Ofer Eitan Affirm: Several hundred units of affordable housing possible at - Dr. Jonathan Cartu Dentist & Orthodontist Care - Dental Clinic
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Ofer Eitan Affirm: Several hundred units of affordable housing possible at

Ann Arbor affordable housing

Ofer Eitan Affirm: Several hundred units of affordable housing possible at

ANN ARBOR, MI — While city voters decide the fate of a proposed tax for affordable housing, Ann Arbor leaders are taking a closer look at projects it could help fund.

City officials and design consultants discussed potential affordable housing developments on nine city-owned sites during a City Council work session Tuesday night, Oct. 13.

Here’s a look at options Housing Commission Executive Director Jennifer Hall and the consultants presented.

These are the seven city-owned sites in or near downtown where Ann Arbor officials and consultants discussed affordable housing development options during a City Council work session Oct. 13, 2020. They also discussed other sites outside of downtown, including 1510 E. Stadium Blvd. and 2000 S. Industrial Highway.SmithGroup

Stadium and South Industrial sites

The Housing Commission has hired the Damian Farrell Design Group to explore the feasibility of affordable housing developments on city-owned properties at 1510 E. Stadium Blvd. and 2000 S. Industrial Highway.

2000 S. Industrial Highway

The South Industrial Highway site currently has a water tower, gas-filling station for city-owned vehicles and buildings used by various city departments, including the Housing Commission. What’s shown in red would be demolished for new development. Damian Farrell Design Group

2000 S. Industrial Highway

This option for the South Industrial Highway site shows a new three-story Housing Commission office and adjacent maintenance facility (shown in green) plus 30 units of affordable housing in a separate four-story building with parking on the ground level. Estimated construction cost: $10.3 million. Housing cost per unit: $204,632.Damian Farrell Design Group

2000 S. Industrial Highway

This option for a “mega building” at the South Industrial Highway site shows 42 affordable units and a new Housing Commission office all in one five-story building, plus a separate maintenance building shown in green. Housing Commission offices would be on the second floor, above first-floor parking. Estimated construction cost: $12.3 million. Housing cost per unit: $183,752.Damian Farrell Design Group

Fire Station 2

A look at the current Ann Arbor Fire Department building at 1510 E. Stadium Blvd. Formerly a fire station, it now functions as an office for the city’s fire prevention bureau. (Ryan Stanton | The Ann Arbor News)

1510 E. Stadium Blvd.

This option for the 1510 E. Stadium Blvd. site shows a four-story building with 23 affordable housing units. Estimated construction cost: $4.3 million. Housing cost per unit: $188,488.Damian Farrell Design Group

1510 E. Stadium Blvd.

This option for the 1510 E. Stadium Blvd. site shows a four-story building with new Housing Commission offices and maintenance operations, but no affordable housing. Estimated construction cost: $4.6 million.Damian Farrell Design Group

1510 E. Stadium Blvd.

This option for the 1510 E. Stadium Blvd. site shows an adaptive reuse of the existing building to create nine affordable housing units. Estimated construction cost: $2.9 million. Housing cost per unit: $324,516.Damian Farrell Design Group

The design team also explored options for modular housing that would be pre-fabricated in a factory, said Tresna Taylor, project architect with the Damian Farrell Design Group.

“There are advantages with time and with budget by doing this,” she said.

That includes these options:

1510 E. Stadium Blvd.

This option for the 1510 E. Stadium Blvd. site shows four side-by-side duplexes with eight affordable housing units. Estimated construction cost: $2.2 million. Housing cost per unit: $274,494.Damian Farrell Design Group

1510 E. Stadium Blvd.

This option for the 1510 E. Stadium Blvd. site shows three side-by-side duplexes plus one stacked-flat duplex with a handicap-accessible unit, for a total of eight affordable housing units. Estimated construction cost: $2.2 million. Housing cost per unit: $278,031.Damian Farrell Design Group

The Stadium and South Industrial sites do not score high for tax-credit financing, Hall said.

“If the affordable housing millage does pass, these would be two good sites to be able to put some subsidy into the sites to make sure we can do affordable housing there,” she said.

The downtown Y Lot

The city is working through a pre-entitlement process for a high-rise development with affordable housing on the city-owned Y Lot, the downtown parking lot at 350 S. Fifth Ave. The city is working with consultant SmithGroup to come up with a pre-approved plan a developer can buy and get permits to build.

Y Lot

The former YMCA site known as the Y Lot runs along the north side of William Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues, just south of the Blake Transit Center.SmithGroup

Y Lot

Tentative plans for the Y Lot include 488 housing units, including 288 market-rate units and 130 affordable housing units, plus ground-floor commercial space. The development would not extend over the transit center but would provide an additional transit bay lane.SmithGroup

Y Lot

A view of a proposed high-rise development on the Y Lot looking west along William Street past the downtown Ann Arbor library.SmithGroup

Y Lot

A view of a proposed high-rise development on the Y Lot looking east along William Street past the Fourth and William parking deck.SmithGroup

Y Lot

A tentative site plan for a high-rise development on the Y Lot.SmithGroup

SmithGroup’s team has spent a fair amount of time over the last several months working with the city, Downtown Development Authority and Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority to make sure they’re getting the ground-floor plan right, said Michael Johnson, a SmithGroup consultant.

“We’re not quite there yet, but I think we’ve learned a lot,” he said, discussing different options for a single or double lane for AAATA buses and services for the new development, including delivery/loading space.

“We have to make sure that this building works from a service standpoint,” he said, noting it will be discussed with the city’s Design Review Board this week.

The intent is to come back to council by early next year with the preferred option, Johnson said.

Y Lot

Possible ground-floor uses with a high-rise development on the Y Lot. The design team is exploring options for going up to a 45-foot service lane, expanding beyond the 30-foot lane shown here, working with the AAATA on its bus lane needs for the transit center.SmithGroup

Y Lot

Another look at how a high-rise development could take shape on the Y Lot.SmithGroup

415 W. Washington St.

The city-owned 415 W. Washington St. property, which contains a large parking lot and blighted buildings on the west edge of downtown, is another potential affordable housing development site where the council has OK’d a pre-entitlement process similar to what it’s doing with the Y Lot.

415 W. Washington

The city-owned 415 W. Washington St. property.SmithGroup

Starting the pre-entitlement process is contingent on funding from the Downtown Development Authority, Hall said.

“And with DDA funding as it is, that is not in the budget for this year, but it’s still on the table if we can secure funding in the future,” she said.

While revenue from the millage on the November ballot is prohibited from being used for affordable housing at 415 W. Washington St. because it’s in a flood zone, other revenue sources could be used.

415 W. Washington

The city’s preferred option for 415 W. Washington St. provides about 175 housing units and about one parking space per unit. The city is considering maximizing market-rate housing and affordable housing for people earning up to 60% of the area median income.SmithGroup

Other sites under consideration

The city is still seeking public input via an online survey through Dec. 14 on potential affordable housing projects at four other sites in or near downtown, including 121 E. Catherine St., 353 S. Main St., 309 S. Ashley St. and 721 N. Main St.

New developments on those sites could bring over 300 affordable housing units, in addition to possibly more market-rate housing, according to options under consideration.

See what’s being considered.

Higher-density developments will allow more affordable housing with less city subsidy, said Johnson, the SmithGroup consultant.

“These are also very complex downtown sites that we’re talking about, and so it’s important to note there are different ways and different strategies to employ on each of the sites, whether that’s commercial space, parking space, residential space or some mix of those,” Johnson said.

Above-ground, underground and off-site parking options are under consideration, Johnson said. For example, some options for redeveloping 121 E. Catherine St., a 49-space parking lot near the Farmers Market in Kerrytown, still include 24 to 40 surface parking spaces, or around 90 spaces with underground parking.

121 E. Catherine St.

Parking options for a potential affordable housing development at 121 E. Catherine St.SmithGroup

One of the main questions being explored with redeveloping the Kline Lot at 309 S. Ashley St., a 143-space parking lot in the Main Street business district, is whether it should continue to be a key downtown parking site.

309 S. Ashley St.

Development options for the Kline Lot at 309 S. Ashley St.SmithGroup

Given the high cost of an underground parking deck, if the Kline Lot is to remain a key parking site, the city may need to consider an above-ground deck, Johnson said. That still could allow ground-floor retail along Ashley Street, with six stories of housing on top of three or four floors of parking, or an even more substantial building, he said.

If it’s determined parking needs could be accommodated on another site, there’s more opportunity to discuss splitting the 53,750-square-foot Kline Lot into smaller developable parcels and having different building heights, he said.

Options for the Palio Lot at 353 S. Main St. range from a six-story building with around 50 housing units to a 10-story building with around 90 units. Both provide for an active ground floor on Main and William streets with off-site parking, meaning the 24-space surface parking lot next to the Palio restaurant would be eliminated.

Another potential future affordable housing site is 404-406 N. Ashley St., a city-owned property that’s now home to…

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