Ann Arbor $50 Million Mixed-Use Building in the Works

Property owner Phil Sotiroff is hoping to convert his building on 1320 S. University into a $50 million mixed-use building in Ann Arbor, which would bring more student housing and encourage greater walkability and density to the South University Downtown Area.

Ann Arbor, Mich.—Property owner Phil Sotiroff is hoping to convert his building on 1320 S. University into a $50 million mixed-use building in Ann Arbor, which would bring more student housing and encourage greater walkability and density to the South University Downtown Area.

“There’s a tremendous need for more student housing,” Tina Bassett of Bassett & Bassett Inc., a spokesperson for the project, tells MHN. “The Gateway will allow students to live in a wonderful environment close to campus, where they can walk downtown and take advantage of the goals and vision of a vibrant downtown.”

The 1320 S. University site currently contains Park Plaza Apartments, a small two-story student housing building.

The Gateway, which will be designed by Brad Moore of Ann Arbor-based J Bradley Moore & Associates, would house as many as 500 tenants and include 6,000+ square feet of retail space at ground level with an outdoor cafe. The proposal calls for a building of 145 feet in height with approximately 17,500 square feet on each floor.

Amenities in the proposal include an exercise studio, a lounge/community room, an entertainment center and parking.

A snag in the plans is that in order to build a 145-foot tall building, Sotiroff must overcome a zoning obstacle: the site is located in the city’s D2 zoning district, which has a height limit of 60 feet. Sotiroff is looking to have the property rezoned from D2 to D1, which would allow the building to reach 150 feet.

“All of the buildings in the downtown district on South University were zoned D1, which meant you could do any height you wanted to go,” Bassett says. “Originally, this building was part of the Landmark Plan but they rezoned it to D2, even though the Planning Commission repeatedly recommended D1 zoning for the site.”

The Landmark is a 14-story building at 1300 S. University that originally was planned as an ambitious high-rise development that the proposed Gateway property was a part of. It was eventually scaled back with 1320 S. University Ave. having its zoning changed.

The new Gateway proposal is scheduled to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals on Oct. 24 to request variances that would permit a building permissible under D-1 regulations but with added restrictions.

“We are very excited and pleased to be able to offer a building of this quality to Ann Arbor,” Sotiroff says. “The area is in transition and the time is right to bring newer, better, and safer student housing closer to the campus.”

The Gateway would be located next to the new Landmark building near the corner of Washtenaw and South University, although no official plans have been presented.

“This will help revitalize South University and bring people back there,” Bassett says. “This whole area needs this kind of redevelopment. South University is where students thrive.”