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415 W. Washington Street

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Site Context
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415 W. Washington is located along the southside of W. Washington Street between S. 1st and 3rd Streets in Ann Arbor.  Portions of the eastern edge of the property sit within the floodway, while the remaining property is in the floodplain.  The property is currently occupied by a parking lot and U-shaped buildings. Portions of the buildings are used to store City of Ann Arbor and Republic Parking Services (RPS) materials and equipment and may have sub-surface environmental concerns.  The buildings have been approved for demolition except for the existing Chimney which currently serves as habitat for a threatened bird species known as chimney swift. The remaining site is currently managed by the DDA as a paid surface parking lot. Key adjacent uses include the YMCA to the north, the old west side historic district to the west, a growing creative and entertainment district to the east, and an existing heavy rail line that parallels the preferred path of the treeline greenway trail.  The site is currently master planned as D2 zoning which allows approximately 6 stories and 200% Floor Area Ratio.  Because the site sits within the floodplain and is adjacent to a railroad track, state and federal subsidies for affordable housing are very unlikely on this site.            

The City is considering the following objectives for redeveloping 415 W. Washington

  • Preserve Chimney Swift Habitat
  • Maximize park space
  • Engage the Treeline Trail
  • Fit in with existing adjacent building heights and scales
  • Fit in with existing setbacks along Washington
  • Embrace W Washington Street
  • Maximize market rate residential
  • Provide adequate buffer to adjacent single family housing
  • Maximize affordable housing units for 60% AMI households on site
  • Sell the property and use proceeds for affordable housing on another city-owned property
  • Remediate any potential environmental contaminations
Previous Options
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Preferred Option
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Preferred Option Summary

-415 W Washington has multiple site challenges that reduce the footprint available for development and increase the cost of development including demolition, preservation of a chimney for the Chimney Swift, brownfield contamination, floodway & floodplain and preservation of land for a public greenway.  

-The preferred option develops approximately 1.68 acres of land in the floodplain/flood fringe (built above flood level), and preserves the entire floodway (approximately .89 acres) for open space and the Treeline Trail

-The preferred option recommends rezoning to D2

-The preferred option removes the approximately 150 existing at-grade paid parking spaces from site

-The preferred option removes the approximately 150 existing at-grade parking spaces from site

-The preferred option demolishes all existing buildings on site with the exception of the chimney

-The preferred option provides approximately 175 residential units and approximately 1 parking space per unit

-The preferred option dedicates nearly 1/3 of the property to the Treeline Trail, will seek to preserve existing chimney swift habitat, utilize brownfield redevelopment incentives to remediate adverse environmental impacts, and reflect all current building requirements for flood area design.

Summary Comments from Engagement

-Consider the Treeline Trail passing through this site at grade, not as an above-grade trail through this section as shown in the Treeline Master Plan.

-Utilize the entire floodway section through this site for the Treeline Trail.

-In general, comments were supportive of more housing units allowed within D2 zoning regulations  as long as development is done in a way that fits within adjacent building heights, character and setbacks.

Next steps

-On April 20, 2020, City Council postponed a resolution until July 2020 directing the City Administrator, AAHC, and Planning Commission to create proposed application materials, review and recommend development entitlements to the City Council. The resolution was tabled to give staff additional time to have further meetings with the Treeline Conservancy and the immediately adjacent neighbors.

-Additional conversations will take place with the Treeline Conservancy Board

-Additional community engagement will take place with residents that live within 1,000 feet of 415 W. Washington


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