The church on Church
1131 Church Street
Price tag — $2,900 a month

The murals in the historic Alonzo Palmer House at 205 North Division Street are thought to date back to the 19th century.
A little white church was renovated to make the three-apartment rental at 1131 Church Street.
The living room of the attic apartment in the Palmer House.
Jones Properties just renovated their house at 727 Oakland Avenue, throwing in a built-in stereo system and flat-screen TV.
The facade of the renovated church on Church Street.
The lofts at 101 West Liberty Street are in the building that used to be the Ann Arbor YMCA.

Walk to the end of Church Street, away from the debauchery of Back Room and Rick’s and you will happen upon a renovated church, complete with bright red doors, a large bay window and a steeple.

From its little-white-church facade to a nicely renovated interior, this three-apartment house is certainly not typical student housing With beautiful hardwood floors, large windows, a second floor balcony and 25-foot ceilings, it is the kind of house you would dream about buying when you’re 40 rather than rent at 21.

The most notable space is apartment 101, the four-bedroom unit in the front that contains the steeple. Featuring a comfortable living space, the apartment has two unusual bedrooms that could be seen as assets or turn offs. One bedroom, at the top of a small staircase leading up into the steeple is rather small, but has two windows and also makes for a great pick-up line. A bedroom on the second floor is huge, with room enough for three people. But while sharing a room with multiple people doesn’t make for a good pick-up line, there is enough space between twin beds so not to resemble a Markley triple, and the room also has a large interior window that looks out into the living room.

Owned by QR Management, the house comes furnished with desks, beds, two couches, a brand new washer and dryer, a refrigerator, and one and a half bathrooms. Tenants pay for all utilities.
—Kristen Steagall

From racquetball to bachelor pad
101 West Liberty Street
Price tag — $275,152 for a three-bedroom unit

The brick building at 101 West Liberty has come a long way from the days when it was the Ann Arbor YMCA.

Converted to commercial and residential space in 1998, it now houses a Starbucks, the Black Pearl Martini lounge and luxury condominiums that some well-off University students choose over traditional student neighborhoods.

Looking to make a long-term investment, LSA junior Will Stone purchased a loft on the third story last January. Now he shares the apartment with his cat, Boss, and two friends whom he charges $600 a month each for the two spare bedrooms.

The apartment’s 24-foot ceiling and pale parquet floors are mementos of the space’s former life as a racquetball court. A poplar staircase, second-floor landing and 10-foot vertical windows give the 1,186 sq. foot apartment an airy and urban appeal.

In a few months, Stone will have completed an extensive remodeling of the bathroom adjacent to the master bedroom upstairs. He plans to eliminate the upstairs landing to extend the bathroom, installing an oversize shower and replacing the landing’s half wall that looks down to the living room with a window to preserve a sense of openness.

“I decided that privacy is probably an issue for a bathroom,” Stone said, gazing through the holes in the unfinished wall. “So there’s gonna be a switch when you walk into the bathroom that’s going to switch (the glass) from transparent to opaque.”

The best feature of the loft, Stone said, is its location off of Main Street, which feels more like an urban center than a college town, is only a 10-minute walk from campus.

“You just walk outside and anything you want is right there,” he said.
— Sara Lynne Thelen

Keeping up with the Jones
727 Oakland Avenue
Price tag — $3,950 a month

On the corner of Hill Street and Oakland Avenue, on the edge of the “student ghetto,” is a house that would fit perfectly in a yuppie suburb: fresh paint and siding, a porch swing, a lawn without scattered solo cups and cigarette butts.

That’s the image the owners — Jones Properties — is trying to cultivate: one of a home rather than a house.

One such home is at 727 Oakland, a three-story house that contains two apartments. Renovated last summer, this house comes with some exceptional amenities like a flat-screen TV and a built in stereo system with speakers attached to the walls.

Walking into the five-bedroom apartment on the first floor is like stepping into an idyllic Midwestern kitchen — a color scheme that matches the walls, counter tops, appliances and cupboards.

When owner Dan Jones renovated the house himself, he added a second full bathroom, air conditioning, HD cable service and a stereo system in the living room.

“We think that there are a lot of properties available to students where landlords are charging a premium fee without premium services,” Jones Properties employee Joe Burgess said. “Rent is going up but quality is going down.”

Engineering junior Matt Staton, who lives in 727 Oakland house, said he appreciates the company’s extra efforts to please tenants.

“The house feels brand new,” he said.
—Emily Barton

Eclectic meets historic
205 North Division Street
Price tag — $1,995 to $4,395 a month

The Alonzo Palmer House has had several residents since 1850, when it was purchased and expanded by Alonzo Palmer, a University School of Medicine faculty member. The thing that sets this historic house apart from others in the neighborhood is that the interior has had just as many different looks.

From the attic apartment with a wood A-frame ceiling and built in bar to the renovated carriage house with exposed brick, Palmer House’s four apartments each have a unique aesthetic.

At the front of the house, apartment two’s expansive countryside mural winds up the wall into a bedroom. Francis Clark, the president of Wilson White Management, which leases the house, said the mural represents the original Palmer family’s struggle to leave their old home and assimilate into a new country.

The Palmer House is one of the few buildings in Ann Arbor in which even the interior is has been historically preserved because of its apartment 2 mural.

To accompany this central masterpiece, walls and vaulted ceilings are accented with impressive wood molding and a brown, beige and cream color theme. The apartment’s windows are hung with long curtains and different window treatments, like one front window that’s dressed in rustic evergreen and gold curtains with a brass-colored crown.

The brickwork in the neighboring four-person carriage house adds to its warm, old-fashioned feeling. Thick brick tiles line the floor of the kitchen, a theme continued along the walls of the second and third stories. Beautiful tall white windows let in a stream of light on the second floor landing’s polished wood floor.
—Kara Morris

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