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Sunday, February 27, 2005


Chopping Block:
TCF Bank, South Division Street (between Liberty and Washington)

According to the Ann Arbor News, it looks like it is only a matter of time before TCF Bank moves their headquarters out of Ann Arbor. Following the recent sale of their building to McKinley (see below post), TCF gets about two years before they'll be kicked to the curb. At that point, it looks like they'll be searching for a town in Michigan with cheaper land. We hear the Upper Peninsula is nice.


City News:
According to the Ann Arbor News, major changes are afoot for the TCF Bank building and its surrounding area on South Division Street (between Liberty and Washington). Included in the plans for office space and banking space are promises of new "retail shops and restaurants." It looks like the developer, McKinley, cannot resist the urge to amp up lease prices (they surmise it'll be the same as South State Street). This likely means that the only restaurants and retail shops that can afford to move in are national chains and franchises.

Friday, February 25, 2005


City News:
According to the Ann Arbor News, the Downtown Development Authority has revised their parking deal with the City. Instead of paying $109,000 per year for the 279 parking spots that the DDA sells to downtown residents as permit parking (which they sell to residents at $108/month), the DDA will now be paying $1,000,000. I did my calculations and this means each spot would cost the DDA $3,584, and who knows how much they'd be selling the spots for.

I can't imagine that these numbers are right. It seems too absurdly priced, even for Ann Arbor. So please feel free to correct me on my math or shed some light on what the real deal is.

Sunday, February 20, 2005


Unveiled:
The Gandy Dancer, Depot and Broadway

Looks like the Gandy Dancer is owned by the same folks who own the Rainforest Cafe and Joe's Crab Shack (Lohr Road, just off Ann Arbor-Saline Road).


Unveiled:
See Eyewear, State Street (between William and Liberty)

It saddens us to report that trendy, hip See is actually a division of cheap-o eyeglass chain D.O.C.

Friday, February 18, 2005


The Hunt:
Liberty Lofts, First Avenue and Liberty Street

Here's an email sent out to people who sign up on the Liberty Lofts website:

Liberty Lofts is Ann Arbor's premier address for stylish in-town living.
Choose from extraordinary historic or new-construction lofts located
downtown at 1st & Liberty. Move in during 2006 & start enjoying the city's
excitement sooner!

When only the best will do, indulge yourself in leading-edge luxury at the
hot new Liberty Lofts. You'll love what you see:
*** Spectacular open floorplans with soaring ceilings ***
*** Panoramic views from huge walls of windows ***
*** Granite, hardwood & designer finishes ***
*** Private balconies & terraces ***
*** Heated indoor parking ***
*** Fitness center ***
*** & much more! ***

New Openings:
Mellow Mushroom, Washington Street (between Fourth and Fifth)

The on-again, off-again signs for the opening of this pizza joint are officially "on-again." The sign out front reads "Coming Shroom." Clever. But the real question is "How Shroom?" And that is anybody's guess.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005



From Local to Franchise:
Sweetwater's Cafe (a.k.a. Sweetwater's Coffee and Tea), Washington Street (between Main and Ashley) and coming soon to the Kerrytown Shops

The Washtenaw County edition of the Michigan Business Review a few weeks back announced Sweetwater's first franchise location, set to open in the Kerrytown Shops in April. Currently there are non-franchise locations of Sweetwater's in Saline and Royal Oak, in addition to the downtown Ann Arbor location.



Franchise Invasion:
Smoothie King, Fourth Avenue (between Ann and Catherine)

Not open yet but excellent smoothies, highly endorsed. So no pissing on the franchise this time. Try the Angel Food smoothie.


The Hunt:
Liberty Lofts, First Avenue and Liberty Street
Loft322, Liberty Street (between Fifth and Division)

Looks like there are two new residential buildings housing loft apartments set to open in 2006 and both will be on Liberty Street.

Sunday, February 13, 2005


Name Change:
Standard Federal Bank, various locations

According to Crain's Detroit Business, Standard Federal Bank is going to be changing its name to LaSalle Bank Midwest. Not very exciting but hey.