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The developers worked to meet some goals of the ReImagine Washtenaw initiative , including putting the buildings close to the street and breaking the center into several smaller buildings. Nathan Voght , project manager for ReImagine Washtenaw, said that kind of design helps to create a walkable environment and promotes sidewalk interest.
The eventual goal, Voght said, is that developments in the Washtenaw corridor will have stores with direct entrances from the sidewalk and zero or minimal setbacks. As part of the plans, a traffic light is being installed at the Platt Road intersection, and a covered bus stop will be located on Washtenaw outside the center. There will be 30 covered bicycle spaces and new public sidewalks. The developers are restoring the wetlands on the site, which will have a viewing platform for the public.
The approved plans include parking spaces, but Reiswerg said there could be slightly more than that. The tenants in the center include a mix of national, regional and local businesses, many of which have been circling the Ann Arbor real estate market for years. The developers have 15 signed leases and Reiswerg said he is in various stages of negotiations with other tenants. There is room for about 22 or 23 businesses, depending on how space is divided.
The developers declined to reveal their asking lease rate. There will be three restaurants with outdoor patios and two of those are confirmed: The interior of the Brooks Brothers Flatiron location in New York City shortly after its grand opening in the fall of For many of the tenants, this will be their first location in Ann Arbor, although about half are located in the Somerset Collection.
Greg Teed , chief operating officer of Arhaus Furniture , said his store is making the jump from Arborland Center to Arbor Hills for one main reason: The architecture at the Arbor Hills development fits well with that vision, he added.
Retail is a constantly evolving industry. The big-box heyday has likely passed, and some independent retailers in downtown Ann Arbor have struggled to compete with larger chains and the rise of online shopping. One of the under-construction Arbor Hills buildings on Washtenaw Avenue. Briarwood already has responded to that pressure with the announcement of several upscale tenants and a plan to renovate the mall this year. It also will be interesting to see how the development alters the traffic on Washtenaw, which some residents say is already congested during peak hours due to its role as a key connector from U.
Mostly, Reiswerg believes Arbor Hills will fill the upscale niche for shoppers in the Ann Arbor area. An aerial photo of the Arbor Hills property shows the buildings in relation to the Huron Village center across the street. Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for AnnArbor. Reach her at or email her at lizzyalfs annarbor. Follow her on Twitter at http: It seems to me that all these stores are nothing new to the Ann Arbor retail landscape.
Ann Arbor has a very high median income - why not bring more upscale stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, or smaller luxury brand stores? Again, the big money will be spent outside of Ann Arbor which is a shame.
I live in the area near this new shopping center. Have you ever tried to turn onto Washtenaw from Arlington? Have you had to wait a very long time for the traffic light at that intersection? Do you know the number of accidents that already occur in that area?
THis is a disaster for traffic. Does the city council really believe that one traffic light at Platt and some bicycle parking spots will handle this? I am not opposed to developing Ann Arbor, however, this seems like an unbelieveably poor decision. I do not see a real plan for handling traffic that is already horrible in that location. Why is no one addressing this?
I just don't understand why this isn't being dealt with. Where are you City Council??!!! I think the plan is to make our everyday life more difficult with horrendous traffic.
Yet those shops still have plenty of business. To each his own tastes. This complex brings diversity to the city. No point focusing on one big Borders store to fail at a future date.
Let's avoid leaning on the car horn though, as much as Bostonians do. I've travelled to Boston,and recently. We have here a strip mall on a sprawly thoroughfare in atown of where the downtown has veen converted into food establishments and expensive housing hirises for students.
Strip malls are the consequence Just what this area needs - more retail space. There isn't enough vacant space already? I would argue that these tenants are different. I expect there won't be much vacancy in this center. Many of the tenants going in here probably have long-term corporately backed leases and are the kinds of stores Anthropologie, Lulu, Brooks Brothers that don't close before their leases expire. The two restaurants going in have proven track records and are very successful.
Might be interesting to know why these exciting businesses opted for Washtenaw as opposed to State, Liberty or Main street? One of the reasons I'm positive about this development is that the developers have been cooperating with AATA and, I'm guessing, with ReImagine Washtenaw so that an improved bus stop is present.
The signalization of the intersection at Platt is a big plus too. As Lou Glorie mentions, there are a lot of people living nearby and this will be relatively accessible - plus the new traffic signal should make it much more feasible for pedestrian access to the other side of the road as well. Yes, I wish we still had a thriving retail downtown, but that seems to be a thing of the past.
A concentration of shops in a place where at least some walking is possible is a good thing. I'm with you Vivienne. I'm sure some of these tenants must have looked downtown, too, but instead chose to be in a center with some other like-minded businesses.
I do wish downtown retail could thrive! It's where I spend all my time. Alot of hooplah about this fancy strip mall which, is at least being built. If you all want to comment on something and take up a cause, go over and take a look at poor old GeorgeTown Mall.
Oh yes, it's still there on Packard near King George Blvd. Still rotting away in that hole in the ground. The ownerof that property must be related to all of City Council and the Mayor. He continues to get away with urban murder. Let's get some hooplah going again on this disaster. Law is right about the Georgetown Mall. It was supposed to be demolished last September or October or February or March. The one that is never standing vertical. And recently it received a cosmetic upgrade with some graffiti that the city will do nothing about.
Because it isn't downtown. Still waiting for my first reply This is still not very accessible without a car. Taking the bus is also not that convenient; a round trip by bus requires that you cross Washtenaw on foot maybe with your hands full of shopping bags to get to the stop on the other side for your return trip.
I am not optimistic about this shopping center. Tricky weather or not I think you can make that. The point is, it's just another strip mall. More of the same sprawl-inducing type of development that already plagues southeast Michigan. Of course, it could be worse. This is the silliness I'm talking about. You can't walk across the street from the bus stop??
Don't take the bus if don't want to and I don't either but recognize that thousands of people here and millions elsewhere do it each day with no difficulties. You will be crossing Washtenaw on foot at a newly-installed controlled intersection at Platt. Even with your hands full of lululemon bags you should still be able to negotiate it.
A very good start. I do think that city government policy and greater real estate trends both contributed to this more community and pedestrian-friendly layout. I hope that other shopping centers in the region will head in this direction when they upgrade their properties.
What makes you believe that Arbor Hills more community and pedestrian-friendly? The distances from other destinations along Washtenaw Avenue are too great for most pedestrians to travel, especially if they will be carrying packages. Certainly the new mall can ad to congestion along Washtenaw Avenue which will also be slowed by the additional traffic light at Platt and Washtenaw.
It's so tiring to read again and again about the horrible traffic and parking, about how no one will go there because too many people are going there Yogi Berra applauds you. Have you never been outside Washtenaw County? The rest of the world, you know, with thriving economies, deals with traffic that makes this stretch look like a simple country lane I'm excited to see this development.
Seems like most of the roads I've seen in the rest of the world are a lot better too, though; even though the rest of the world also seems to have lower property taxes somehow.
Just because the rest of the world lives with bad traffic doesn't mean that we should rush to join them. Unless they solve the traffic problem on Washtenaw Avenue, you won't catch me shopping there anytime soon. Bad enough trying to find parking to shop at Whole Foods, let alone now trying to shop at this new retail center. Maybe even enclosed cross walks with rooftop access would spark more pedestrian traffic from Ann Arbor Hills residents. I'd also like to point out a phenomenon I've discovered with developments that are below heavily traveled roads; That is the settling of exhaust fumes which I guess are heavier than air.
I noticed this at the park on the corner of Ellsworth and Platt roads, across from the refuse station. The park sits well below road level and the exhaust fumes are more than noticeable. Seems this might be an issue since it looks like part of this development will be below Washtenaw road level too. The list of tenants link in the article doesn't work. I'd like to know if there is any reason for me to ever shop here or not.
If this ends up being nothing more than another collection of restaurants and women's clothing and accessory stores, count me out. Nothing upscale for men?
Has anyone noticed at cultural affairs and major social functions, the women are usually a class act and the men look like they just came in off the back forty. A2 men wouldn't shop there anyway. It's gonna alter the traffic patterns, that's for sure I am a regular shopper at Whole Foods and guess I am the demographic these stores are aiming for -- but I hate driving on Washtenaw Avenue.
I was going to suggest taking Platt and entering the shopping center from there, but since you won't even cross Washtenaw by car, I guess that option is out. No worries, though, I'm sure, in order to appease your demographic, a pedestrian bridge is in the works.
I am very excited about a new traffic light at Platt and Washtenaw. We don't need any more people killed at a badly planned pedestrian crosswalk. In fact, the city of AA should put push-button lights at every pedestrian crosswalk like the one on Huron and it won't cost a penny. Washtenaw 17 is a state trunk line road. As such, a2 would need permission from the State of Michigan to install push-button lights. The way I read the law that existing pedestrian cross walk isn't even legal unless the state approved it.
I hope that this new mall will persuade them that they don't need their cars to get there. Otherwise efforts to draw pedestrians to the area could be thwarted by the oppressiveness of that infrastructure. Maybe this mall would be willing to work with Jeannine Palms in starting a farmers market on the parking lot.
Hey Jeannine--what do you think? Lots of possibilities here. Just curious as to how they are measured. Unless the tenants are clothing stores and card shops, any successful retailer will fill those little parking lots in no time. The only thing the City can do now is for City Council and the City Planning Department to write open letters to residents apologizing for their incompetence and explain to us all how they will avoid screwing up the next one!!
Lou, that's a very positive vision. Thanks for sharing it. I'm not clear on what council would have the power to do relative to that intersection. Do you have something in mind beyond what's already in place, policy-wise and is just beginning to get implemented? PART 2 In this case, the architects understanding of the City's planning cook book appears to have caused massive stone walls along Washtenaw Ave, something we all know pedestrians love when sandwiched against a 5 lane suburban highway.
Why was the architect who designed the Whole Foods shopping center across the street able to tell last year's green fashion conscious planner his ordinance cook book was moronic and the stores needed to set far back from the highway?
A generation following those who forced retail isolated from neighborhoods and surrounded by landscape berms Novi, Canton, Farmington Hills , now present Michigan with the next gimmick - cramming stores up to sidewalks as they imagine high speed, 5 lane Washenaw Avenue highway becomes a strolling storefront shopping of Birmingham!
Questioned with any depth or common sense, this gimmick quickly falls apart into what it is, utter nonsense. So after this train wreck is cemented into Ann Arbor for generations, will planner's of Washtenaw County and City of Ann Arbor leaned from their incompetence? Will retailers hire better architects next time? This is only one of many many examples of the government based planners making a mess of our communities.
The answer is the opposite - that zoning ordinances should be vastly more flexible and embrace good planning and design from the private sector rather then crush it into much of the mindless crap we see today. If you need to get into your car and drive somewhere to get loaf of bread or gallon of milk, someone at City Hall screwed up. AA liberals live in a make believe land where government knows best, business exists to fund their grand plans — see Communist Manifesto — and good design is only possible after the volumes of regulatory cook books tell private business what to do.
It would not be surprising in the least for government to demand private retail business put windows on all sides and even wider sidewalks. No knowledge of retail operation, design or quality urban planning necessary!! LOL Washtenaw Avenue is a highway!
Your point that there are thousands living near by who can't wait to jump on their bikes and ride over is hilariously misguided as it is irrelevant. Nobody but a few nuts would ride their bikes or walk in that area.
Stay tuned for decades more embarrassing garbage to be constructed in Ann Arbor for years to come…. I think my neighborhood would sign in and eventually others. I'm with you on the blank walls facing Washtenaw.
I've tried focusing on the positive aspects of this development, but this is a major flaw. Sidewalks need to be wider to promote flanerie. Certainly we don't know how the final expression will come together yet, but so far the image along Washtenaw is something like an urban prison. We may be close to one more very painful lesson about the kind of clueless, cook book planning and weak willed architects that brought us so many horrible environments in southeast Michigan we are now collectively stuck with for generations.
Anyone could see that the site was complicated, with significant slopes in several directions. Planners don't get slopes — they like nice, simple, 2D site plans. If the democrat's deconstruction of America has taught us anything, it's that mother government knows best. Certainly such inspired government planning, what could go wrong!?
Every time I drive by there it still shocks me to see buildings there. Especially by the park center across from Arby's. Just hope the traffic does not increase, which it will. You just drive by it? The gas station across from it was really attracting motorists today, selling gasoline for 20 cents less than all the other gas stations on Washtenaw to the east, at least up to US It was more difficult than usual to turn either left or right out of it this afternoon. I hear they have a gluten free menu and I'd love to try it!
We don't have enough restaurants in the immediate area, I completely agree with you sarcasm. ChrisW, according to the census Ann Arbor has 16, Asians. That's a few more than the 50 you claim. Try an Asian restaurant run by actual Asians instead. We have 50 of them. I've always liked that place. From the looks of it, there is no dedicated right-turn lane on east-bound Washtenaw.
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Briarwood Mall is located three miles south of the University of Michigan. It is the major retail hub for the Ann Arbor market. Ann Arbor is a highly educated community, specializing in world-class health care and automotive research and development. Check out Arbor Hills' directory for a list of stores in our Ann Arbor shopping center. View a complete list or search by category. Briarwood Mall is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan and offers stores - Scroll down for Briarwood Mall shopping information: store list (directory), locations, mall hours, contact and address. Address and locations: Briarwood Circle, Ann Arbor, Michigan - MI - /5(5).