One day before a controversial student high-rise building proposal was slated to go before Ann Arbor City Council, developers submitted overhauled plans and asked to postpone the vote.

Final plans for the project, called “601 Forest” and to be built on the corner of South University Avenue and South Forest Street, are scheduled to be discussed at a public hearing and voted on during Monday’s meeting, but after several recent discussions with city officials, developers have drastically downsized the project.

The sudden revisions represent dramatic compromises by developers after more than 10 months of opposition from city officials, area residents and students.

The proposal expected to go before the City Council on Monday is about half the size of the original. It calls for one 14-story building instead of two towers 21 and 25 stories high, reducing the total number of units from about 1,200 to between 500 and 600.

Under the new proposal, the base of the building would only occupy half of the 2.5-acres purchased for the development. The building would stand on the corner now occupied by the Village Corner convenience store and other shops on South Forest Street.

Councilmember Stephen Rapundalo (D-Ward 2) said during a pre-council caucus meeting held Sunday night that community outcry was “by far the most prevailing reason” developers decided to downsize the plan, but said the poor state of the current housing market may have also been a factor in their decision.

“We’re surmising they went back and did their math,” he said of the project, originally slated to cost $150-million.

The project’s developers, Dan Ketalaar and Ron Hughes, did not attend the caucus and could not be reached for comment Sunday night.

The complex would still include underground parking for residents, Rapundalo said, though the number will be reduced from 250 to 90 spaces.

In an interview, Councilmember Leigh Greden (D-Ward 3) called the new proposal “a vast improvement from the previous plan.”

Greden said the developers will likely ask the City Council to delay the final vote on the proposal until its Oct. 20 meeting to give the developers more time to meet with city planning staff about the specifics of the revised proposal.

Because the original plans were up to code, the previous proposal would almost certainly have passed, he said.

“The developer was sensitive to the concerns being expressed by the city council and the neighborhoods regarding the scope of the project,” Greden said.

Greden said city officials have worked with developers in the past week to develop two revisions to the previous plan.

“This all happened in the past 72 hours,” he said.

The proposal has undergone several rounds of revisions since it was first brought to the city last January. The development, originally named University Village, has morphed from a three-tower complex with a maximum height of 22 stories, to an L-shaped complex with a maximum height of 25 stories, to the most recent 14-story plan.

City officials and residents have expressed concern that the building is too tall compared to the surrounding neighborhood, that it would add too much traffic to an already-congested section of the city, and that the building would create a “wind tunnel” effect.

This fall, some members of the Michigan Student Assembly joined the opposition to the project.

MSA Vice President Arvind Sohoni and Student General Counsel Michael Benson introduced a resolution against “601 Forest” in September. An informal discussion of the project was held during last week’s meeting, but the measure was not brought to a vote due to low attendance.

“The biggest issue I have with this is that students were not involved in the whole process,” he said.

Robert Snyder, president of the South University Neighborhood Association, said the association has been opposed to the project since it was first proposed not just because of the building’s height, but because the development has been marketed toward a small class of wealthy students.

Snyder said he suspected that the developers feared they could not pay for the $150-million development.

“I’m not sure what caused them to suddenly downsize,” he said. “I suspect they couldn’t get financing.”

Several members of the neighborhood association, as well as residents of Forest Court and the Burns Park Neighborhood Associations, have attended public hearings of city council to voice their concerns.

— Daily News Editor Kelly Fraser contributed to this report.

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