July 05–ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Another hotel development is approved for construction in Ann Arbor.
The City Council voted unanimously this week to approve plans for a Homewood Suites by Hilton at 2457 S. State St., north of Oakbrook Drive along the east side of State.
Stellar Hospitality last year proposed demolishing an existing 5,219-square-foot commercial building on the two-acre site and constructing a five-story, 83,019-square-foot hotel with 107 suites and a parking garage below. The estimated cost of construction is $5 million.
The new suites would offer another extended-stay option for Ann Arbor visitors and incorporate some green features, including a vegetated roof area, two electric vehicle charging stations and solar panels.
The city's Planning Commission recommended council approval of the project nearly a year ago.
Brett Lenart, the city's planning manager, said the reason it took this long for the project to advance to council for approval was because the developer proposed a stormwater system that relied upon an easement on an adjacent property.
"It took them this time to successfully secure the easement, which the city required prior to advancing to City Council," Lenart said.
Access to the hotel site would be provided through an existing shared driveway off State Street, leading to two driveways on the site. One would lead to a 26-space surface parking lot for short-term and general hotel use. The other would lead to 81 parking spaces located under the hotel, for a total of 107 parking spaces for cars.
A total of four enclosed bicycle parking spaces are planned on the first floor of the hotel and another six exterior bicycle parking spaces are planned at the hotel entrance.
The footprint of the hotel would be 19,957 square feet, though the walls of the parking garage would extend out for total footprint of 36,857 square feet. The exposed portion of the parking garage roof would have an outdoor patio with a fire pit, basketball court and 6,420-square-foot vegetated roof area.
The property is zoned for commercial use. A planned project modification was approved for the height of the hotel to exceed the four-story, 55-foot maximum. Due to the sloping nature of the site, the height varies, averaging out to 71 feet.
"The height at the front face of the building along State Street is 54 feet 6 inches," City Planner Matt Kowalski wrote in a planning staff report.
"However, because of architectural features and roof access, the roof line rises to 63 feet 10 inches, approximately 30 feet from the front face, and is the maximum height of 75 feet 10 inches at the rear due to the slope of the land. Building height is calculated as an average of the maximum height including any architectural features."
Some of the planned project benefits offered by the developer include keeping four bicycles on the premises for use by guests, a dedicated shuttle van for transportation of guests, and providing employees with free unlimited bus passes to use Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority buses, as well as two electric vehicle charging stations and rooftop solar panels to provide supplemental power.
In order to justify the additional height, Kowalski noted the city had the developer provide an alternative plan that showed what the development would look like in compliance with the zoning.
That would have eliminated the underground parking garage, putting parking in front of the building and in an additional surface parking lot in the rear, and would have resulted in a significant increase of grading on the site, additional landmark tree removal and a 9.3 percent increase in the total impervious surface on the site.
There is no stormwater detention on the site now. A 100-year storm detention system would be provided underground on the east side of the site behind the parking garage.
A sidewalk is proposed from State Street to the hotel, along with internal sidewalks around the perimeters of the building.