Located just steps from Michigan Stadium and Main Street, the 7.2-acre parcel of land owned by Fingerle Lumber has had Ann Arbor real estate companies salivating over the possibility of redeveloping the area.
The land, which has been in the Fingerle name for 77 years and three generations, comes with a hefty price tag of $22 million because of its prime location.
Some have speculated that the site could be an addition to the University’s sports facilities, but University spokeswoman Kelly Cunningham said there are no plans to acquire the Fingerle property at the moment.
“The University’s Master Plan for campus development does not contemplate use of that property,” Cunningham said.
The site has garnered interest from proponents of the Allen Creek Greenway, a city plan to construct a full-scale public park and “greenway” system along the Ann Arbor Railroad.
The project website describes a plan to build a pathway starting at the Huron River and extending south. Three public parks would be constructed along the way, one at 721 N. Main St., another at 415 W. Washington St. and a third on the northeast corner of First Street & William Street.
The greenway could be extended to include the Fingerle property.
Mayor John Hieftje, strong advocate of the Allen Creek Greenway, said they have always anticipated that the Fingerle property would be redeveloped but that they have no plans to purchase all 7.2 acres.
“We don’t have $20 million to spend on it,” he said adding that they would be interested in negotiating with the future buyer to obtain a small portion of land to use for the park.
Although Hieftje said establishing a park on the Fingerle Property would be a great addition to the greenway, it isn’t necessary to have a large park at every juncture. A pathway with trees and a couple of benches would be adequate, he said.
“I think for the greenway to work right you need to have a swath of it along that property,” he said. “It could be something as small as a 20-foot path along the side of the railroad right-of-way.”
Hieftje said the Allen Creek Greenway is one part of the city’s plans to decrease motorized transportation in the downtown area.
“It fits in with the stuff we’re trying to do,” Hieftje said. “It’s a new way of transportation across an old section of the city that would be non-motorized.”
Although the plans for the greenway system are currently underway, it will still be another few years before any substantial work is accomplished.
“It’s got to be a long-term goal,” Hieftje said. “But we could have some essential downtown section of the greenway worked out within just a couple of years.”