Developers mulling lawsuit over Ann Arbor's termination of Library Lot high-rise project

Chicago-based developer Core Spaces threatens legal action against city

By Meredith Bruckner - Community News Producer

Rendering of the Collective on Fifth plaza in downtown Ann Arbor (Courtesy: Core Spaces)

ANN ARBOR - Chicago-based developer Core Spaces has responded to a letter dated Monday by City Administrator Howard Lazarus that they "strongly disagree" with the city's decision to cancel a $10 million deal the city reached with the company last spring.

Plans to develop the Library Lot at Fifth Avenue and William Street atop underground parking included building a 17-story mixed-use development with a public outdoor plaza.

In the weeks leading up to the Nov. 6 election, Core Spaces pledged $100,000 in funding for programming at the plaza, following an earlier pledge of $25,000 annually for the project. 

A year after the City Council approved the selling of the city-owned property to Core Spaces on an 8-3 vote in spring of 2017, opponents of the deal petitioned to put the project on the November ballot calling for a central downtown park to be established in its place.

Ann Arbor voters passed the proposal in support of a public park with 53% of the vote, leaving the project in limbo.

As it stands, the city is already facing two lawsuits over its deal with Core Spaces.

In the letter, Lazarus wrote to the developer and its attorneys: 

"Because this situation is obviously one that cannot be cured, the agreement with Core Spaces is terminated. We will arrange for the return of the deposit paid as part of this transaction and await your direction on where and how to send it."

In response, chief acquisitions officer of Core Spaces, Andrew Wiedner, said this week that company officials "strongly disagree with the city's position" and said they are currently mulling their options moving forward.

Though his statement was vague, an attorney for Core Spaces threatened "very expensive litigation" during a Dec. 17 City Council meeting before the city announced its decision to cancel the deal.

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