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Conference Center

Great news! On Monday April 4, 2011, the City Council passed a resolution that rejects the proposed Letter of Intent between the City and Valiant Partners. The resolution also ended the Library Lot RFP process. None of the proposals received in response to the RFP will be built. The City will continue to look for ideas for an appropriate use of the property. More details at

The city administration was pursuing plans for a public-private partnership to build a hotel and conference center on the underground parking lot immediately north of the downtown library. The public aspect of this partnership includes providing the land, allowing the developer to divert future tax revenue to the repayment of debt and the public subsidization of the conference center.

The news blog, Local in Ann Arbor, is posting a multi-part analysis of the proposal for a downtown hotel and conference center that is planned for the area just north of the downtown library - where the underground parking lot is being constructed. We highly recommend this series.
    [This post discusses a report on the economic viability of a conference center in Ann Arbor]

When reading the thorough analysis in these postings, remember Council Member Stephen Rapundalo's remarks in this email, that (1) "Any successful project has to pay for itself without the use of City funds." and (2) "there has to be some sort of payment to taxpayers either through land sale and property tax revenue, long-term lease payments, or some guaranteed revenue streams."

For additional coverage of the steps that preceded the selection of the current plan, check out Vivienne Armentrout's comprehensive coverage which is indexed on this page:

You might also find the information on these pages interesting: the fundamental problem with the hotel/conference center proposal for the library lot can be traced to the poor public process that preceded the issuing of the RFP for the site. a more sustainable proposal for the library lot site comes from this group who support the creation of a central park. The library lot is centerally located and would provide valuable green space for a walkable, livable downtown.

Finally, here is an Ann Arbor Observer article by Judy McGovern that discusses the conference center:

Ann Arbor Neighborhoods,
Mar 9, 2011, 8:36 AM