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YPSILANTI, MI-The city is trying to consolidate 34 acres of Downtown property for a new mixed-use residential/commercial project. The property is bounded by US 12 to the north, by the Huron River on the west and south and by Michigan Avenue, adjacent to the business district, says Brett Lenart, redevelopment coordinator for the city.

“The property was just a mixture of uses that were incompatible,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “The city is trying to acquire the land, and then select a developer for the project.”

Nothing specific has been drawn up, he said, but the idea is to have commercial development along Michigan Avenue, about 400 units of residential housing, possibly condominiums or townhomes, and an entertainment venue at the intersection of Michigan and US 12.

The city has issued a request for proposals on how to develop the property.

Ypsilanti has currently purchased one-third of the property and is in negotiations for the other parcels.

“We’re seeking a qualified developer, who can take this quickly off the ground. We’re expecting the requests back by July 13,” Lenart said.

He said the site, which now has some commercial properties and vacant parcels, is a hodge-podge of zonings. Also, the infrastructure has fallen apart and lost its efficiency, he said, and the current arrangement of properties makes it virtually undevelopable, Lenart says.

A baseline development and other due diligence is being performed on the parcels, he says. The Environmental Protection Agency is financing a phase I and II environmental assessment, Lenart adds.

“The emphasis would be on an urban plan, since we’re so near the Downtown. However, a large reason for this new development is to collect enough properties to form river access for public park use,” Lenart says.

The city’s economic development corporation has paid more than $1 million for the recently acquired parcels. Also, Ypsilanti received a $3.7 million grant from the state through the Clean Michigan Initiative program for the project.

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