors in the project fluctuates depending on where one stands. The height varies from around 8.5 stories above grade at the northeast corner to 10 stories above grade at the southwest corner, said City Planner Jeff Kahan.
The building is nine stories at the main entrance at the corner of First and Washington, which is the northwest corner of the building. Counting the portion of the project that's below grade, it includes a total of four floors of parking and seven floors of housing.
The first part that's going to be built is the parking deck, Crawford said. That'll take roughly a year to complete, and then the apartments will follow.
"But the deck will be open during the time they're building the apartments, so it'll be about a year before the deck is ready," he said.
Crawford said the project includes a number of environmentally friendly elements and the developer plans to use local contractors.