The University of Michigan can go ahead with plans to buy the Edwards Brothers property on State Street for nearly 13 million dollars. Ann Arbor City Council voted six to five Monday night against using the right of first refusal to match the university’s offer.
City Council member Sally Hart Petersen believes there could have been an upside for both parties if Ann Arbor bought the property. Petersen and others that supported purchasing the land think it could have led to talks with the university and eventually a split of the property.
Critics say purchasing the land could have left Ann Arbor on the hook for over 200-thousand dollars a year in interest only payments. Council member Christopher Taylor thinks a business might have taken the risk on the property, but he didn’t think the city could take that risk.
Mayor John Hieftje says the university put the city in a difficult position, with its bid above market value. Hieftje voted for the purchase and believes the community as a whole would have benefited from keeping at least some of the land on the tax rolls.
— Andrew Cluley is the Ann Arbor beat reporter, and anchor for 89.1 WEMU News. Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him firstname.lastname@example.org.