Michigan Student Housing Owners Rally Community to Rezone

by Katie Sloan

Ann Arbor, Mich. — An online petition asserts university area needs walkability, revitalization.

The Gateway was designed by longtime Ann Arbor resident and architect Brad Moore, whose firm, J Bradley Moore & Associates Architects, has designed and planned projects in the Ann Arbor area for more than 25 years.Ann Arbor, Mich.  — The owners of a proposed $50 million student housing apartment building in Ann Arbor have launched an online petition to support more dense student housing growth closer to the University of Michigan campus.

The Gateway is owned by 1320 S. University LLC. Phil Sotiroff has a principal interest in the LLC and is one of the managers. Sotiroff has owned and managed student housing in Ann Arbor, East Lansing, and Ypsilanti, Mich., for more than 30 years.

The Ann Arbor City Council rezoned 1320 S. University to D2, which limits building height to 60 feet. The Gateway would be 145 feet. D1 zoning would allow 150-foot tall buildings, and most of the buildings within the downtown district on South University are zoned D1. The Ann Arbor Planning Commission changed its recommendation to D2 zoning after the city council voted down the planning commission’s initial recommendation that would have rezoned the entire South University Downtown area to D1. Currently on the site is a two-story apartment building, the Park Plaza.

The Planning Commission changed its recommendation from D1 to D2 to reach a self-described “compromise” with City Council and several City residents who fought D1 zoning for any South University buildings and had convinced the City Council to reject the Planning Commission’s original recommendation to revitalize the South University Downtown Area.

The Gateway proposal is scheduled to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals on Oct. 24 to request variances that would permit a building permissible under D-1 regulations but with added restrictions.

The 500-bed project would include an exercise studio, a lounge/community room, an entertainment center, approximately 6,000 square feet of retail space at ground level with an outdoor café and covered parking.

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