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350 S. Fifth Avenue

(Former y lot)

Site Context
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350 S. Fifth Avenue is in the Pre-Entitlement Phase.

The Ann Arbor Housing Commission is proposing to rezone 350 S. Fifth Avenue as part of a pre-entitlement process, directed by City Council, to allow for the development of a minimum of 120 affordable housing units as part of a two phase mixed-income project. The downtown location and adjacency to the Blake Transit Center and William Street Bikeway also provide unique opportunities to emphasize alternative transportation and mobility.  The anticipated submission of the rezoning application is summer 2021.

An Online Resident Participation meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 10, 2021, 5:30-7:30 PM via WWW.Zoom.COM. Meeting ID: 969 9665 7994 Passcode: 782575 | audio only call toll free: (877) 853-5247

Click to view: Online Resident Participation Meeting flier

The project will be discussed at the June 14, 2021 City Council Work Session.

Click to view: City Council presentation

  • May 1, 2018, R-18-173 resolution of intent to utilize the property to develop the greatest quantity and quality of affordable and workforce housing.
  • July 1, 2019, R-19-320 to contract with SmithGroup to conduct public engagement, develop potential building concepts, and evaluate feasibility of developing the site
  • April 20, 2020, R-20-139 directs the AAHC to develop the property that reflects D1 downtown core zoning district, incorporating concepts generated through the community engagement process, work with staff and planning commission to realize development of the property
  • Next Steps: The AAHC, DDA, AAATA, and planning staff continue to work through a PUD rezoning process to develop the necessary flexibility and supplemental controls needed to achieve multiple site goals while providing for resident and council input prior to issuing a developer RFP with clear community-supported goals and expectations.  We anticipate community engagement in April 2021 and Council engagement in August 2021 prior to issuing a potential developer RFP in October 2022. The expectation will be a housing project that adds more than 100 affordable units in downtown, supports public transit operations at Blake Transit Center and reinforces the DDA’s complete streets plan.


The City of Ann Arbor recently re-acquired 350 S. Fifth Avenue, commonly referred to as the former Y Lot. The site was home to the Ann Arbor YMCA from 1960-2005 until the current YMCA opened at the current West Washington site.  The former YMCA building was demolished in 2008, including 100 affordable units associated with the former building.  The site has served as a surface parking lot and has been at the forefront of several redevelopment considerations over the last decade. The City Council recently adopted Resolution R-18-173 outlining the priorities and criteria for redevelopment of the lot.  The site is currently zoned D1, allowing 400% Floor Area Ratio (a percentage of building area to ground area) and approximately 900% Floor Area Ratio and approximately 18 story building heights with affordable housing bonuses.  Key adjacent uses include the Blake Transit Center to the north, Downtown Library to the east, significant parking structures to the west and northeast, the new William Street bikeway to the south, and lower density uses south of William Street.          

The City is considering the following objectives for redeveloping the former Y Lot:

  • Maximize affordable housing units
  • Maximize market rate housing
  • Develop a mix of housing types and prices
  • Expand the Blake Transit Center
  • Activate the ground floor for public benefit
  • Maintain some city ownership/control
  • Recapture the cost of purchase
  • Appropriately scale down to the lower density area south of William Street

Previous Options
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Preferred Option
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Preferred Option Summary

-The size of the site is large and can support a significant number of affordable housing units  

-The site scores competitively for potential 9% LIHTC financing

-The preferred option utilizes D1 zoning with density bonuses by right

-The preferred option does not develop over Blake Transit Center but does provide an additional transit bay for Blake expansion of off-street services

-The preferred option includes an east and west building with the taller east building stepped back from William Street

-The preferred option provides 418 housing units with a minimum of 130 affordable units (31%)

-The preferred option provides an approximate floor area ratio (FAR) of 800%, below the 900% allowable by right

-The preferred option includes two building towers that are 13 stories (west) and 18 stories (east) tall

Summary Comments from Engagement

-Overall willingness to maximize the building density on this site in order to optimize affordable housing

-Orient building(s) in a way that does not have a large building mass at the corner of William St. and 5th Ave.

-Re-building and/or building over Blake Transit Center may add too much complexity to the project

-Consider additional options to add even more affordability to the project

Next Steps

-On April 20, 2020, City Council approved resolution R-20-139 directing the City Administrator, AAHC, and Planning Commission to create proposed application materials, review and recommend development entitlements to the City Council.


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