Battle over 84-year-old Ann Arbor apartment building begins in earnest

To redevelop or not redevelop, that is the question.

The battle over the future of the Anberay apartment building, commonly known as "Melrose Place" among University of Michigan students, has begun in earnest.

The Ann Arbor City Council began a public hearing Monday night on the site plans for the Zaragon Place Lofts project, which would replace Anberay. The City Council will continue the public hearing on June 4 and is set to make a decision on the apartment building's fate then.

Anberay is on East University Avenue behind Pizza House and less than a block north of East Quad. Chicago-based developer Zaragon Inc. wants to tear down Anberay, an 84-year-old three-story art deco structure, and build a new 10-story structure in its place. The new building would have 66 apartments in 100,000 square feet of space, along with ground-floor retail space and 40 underground parking spaces. It would nearly triple the 23 apartments, mostly occupied by students, in Anberay.

Students and city residents have rallied to save Anberay. They claim it's historic and its proposed replacement would be out of place in the surrounding neighborhood, which is largely filled with two and three-story structures. The city's planning commission unanimously recommended rejecting the project's site plan earlier this year because of a lack of windows for interior bedrooms and the proposed retail space not extended to the north property line, among other issues. Zaragon Inc representatives did not return calls for comment. 

For information on the June 4 public hearing, call (734) 994-2650.

Source: City of Ann Arbor

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