Thompson Block

Bob Eccles

A nationally-recognized local brewer of organic tea and beer has signed a letter of intent to move into the Thompson Block in Ypsilanti's Depot Town.

Unity Vibration currently operates out of a facility on Ecorse Road in Ypsilanti Township. 

Early plans call for a kitchen and tasting room in the Thompson Block. 

Draft Magazine named one of Unity Vibration's beers as one of the 25 best of 2013. 

Zingerman's and Espresso Royale have also signed letters of intent to move into the Thompson Block.

Bob Eccles

Zingerman's could be coming to Ypsilanti.

Thompson Block partner Tyler Weston says Zingerman's has signed a letter of intent to occupy retail space in the renovated building, as has Espresso Royale.

"We're really excited to have both of these amazing local entrepreneurs in our building," Weston says, noting that a letter of intent is just the first step.

"It's non-binding, but we're hoping to work together with them to make them a great space in our building and bring them lots of business."

Lead in text: 
Reportedly, Espresso Royale and Zingerman's have both signed commercial letters of intent for space in Depot Town's Thompson Block building, according to The Thompson Block Partners.
WEMU News
Bob Eccles

Developers of the Thompson Block in Ypsilanti's Depot Town have secured a 12-year Obsolete Property Rehiabilitation Act tax credit from city council.

Project partner Tyler Weston said the city also approved a Brownfield plan for the project, so the next step is to ask Washtenaw County for Brownfield tax credits.

"What Brownfield allows us to do is essentially get paid back for site improvements at the property" Weston explained.  He said those improvements include things like added parking space and structural improvements to the building.

Bob Eccles

With developers of the Thompson Block securing their first commercial letter of intent, City Council tonight will consider a tax exemption to help move redevelopment of the property forward.

Thompson Block partner Tyler Weston says a local restaurant entrepreneur has taken the first step toward becoming a tenant, and a coffee shop has also expressed interest. 

Weston says the development plan has improved greatly since he came on board a year ago, with parking space now included for commercial and residential tenants, along with patio space for commercial tenants.

Bob Eccles

Businesses in Ypsilanti's Depot Town are looking forward to something happening with the Thompson Block, but opinions vary on what should happen to the former Civil War barracks and adjoining properties.


Thompson Block
Courtesy Photo

Ypsilanti City Council has rezoned the long vacant Thompson Block property in Depot Town and approved the planned unit development agreement for the site. 

Council voted five to nothing on the issue Tuesday night. 

 SEE ALSO: Corner Brewery now Arbor Brewing Company Microbrewery

City Planner Teresa Gillotti says the current plan for the Thompson Block is a bigger and better project than the earlier proposal so it needed to be a planned unit development.  Gillotti adds that the changes include adding residential parking behind the building and streetscape improvements along River Street for cafe seating.

Gillotti explained that the actual building permits will likely be similar however to the previous designs, adding the fire has eliminated a bay window from the front of the building and the entrance for the residential portion of the building has moved from the north side to the east side with the addition of the parking lot.

Gillotti maintains developers have two years to complete a PUD, however the Thompson Block faces a deadline in about 15 months for a finished building under the city's dangerous building ordinance.