ANN ARBOR, MI — Another piece of old Ann Arbor may be razed to make way for new development.
Following the trend of high-rise housing replacing small commercial buildings along the South University Avenue strip next to the University of Michigan, a developer is proposing a 17-story, mixed-use building to replace the Galleria building that houses Pinball Pete’s and other businesses.
newly unveiled rendering by Myefski Architects shows plans for a tower with 211 apartments above 2,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space at 1208 South University Ave.
Pinball Pete’s co-owner Mike Reynolds said Friday, Nov.17, he was still learning about the plans and unsure what the future holds for his business in Ann Arbor at this time.
The popular arcade has been in business for more than 40 years in Ann Arbor and East Lansing and has called South U home for many years now — in its current location since the 1990s.
“I’ve been around for a while now and it’s interesting to watch all the changes here, and I live in East Lansing, so I see all the changes there, and I understand all of it,” Reynolds said.“And it’s progress and that’s just part of the deal.”
In addition to Pinball Pete’s, the existing building includes a Starbucks coffee shop, Pancheros Mexican Grill, a U.S.Post Office, the University of Michigan’s Program on Intergroup Relations, an Amazon hub and Vape City.
It’s sandwiched between two popular campus-area bars that also have been around many years: the Brown Jug and Blue Leprechaun.
The first-floor plan for the high-rise now proposed includes a small amount of retail space, a residential lobby and leasing area, bike storage and garage parking.
Floors two through 17 would have apartments, with interior and exterior amenity spaces for tenants on the top floor.
Plans also include a sidewalk extension and streetscape improvements.
The building that’s proposed to be demolished was built in 1957 and is owned by an entity called Ann Arbor Galleria Associates LLC, city records show.
Before development plans are finalized and submitted to the city, the development team is inviting residents to attend a citizen participation meeting at 6 p.m.
5, at the downtown library on Fifth Avenue.
The meeting is a chance for residents to learn about the proposal, ask questions and submit comments.
“The developer will utilize your input to inform the advancement of design solutions,”
the meeting invite states, adding a report of the meeting will be prepared by the developer and submitted to the city with the site plan proposal.
Reynolds said he hasn’t had any talks with the development team about carving out a space for Pinball Pete’s in the new development.The arcade had previous locations on William Street and Packard Street before moving to South U.
“We’ll see,” Reynolds said of whether it could continue at another new location in Ann Arbor.
“We have a following,” he said, indicating the business is still sustainable and operating in the black.“During COVID, it was iffy and we did a GoFundMe and that was helpful.”
Post-pandemic, it’s not business as usual, he said, but the arcade has adapted to the new normal.
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