Construction has begun on the site of a Family Dollar store on the Water Street re-development area.
An official groundbreaking will he held after the August 5th primary election, but construction machinery was busy at work on the site Tuesday, maneuvering around wooden stakes topped with pieces of fluttering fluorescent tape.
The sidewalk along Michigan Avenue is also marked with fluorescent spray paint.
The Family Dollar project is the first on Water Street to see construction begin since 1999.
Ypsilanti City Council has approved a letter of intent to sell a parcel of land in the Water Street Re-Development Area to a company that wants to build a 76-unit affordable housing project there.
Michael Rodriguez is Development Director for Herman and Kittle Properties. He says the 3.13 acre parcel on the southern edge of the re-development area is attractive for several reasons, including proximity to the Huron River and Michigan Avenue.
The housing development wasn't welcomed by everyone.
Downtown businessman Dave Heikkinen expressed concerns that the city needs more market-rate housing rather than housing that caters to low-income residents.
The city would sell the land for $157,000, with the developer performing about $750,000 worth of infrastructure improvements. The plan is to have a purchase agreement back before city council in March.
Ypsilanti City Council has approved a plan for key infrastructure needs such as streets, water, and sewer lines in the Water Street area.
Council voted five to nothing Tuesday night to accept the infrastructure plan.
Mayor Paul Schreiber says the city has now completed a couple of important steps to attract redevelopment to Water Street. Schreiber says originally the plan was to leave Water Street open for any proposal but he says the city has seen this approach left developers concerned about what could be built next to their project. He says being able to better define the parcels of land in Water Street should lead to more interest from developers.
Ypsilanti City Council will likely have a purchase or development agreement for the East Side Recreation Center in January. Council Tuesday night received an update on Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation's plans for the facility in the Water Street re-development area. Park Planning Supervisor Coy Vaughn says the latest design features a smaller parcel of land and a smaller building.
The new plans call for a 45-to-55-thousand square foot facility on four acres in the Water Street area. Originally, it was going to be a 55-to-65-thousand sqaure foot building set on 12-acres. Vaughn says, despite the smaller scale, no amenities or programs will have to be cut.
The proposed rec center would have 230 feet of frontage along Michigan Avenue, and would leave a 100-foot easement between the facility and the river for a linear park. The purchase price is to be one dollar, with the county providing $900,000 worth of infrastructure improvements to the site and surrounding area.
Ypsilanti has been getting a few nibbles from developers interested in the Water Street Re-Development Area. Discussions are in the very early stages, but Ypsilanti has been seeing a lot more interest in the Water Street Re-Development Area over the past six months.
City Planner Teresa Gillotti says there's been a lot more interest over the past six months. Gillotti explains that developers interested in building a variety of housing types have been in contact with her office.
Gillotti adds that they've also been reaching out to grocery stores, since many of the comments gathered during the ShapeYpsi planning process indicated an interest for a larger, more traditional grocery store in the downtown area. Aside from the Family Dollar and Recreation Center proposals, Gillotti says everything else is in the very early discussion stage. Gillotti says aside from the Family Dollar and Recreation Center proposals, other talks are in the very early stages, but she's hopeful it won't be long before firm proposals can be brought to city council for consideration.
Ypsilanti City Council has approved a purchase agreement for a Family Dollar store to be built on the northeast corner of the Water Street re-development area.
The approval came after the developer agreed to some changes to make the store fit better with the city’s vision for the property, including moving the store to the northwest corner of the point-eight-five acre parcel.
The Washtenaw County Border-to-Border Trail is a step closer to completion, thanks to an easement obtained by the City of Ypsilanti from Fischer Honda on Michigan Avenue.
Ypsilanti City Planner Teresa Gillotti says the easement will clear the way for a pedestrian bridge to be built from Riverside Park to a corner of the Fischer Honda property, with an improved Michigan Avenue crossing then linking the trail to the Water Street re-development area.
Gillotti says the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission is covering the $38,000 cost of the easement.
Ypsilanti's city council has put off a decision on a purchase agreement that would have a Family Dollar store built on the northeast corner of the Water Street redevelopment area. The delay is due, in part, to the city's master plan update. Hear more from WEMU's Bob Eccles.