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Design approved for 5-story downtown condo


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Developer's design approved for 5-story downtown condo

Construction planned for summer, with 2006 completion date

Wednesday, December 15, 2004


News Business Reporter

A Royal Oak developer has received the approval it needs to move forward with a five-story, 21-unit condominium building in downtown Ann Arbor.

Last week, the Ann Arbor Historic District Commission unanimously approved the design for the project on the 300-block of East Liberty Street, dubbed Lofts 322, removing any barriers to its construction.

Denali Development, owned by Mark DeMaria and Dave Wilson, has already had success in Royal Oak with a condo project called Metro Lofts. The partners are planning more lofts there, and DeMaria said he thinks Ann Arbor is just as fertile for their urban-style developments.

"I think that overall that the product is so different that it's amazing that there hasn't been any more of these in Ann Arbor," he said. "I think once our building is up it is going to spark a lot interest and demand for this product."

DeMaria said he was especially heartened by his experience dealing with the commission on the project. He said he is talking to real estate brokers about other properties in Ann Arbor and would contemplate larger projects down the road if Lofts 322 is successful.

"Going through this reapproval was not as cumbersome or difficult as we thought it might be because of the reputation that Ann Arbor has for getting developments through," DeMaria said.

It was a "reapproval" because local developer Ed Shaffran first purchased the lot, tore down a house, and proposed a mixed-use development on the site. He won approval for his project but decided he wasn't interested in developing it and agreed to sell the land to Denali.

Heather Edwards, the city's historic preservation coordinator, said the developer had thought that Shaffran's approval would stand for their project, but a new review was required because the design had changed. Changes include parking, which in Denali's plan will be on the ground level under the condos. Under Shaffran's plan, parking would have been below street level.

The land is under contract and likely won't be sold until June, when Denali is close to starting the project, DeMaria said. He has declined to give the purchase price.

DeMaria said if the sale goes as planned, construction should begin next summer and be complete by early 2006.

The company is planning a sales event in March to begin taking presales of the condos. Preselling will be handled by Ann Arbor-based Edward Surovell Co., which also markets Denali's Royal Oak project. Prices are expected to range from $325,000 to around $700,000.

The 21-unit complex will have two penthouses, each with 530-square-foot roof terraces and a balcony. Each unit has an approximately 150-square-foot balcony or terrace. They will come standard with slate showers, marble countertops and other luxuries.

Mike Ramsey can be reached at [email protected] or (734) 994-6864.

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