Ypsilanti Citizen News Ypsilanti Cycle

City Council approves all mayor's re-appointments
By Dan DuChene
Jun. 16, 2010   ·   3:42 a.m.

Jone Coleman, president of downtown business LookInTheAttic, shares his thoughts with City Council about the discussion and procedure taken to pass mayoral re-appointments, which he was being considered for the Downtown Development Authority.

After much procedure, Ypsilanti City Council approved six mayoral re-appointments to city boards and committees Tuesday, including the two postponed from earlier...read more

Council postpones two reappointments
By Mark Tower
Jun. 4, 2010   ·   4:57 p.m.

Two of Ypsilanti's volunteer board members were not reappointed on schedule Tuesday night, owing to a 4-2 vote by City Council to delay the appointments until...read more

Downtown properties to be rehabilitated
By Mark Tower
Jun. 4, 2010   ·   10:40 a.m.

The three properties located at 120, 122 and 124 West Michigan Avenue in downtown Ypsilanti will soon be rebuilt into commercial and office space and loft apartments, thanks to a planned $1.7 million investment by developers.

Three recently-vacated properties in downtown Ypsilanti, two of them condemned, will soon be renovated owing to recent purchase by a local development company and...read more

Ypsilanti Township authorizes litigation against Liberty Square
By Mark Tower
May. 28, 2010   ·   6:53 p.m.

Many of the homes in the Liberty Square complex on Grove Street in Ypsilanti Township are already boarded and ready for foreclosure sale. All 151 units, some of which are still occupied, will be condemned Tuesday, Ypsilanti Township has resolved.

Residents living in the Liberty Square complex of townhouses will see a sticker appear on their homes Tuesday, when the Ypsilanti Township Building Department places...read more

Ford plant granted tax exemption by township
By Mark Tower
May. 24, 2010   ·   5:44 p.m.

Ford Motor Company's Rawsonville Plan, located at the intersection of Textile and Bridge Roads in Ypsilanti Township, will soon be the new home for production of Ford's Electric Focus batteries, formerly produced in Mexico.

New machines and equipment will soon be wheeled into Ford's Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti Township as it begins manufacturing a line of batteries for the new global...read more

City discusses bright spots for Water Street

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Economic downturn could prove upturn for stalled development

By Dan DuChene
Dec. 16, 2008    ·    3:52 a.m.


Some details about the parties interested in developing plots on Water Street were discussed last night by Ypsilanti City Council.

Council held a special meeting to discuss the long-stalled development project along Michigan Avenue, just east of the city’s downtown.

City Manager Ed Koryzno opened the meeting by reminding City Council of its May decision to divide the 38-acre site into several parcels and its June decision to contract real-estate brokerage firm C.B. Richard Ellis.

“We/re happy this evening to report that it has bore some fruit,” Koryzno said.

At the meeting, city staff announced two developers have turned in offers to purchase property for development on the site and two others are in the works. Negotiations will proceed until a formal purchase agreement is presentable to City Council.

The only developer named at the meeting was Magellan Properties, identified in city documents as “Developer 2.” The company is interested in developing three parcels between Park and River streets for a small grocery store and other commercial retail and restaurant tenants.

Magellan Properties is currently building a store for German-based discount retailer ADLI Food Stores in Ann Arbor.

“We’re always looking to expand, and we’re always investing different properties,” said Heather Tarczan, a representative from ALDI’s U.S. headquarters in Illinois.

“It’s still premature,” she said about potentially locating a store in Ypsilanti. “We do not have any concrete plans to build at this point, but we are looking.”

The first developer is sited as placing interest in building a fast food restaurant at the corner of Park Street and Michigan Avenue.

The remaining developers have not submitted a formal offer yet, but staff did disclose information about potential plans.

The third developer is looking at building active senior housing on four parcels and the fourth is looking to build multi-family, student housing on two.

“These developers have delivered letters of intent for the property and are working with CBRE to gather further information and possibly begin negotiating a purchase agreement,” Assistant City Manager April McGrath stated in document distributed to City Council.

The document said, “CBRE will continue to work with them and facilitate a purchase agreement when acceptable business terms have been reached, at which time negotiations with the City will begin.”

McGrath explained to City Council at the meeting that the selling of city-owned property can not be discussed in closed session.

“If you’re frustrated with generalities, there are things we’re not ready to promote yet,” she said during the meeting.

At the meeting, Drew Chorney, an associate broker from CBRE handling Water Street, told City Council, “Nothing is committed just yet.”

Chorney said, “I don’t think there is any specific user, or use in mind yet, regardless of what the rumors may be.”

When councilmembers asked what was attracting developers to the site amidst the current real-estate downturn, credit crisis and overall economic situation, Chorney said those problems are actually helping to market the property.

He said a brown-field in the middle of a dense city is now more attractive to developers “than an 80-acre vacant corn field.”

Because of Ypsilanti’s vibrant, active and proactive downtowns, because of Water Street’s location inside an already high-density urban setting and because of its already existent amenities, he said the area becomes more sustainable and attractive to developers.

All of this coupled with tax and financial incentives offered to developing brown-fields instead of green-fields, Chorney said, is creating a more positive situation for Water Street.

He said the economic environment is “really starting to force everyone to look at these opportunities again.”

Currently looking at a $31.2 million debt for the project, the first bond payment will be due in November of next year. The two payments due for that fiscal year are estimated at $854,000. Payments will escalate following years, averaging at a $1.44 million payment every year until 2031.

McGrath said the city currently has $2.7 million socked away to handle the coming debt payments. She said the city will continue this practice until enough taxes are captured from development to pay them directly.

“We are planning to make sure we have money to pay off these debt payments,” she said at the meeting. “Hopefully in the next year or two I can put taxable value on (the repayment schedule).”

Councilmember Brian Robb, D-3rd Ward, said according to his calculations, the proposed development on the site will not meet the necessary taxable value per acre of development to meet those costs. However, he said his math did not account for the actual revenue from the sale of land.

McGrath said that even if these developments do not reach that per-acre amount, development on the site could attract other development, which could equal out the difference.

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