Plum Market going in Cleary College Building – NE Ann Arbor


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Plum Mkt Elevation

Plum Market, a natural foods grocery store, purchased the Cleary College Building on Plymouth Road planning to retrofit the building for their second location in Ann Arbor. No other “natural foods” grocery exists in this part of town although there is a Busch’s across the street and Kroger’s a mile away.

There was a citizen participation meeting on September 17th for nearby residences or businesses to ask questions regarding the development. Reinhart Commercial is located in a building adjacent to the proposed Plum Market and commercial agent, Amy Freundl attended the meeting. She asked about traffic patterns and parking.

Plum Market doesn’t anticipate a traffic problem. Adjacent businesses and rush hour commuters may have a different opinion.

Source: Ann Arbor News

Planning Elevation:  Saroki Architecture via Plum Market Meeting Notification

Seeing City Spaces as Opportunities


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ReImagine Washtenaw wants to transform the Washtenaw Avenue Corridor and has a vision and plan to make it possible. They are concentrating on three areas that most need transformation:  Place-Making, Economics and Safety.  Nathan Voght, project manager for ReImagine Washtenaw, describes Places “are where you enjoy being, whether you have to be there or not.” Economics along the Avenue are about creating more jobs as a result of being a place where people want to be. Safety will involve being able to safely cross and walk along the corridor as well as room for bicyclists.

Urban Planner, Amanda Burden, was chief city planner under New York City’s Bloomberg Administration, in her TED talk: How public spaces make cities work, she sees open spaces in cities as opportunities. Good public spaces can enhance commercial investment.

Source: Concentrate Media

Source: TED Talks


Rents Rise


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Condo BuildingDue to high demand for rentals in Ann Arbor, tenants are paying more this year and can’t dally in making a decision or the property will be taken.

Reinhart Property Manager, Cathy Petchell says, “There has been high demand for single family rental homes and condos this past Spring/Summer.  This high demand has boosted rental rates higher this year than in the past years. Properties in the best condition, priced competitively haven’t stayed on the open market long and usually had multiple applications. Spring and Summer tend to be the busiest months for rentals with the market slowing down over fall and winter.”

Ann Arbor’s median and average rent for 2013 will be released this month from the Department of Numbers. Vacancy is at an all-time low.

Rents are also rising in other mid-sized cities. Nashville, Tennessee has rentals increases up 18% since 2009 and more than half of households renting in the Nashville metro area are paying more than 30% of their income to rent.

With the rents rising, rentals are seen as a good investment and Mega-Investors are buying up properties in targeted cities with potential for price appreciation.

Source: Ann Arbor News

Source: Wall Street Journal

Source: Realtor Magazine


New Listing: Over 2 Acres on Golfside near Ellsworth


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3775Golfside-Aerial3775 Golfside landOver 2 acres with a 1932 SF house used as an investment/rental property.  Also located on the property is a 1200 SF auxiliary building used as an office/shop.  Current R-4 Zoning allows for a variety of uses. Property is very well located to major thoroughfares, yet the feel of privacy is obvious. Good for investment or owner of a business to use as a home office.

Ypsilanti Township R-4 Zoning allows for:

  • Home office of a professional person
  • Small appliance repair
  • Day care
  • School
  • Recreational facility
  • One operator beauty parlor or barbershop
  • Dance studio

Listed by Amy Freundl, (734) 669-5904

View listing here


They want your imput! – August 26, 27 and 28


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The Platt Road Site Project Planning Team wants you to get involved. 2270 Platt Road, Ann Arbor, a 13.5 acre site (formerly a juvenile center) will be developed.  A charette, the intensive planning session, to develop a vision for this property, will take place August 26, 27, & 28. Don’t mss this opportunity to be part of the designing and planning. Go to for details.

Platt Road charette

Invest and Walk in Detroit


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river walkGeorge Washington University Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis recently released a report: Ranking Walkable Urbanism in America’s Largest Metros. While Detroit ranks 22nd out of 30 for metro areas, there is hope. Detroit ranked 8th out of 30 for cities that are developing urban walkable places. The authors see a permanent shift developing from the importance of drivebility in suburbs of metropolitan cities towards walkabliity in the city itself. If you drive in from the outskirts, walk in the city. A lightrail line will make that easier, connecting downtown, midtown and New Center.

Dan Gilbert, owner of Quicken Loans, owns nine million square feet of real estate in Detroit. He believes in Detroit and others are starting too also. Business are popping up, after years of Detroiters shopping in the suburbs, there is opportunity to keep those dollars in Detroit. Investors and entrepreneurs are rebuilding the city. Go to town, take a walk by the river, go buy something, a meal, a hat, a building, a house…  Guardian Bldg Detroit

Source: M-Live

Source: New York Times

Efforts to Create Affordable Housing in Ann Arbor


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file0001860226169On May 22nd, the task force on Sustainable Revenues for Supportive Housing Services recommended a plan to the Washtenaw County Commissioners, to create 500 or more units of housing to help the homeless. The goal is to have the housing and supportive services paid for through a millage and endowment fund. An endowment fund was established in 2011 and has $2.1 million in commitments to date.

The Platt Road Site Community Advisory Committee met on June 11th and is moving forward to the next stage in the design process for the best use of the parcel that held the Washtenaw County Juvenile Center. This is expected to take several months and they want community imput. The main event will be a public multi-day design session. The public will be able to work with urban designers, architects and landscape designers, making use of their skills to create something tangible.

Source: The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Source:  The Ann Arbor News


Detroit: Good Bars & Good Blight


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Esquire magazine gives Detroit the honor of being the 2014 “Bar City of the Year” in their June/July issue. Is Detroit renewing from the inside out? Keeping with the bar theme, Curbed Detroit looks at archived photos from old Detroit’s famoBar signus and popular bars.

On another note, in the New York Times there is a map where the Blight Removal Task Force has identified more than a fifth (over 370,000) of Detroit’s properties struggling with blight. Over 40,000 are recommended for demolition. After demolition will Detroit be bright? Discuss it at the bar.

Source:  Deadline Detroit


Vibrant Cities Offer Transportation Options


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busMillennials are a demographic group of over 80 million Americans and cities are paying attention to what is important to them.  Transportation options are one of the key considerations when they decide where to live. Cities that can’t attract young professionals may lose out.

annual-vehicle-mileage-rate2Aging boomers are another group of 80 million or more that are moving into urban areas and seeking those cities with walking and transportation options. In a study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, people of all ages are driving less. The decline started right after 2004, before the recession, indicating that there is a real shift in driving habits.

Ann Arbor, adjacent Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township voters, passed a tax increase on May 7th, 2014 to expand transit services in those cities and township. It passed by 71% clearly making transportation options important to the majority of voters.

Source: The Atlantic Cities

Graph: CNBC

Will Fourth Avenue be the new Main Street?


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Downtown Ann ArborMain Street and State Street are downtown Ann Arbor’s primary shopping districts. Fourth Ave is one block from Main Street and has become an area that is providing opportunity for businesses and a welcome new destination for shoppers.  With an abundance of restaurants on Main Street, Fourth Avenue was prime for increased retail.

Source:  Concentrate Media