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Category Archives: Downtown

Is Downtown Ann Arbor Condo Living for You?

Loft 322 Downtown Ann Arbor CondosDowntown Ann Arbor Condos appeal to a variety of people, from young folks wanting to be close to the excitement, downtown professionals walking to work, and even retirees looking for luxury without the maintenance of a home. Downtown Ann Arbor offers an urban lifestyle with everything within walking distance: a wide array of restaurants, coffee shops, bars, music venues, shops and galleries, museums, and even downtown grocers. There are many styles of condos, including: lofts, brownstones, penthouses, townhomes, new construction, renovated historic buildings, high rise buildings, LEED certified, and basic apartment styles. Complexes include:

The Ann Arbor FestiFools Parade is Coming!

Sunday, April 3rd from 4-5pm on Main StreetAnn Arbor Festifools Parade Puppets

Come join the fun and excitement at the 5th anniversary of the FestiFools parade in downtown Ann Arbor. FestiFools is a high-energy, whimsical parade of giant papier-mâché puppets that are handcrafted by students and the community alike. Created by Mark Tucker, a professor of art at the University of Michigan’s Lloyd Hall Scholars Program, and former LHSP student Shoshanan Hurand, the main goal of this event is to bring non-art students and community members together to create and showcase art in public places. This annual parade is a huge success and has gained the support of the city of Ann Arbor, the community, and the University of Michigan who recently gave the event a permanent, 2500 square foot studio and 2 art classes devoted specifically to the event.

Want to get involved? Public help is welcomed and encouraged! You can make and enter your own puppet and add to the diversity of this unique parade. This year, local Girl Scouts have created 4 puppets that represent Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water. Volunteers are always welcome to help with making the puppets, from January to April, and on the day of the parade to don a mask and hype up the crowd, animate a puppet, set-up beforehand, or clean-up afterward.

This annual parade is definitely an Ann Arbor favorite for all ages, so mark your calendar and come out for the fun. It all happens right on Main Street, between Washington and William from 4-5pm. We hope to see you there! And as always, should you have any Washtenaw County real estate needs, be sure to give us a call at 734-761-3060 or email us at info@bouma.com.

Allen Creek – A Bit of Ann Arbor History Right in the City

Allen Creek is the site of the first settlement in Ann Arbor, and it still runs through the city’s west side. The creek was named for Ann Arbor’s co-founder, John Allen, in 1824. The main branch of Allen Creek runs northward roughly parallel to the Ann Arbor Railroad tracks, starting at Pioneer High and flowing into the Huron River just below Argo Dam. Near the creek lies Allen Creek Condominiums. Built in 1988, the cozy complex features two decks, walk-out lower levels, fireplaces, and garage parking.

In 1846, William Maynard laid out the first section of the Old West Side, from First to Fourth Streets. When Ann Arbor began developing in the 1850s, many businesses were located along Allen Creek. Four tanneries on the creek used its water to soak cowhides, and pelts of wild animals trapped in the surrounding forests. A foundry (located at the current site of the Y on Huron Street) used the creek for its sand casting. And two breweries used the creek water to cool their beer.

Also near the Allen Creek Condominiums is Eberwhite Woods, a 29-acre forest situated between Liberty, Dartmoor, Soule, and Arbordale streets. The woods is owned by the Ann Arbor Public Schools, and is open to the public. The woods are a unique environment, a remnant of a native oak-hickory forest which has never been clear-cut. A wide variety of wildflowers, including some state-threatened species such as goldenseal, can be found in the woods.

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XSeed Energy to Install Solar Panels at Michigan Theater

The Ypsilanti-based Clean Energy Coalition (CEC) is the parent organization for the newly-formed XSeed Energy, “Ann Arbor‘s Community Power Project.”  XSeed’s inaugural project, approved at their August 12 meeting by the Historic District Commission, will be the installation of solar panels at the Michigan Theater at 603 East Liberty Street.

Using funding from community donations and grants, XSeed Energy was created with the goal of developing renewable energy projects in Ann Arbor. Profits will be recycled back into an ‘Energy Bank’ to fund ongoing renewable energy installations. The goal – and hence, the name – is to ‘seed’ community funded, and possibly community owned, power projects in Ann Arbor.

For this first project, a set of 60-foot solar panels will be placed on the south-facing wall of the Michigan Theater, then connected to the local power grid. According to Bonnie Bona, project manager for XSeed Energy and former chair of Ann Arbor’s planning commission, the Michigan Theater was selected for XSeed’s first project “because of the public visibility of the solar panels, the theater’s willingness to participate, its community involvement, and the fact that it is already pursuing other renewable energy solutions.”

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Conventions and Trade Shows Cap Productive Summer in Ann Arbor

From July 30 through August 5, Ann Arbor played host to the National Training Institute’s (NTI) annual trade show. The trade show is designed to attract vendors seeking to provide information about their services and products to the electrical industry. The University of Michigan campus was “home for a week” to over 2,000 NTI participants and, according to Mary Kerr (president/CEO of the Ann Arbor Convention & Visitors Bureau), NTI participants were expected to infuse over $5 million into Washtenaw County.

This was the second NTI convention to be held in Ann Arbor. This is in large part because of the University of Michigan’s strong record of union support, which creates a conducive environment for the NTI programs and course offerings. The group also has many “training partners,” companies and organizations that contribute various forms of support to ensure NTI’s success. UM is already set to host the National Training Institute’s 2011 meeting, as well.

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Ann Arbor’s Blackbird Theatre Finds a Permanent Nest

dramaOne of Ann Arbor’s cultural icons, the Blackbird Theatre, has established its permanent nest at the SH\’aut\ Cabaret and Gallery, 325 Braun Court in Kerrytown – right across from the Farmers Market. After a year of experimenting with various locations and after seven years at the Children’s Creative Center on Pauline Boulevard,  the Blackbird has roosted in its new spot. Founding artistic director Barton Bund feels confident that the company will continue to grow and thrive in its new locale.

Last Tuesday evening, Bund’s celebration of the Blackbird’s new home also ushered in a new era of dynamic, cutting-edge artistic endeavor for downtown Ann Arbor. In addition to  consistently offering a diverse body of original work, the Blackbird offers free educational programs, and performance opportunities for all students in Washtenaw County. The Blackbird strives to bring students together with the area’s most talented and established theatre veterans. Continue reading

Ann Arbor Downtown Library Lot Development Discussion May Regain Life Soon

As of last Thursday, there are big changes beginning near the Ann Arbor Downtown Library. Fifth Avenue from Liberty to Williams is now closed, and will remain so for at least a year. The northern section of the Library’s porch is closed, and handicap access has moved to William Street (with a new incline that ends across from the automated door). Bike hoops are now near the flagpole. So why are all of these changes being made?

At present, the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is building an underground parking deck on the Library Lot site, which is the cause of the immediate (and ongoing) disruption. However, the top of the lot has been – and remains – under discussion. Several months ago, the League of Women Voters hosted a public meeting about possible uses for the Library Lot. At that meeting five, five-minute proposals for potential development were presented, followed by an hour of questions and answers. The League’s intent was to keep the city council apprised as to what kinds of development Ann Arbor residents were interested in seeing.

Part of the issue, as discussed in our previous blog Plannning for Green Space in Arbor, No Walk in the Park, is over whether the land should be used for commercial development or for greenpsace or other public purposes.

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