The Chicago-based real estate agency that agreed to purchase a vacant lot formely owned by the YMCA in Ann Arbor has backed out of a major redevelopment plan, according to the Ann Arbor News.
The Habitat Company terminated the contract after disagreements with the city’s requests that the company include more affordable housing and energy efficient practices in their plans for construction.
Habitat had planned to construct a building featuring 233 apartments, office space and ground-floor shopping, in conjunction with CA Ventures and Hughes Properties.
However, Habitat Chairman Daniel Levin wrote in a letter to Mayor Christopher Taylor Wednesday that his company would no longer pursue the acquisition of the property, which is also located next to the Blake Transit Center.
“Although we have enjoyed working with you and others at the city over the past 14 months, we have decided that the many unresolved important issues create too much uncertainty for us to sensibly continue our efforts,” Levin wrote.
Taylor was not immediately available for comment.
Affordable housing and an increase in high-rises downtown have been controversial topics recently among Ann Arbor residents and students, including the library lot. In June, residents started a petition to attempt to halt the sale of the lot aiming to get a proposal on the November ballot that would prevent the sale of city property to private developers. However, the petition failed in July due to lack of certifiable signatures.
The city initially sold the lot to Dennis Dahlmann in April 2014 for $5.25 million following its use as a parking area. Dahlman then sold it to Habitat this March. In the plans submitted to City Council, Habitat included at least 20 units designated for affordable housing with moderate rents, but some council members wished to see more affordable units and requested that the city staff renegotiate.
If the property is not developed by April 2018, the city will have the option to buy back the property for either the appraised value or $4.2 million, though plans for the property’s future are unknown at this time.
Correction appended: This article previously misidentified the lot in question. It is the YMCA lot.