By Jeffrey Steele, Contributing Writer
Ann Arbor, Mich.—The first market rate luxury apartment building to come to downtown Ann Arbor in the past quarter century will be built by Village Green. The 155-unit Ann Arbor City Apartments is the company’s third apartment community in Ann Arbor, and will carry Village Green’s “City” brand, denoting a rental community targeted to young urban professionals, and also serving corporate relocation needs.
“The issue is fundamentally, is this a great location, is this an important city, is this where employers are growing, is this where young professionals live, work and play? The answer to all these questions is ‘yes,’” Village Green chairman and CEO Jonathan Holtzman tells MHN. “The city of Ann Arbor has outperformed all other cities in Michigan, historically.”
Ann Arbor is home to the University of Michigan and its Medical Center, Domino’s Pizza world headquarters, and many employers in the automotive engineering and other high-tech industries.
Ann Arbor City Apartments will provide a luxury rental housing choice not now available in Ann Arbor. It should lure additional renters to the downtown district and enhance the excitement of an already vibrant city. “Throughout the country, unique brand-new urban apartments are another compelling reason professional people are moving back to the urban cities,” Holtzman observes.
Ann Arbor City Apartments will offer a mix of studio, alcove, one- and two-bedroom and penthouse apartments. Residences will feature hardwood floors, 9- to 11-foot-high ceilings, three distinct color and finish packages and what the company terms “sexy bathrooms.” The community’s lobby will exude the look and feel of a boutique hotel, and other common area amenities will include a professional-level fitness area, “Sky Park” with indoor and outdoor space, outdoor Zen garden and business conference room. All common areas will be Wi-Fi accessible and available around the clock 365 days a year.
Among the project’s challenges is that of constructing the community in a dense downtown rather than suburban setting. Another hurdle is creating a new 244-space parking structure as part of the project. “We’re building a parking deck for the city, and building our apartment community atop that,” Holtzman says.
“We have to satisfy two users. With two different owners, it’s a bit more challenging.”
Village Green officials and Ann Arbor mayor John Hieftje are in agreement on the advisability of bringing more permanent residents to the city’s downtown.
“You need more people living in the city, who can walk to the restaurants, walk to the retail stores, walk to the culture, and walk to the work,” Holtzman says. “People living in the city benefit the city in so many ways.”
In suburban areas, renters are sometimes thought of as second-class citizens, Holtzman says. It’s very different in urban areas, which really embrace the young professional renter. “It’s energizing to the city,” he adds. “Then employers want to come to that city, because you have young people living in the city. There’s mutual benefit.”