City Council will be voting on a $10 million contract with Chicago-based real-estate firm Core Spaces during its April 17 meeting, Councilmember Zachary Ackerman (D–Ward 3) confirmed.
Approval of the contract would give Core Spaces ownership of the Library Lot, a plot of land across from the downtown Ann Arbor District Library on Fifth Avenue, which is currently home to a surface-level and underground parking lot. Core Spaces’s intent would then be to build a 17-story high-rise development, which would include apartments, hotel rooms and office and retail space.
The plan has received criticism from community members who feel the space would be better utilized as a park or other open communal area.
Earlier in the month, Will Hathaway, a member of the Library Green Conservancy, advocated for apportioning a part of the lot as a public open space. Specifically, he argued the lot would create a shortage of parking spots.
“The rest of the people who don’t get a dedicated parking space who are in this building are going to be in the mix with all the rest of us looking for parking spaces,” Hathaway said. “So the impact goes way beyond those parking spaces that they’re proposing to take out of the system.”
In response to the criticism, Ackerman pointed out that the apartment spaces would create an opportunity for affordable housing for low- to medium-income residents, as well as boost the city's funding for community-building programs.
"Of the $10 million the City would gain in this deal, $5 million would go directly to our Affordable Housing Fund, which currently has a balance of $0," he wrote in an email. "Over the last 15 years, our Housing Commission has been able to leverage every dollar of our Affordable Housing Fund for an additional $10-15 in federal and state funding. So $5 million to the fund could very easily equate to $50 million of impact."