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350 S. Fifth Avenue

(Former y lot)

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Site Context
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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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