Downtown Area Citizens Advisory Council: April 4, 2023

Apr 4, 2023 | City Meetings

This is a recording I made of a Zoom meeting held on Tuesday, April 4, 2023 by the Ann Arbor Downtown Area Citizens Advisory Council.

This is the Legistar link for this meeting: http://a2gov.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=1055164&GUID=E8DD826B-FDD3-485E-BF71-7008E5CE7005

Meeting minutes are posted to the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority (DDA) website: https://www.a2dda.org/about-downtown/citizens-advisory-council-cac/

Direct link to minutes for this meeting: https://www.a2dda.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/CAC-Minutes-4-4-2023.pdf

From the minutes:

Following an update on DDA activities from Interim Executive Director Maura Thomson, the DACAC welcomed a panel of four prominent Ann Arbor builders and developers — Ron Mucha, Jim Chaconas, Bill Kinley, and Bill Milliken — who engaged with one another and the attendees for an hour on the challenges, obstacles, and opportunities of residential and commercial development in Ann Arbor.

Encouraging workforce housing and economic diversity in our city is a significant challenge, particularly due to the high cost of building in the core downtown area. The panel informed us that high taxes are a principal impediment to keeping costs down. During our discussion, we explored creative financing options to help achieve workforce housing goals, such as expanding the use of TIF to lower costs for a set period. We invite the DDA and City Council to study creative financing options to help address the challenges of building affordable workforce and market-rate housing in Ann Arbor.

The panel also discussed the short- and medium-term transience of the downtown residential community, which directly influences downtown livability. These factors have a significant impact on the development of the city and require innovative approaches. The real estate market is still adjusting to post-COVID realities, resulting in a shift in the type of housing that is desirable, as well as changes in the complexion of local versus national retail establishments.

Overall, the discussion provided valuable insights into the current state of downtown development in Ann Arbor and the challenges that lie ahead.

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