The Varsity apartment project kicks off in Ann Arbor

If you seek a denser downtown, The Varsity, a 13-story, 173-unit apartment building intended to house about 418 residents – mainly students – may be next on Ann Arbor's horizon.  

The 178,380-square foot project under development by Potomac Holdings of Bethesda, Md., has just undergone a design review by the city's new design review board. It's intended to replace the squat two-story Ann Arbor Professional Building at 425 E. Washington Street, a block away from the University of Michigan campus.

Plan documents call for a masonry exterior with cast stone, glass, and metal accents. The grounds will have a pedestrian plaza and a mews, or walkway. There will be a two-level parking garage with 77 spaces, one level below and one above grade.

Other features for the swank-minded include interior bike storage, a double-height lobby, and top-floor lounge and patio. Units range in size from studios to four bedrooms.

The plans do not call for any commercial uses. "The Ann Arbor Design Review Board... suggested that ground floor retail would help to further enliven the plaza area on the south side of the building. The project design team said they would take the suggestion into consideration but it is really a decision for the developer to make," Ann Arbor City Planner Alexis DiLeo says in an email.

The project team will hold a citizen participation meeting on July 7 and then submit a site plan to the city's planning service department on July 25. Barring any major issues raised during the staff review, the petition should be presented at the September 20 city planning commission meeting and will then go before city council in November, DiLeo says.

Source: Alexis DiLeo, Ann Arbor city planner
Writer: Tanya Muzumdar
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