Liberty Lofts sell out in downtown Ann Arbor

from Concentrate, 4/9/2008

Just in time for baseball season, new units at the Liberty Loftsdevelopment are going, going, gone. The authentic lofts in downtownAnn Arbor have sold out, capping off one of the city’s most innovative urban redevelopment projects.

“It’s been a great project for us, the neighborhood and the community,” says Ronald Mucha, member of Chicago-based Morningside Group, the developer behind the project. “We had great timing. We came into the market first.”

The project, a model for urban redevelopment, won awards for turning an old factory on the edge of downtown into a high-density residential complex. The six-story building went from housing an automotive parts manufacturer for most of the 20th Century to housing 68 lofts in the 21st Century.

The structure is surrounded by Liberty, First, William and Second streets near the city’s Old West Side, an old German immigrant enclave. Approximately 70,000 of the developments 110,000 square feet is part of the original 1920s building. The units sold for well over $200,000 and up.

The lofts range in size from 844 to 2,337 square feet. They’re considered authentic (at least the ones in the original building) because they emphasize the building’s industrial heritage with open floor plans, exposed mushroom-shaped concrete columns and burnished block concrete walls.

While the residential sales aspect is finished for the developer, the commercial section of the building is still up for lease. That single-story extension, at the corner of Libertyand First, is part of the original factory. It was restored to maintain the historical character of the building while finding a new use for it, retail.

The Ann Arbor Historic District Commission gave Liberty Lofts an Adaptive Reuse Award as an outstanding example of sustainable development last year because it mixes the old and new parts of the structure gracefully and increases the housing density downtown. The developers were also lauded for efficiently using the land, effectively mixing retail and residential space and redeveloping a brown field site in a flood plain.


Source: Ronald Mucha, member of Morningside Group
Writer: Jon Zemke

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