Nominations and Awards
Local businesses and community leaders that have exhibited significant impact and progress over the previous twelve months are recognized and honored at this annual black-tie gala.
Nominations are in! For the full story on this year’s nominees, click here to read Lizzy Alfs’ story.
2013 Deals of the Year Nominees
Commercial Real Estate
301 E. Liberty building sale: Ann Arbor’s Dahlmann Properties purchased the seven-story office building at 301 E. Liberty St. for $10.6 million in June. Swisher Commercial represented the seller, Bloomfield Hills-based Larson Realty Group, in the deal. Dahlmann Properties owner Dennis Dahlmann started investing immediately in building improvements.
Former Borders headquarters sale: The former Borders headquarters, one of Ann Arbor’s largest taxable properties, was sold to local partnership group Wickfield Phoenix LLC for $6 million in February. Colliers International listed the building for sale and has continued working with the property, looking for tenants to join Gold Star Mortgage — which has already moved into 65,000 square feet in the 330,000 square foot complex that previously housed Borders’ corporate offices and cell phone recycling firm ReCellular Inc.
Willow Run Connected Vehicles Center deal: Detroit-based Walbridge Development LLC has a deal to purchase a majority of the former Willow Run GM Powertrain plant property in Ypsilanti Township and build a test track for connected vehicles with research facilities. The plan would reactivate a 332-acre property that contains the historic plant, boost the tax base and bring thousands of jobs to the township.
Construction and Development
Redevelopment of the former flagship Borders store: Oakland County developer Ron Hughes, working with Colliers International, is redeveloping the high profile, former flagship Borders building downtown into a retail and restaurant hub. Hughes is subdividing the first-floor into five separate spaces, and confirmed tenants include Knight’s Steakhouse and Slurping Turtle. The University of Michigan School of Information and PRIME Research will occupy the second floor.
University of Michigan Lawyer’s Club renovations: This yearlong $39 million renovation project involved completely gutting the 1920s-era historic building in order to construct a modern interior. The challenging construction process involved hoisting all of the hall’s bathrooms up the building before stairs were installed, while the ornate gothic exterior of the building was maintained. The renovations, unveiled in August, alter the living experience for its 227 law student residents.
Zingerman’s Deli expansion: The 30-year-old Zingerman’s Deli completed a $6.7 million expansion this year, which makes for a more seamless experience for customers and employees. A historic building was demolished to make way for a new building that connects to the original store via a glass atrium, seating capacity increased from 95 seats to 200 seats and the deli added new kitchens and checkout lines.
Esperion: The pharmaceutical company that is developing and testing a drug to help patients who have bad reactions to statins lower their bad cholesterol levels closed a $33 million round of venture capital funding in May. The company announced aninitial public offering with a goal of raising an additional $70 million In June, which it outperformed, by raising $72.8 million in the IPO.
U-M doctors use 3-D laser printer to save baby boy’s life: In May, doctors at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan used a 3-D printer to create an airway splint that saved the life of a child who previously had extreme difficulty breathing. The hospital received special permission from the FDA to perform the first-of-its-kind operation that doctors say could have major implications on the future use of 3-D printed materials in medical operations.
VA Ann Arbor Emergency department: The Veterans Affairs hospital unveiled a new 15,000 square foot expansion of its former emergency department in September The $6.3 million project was funded by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The hospital, which had more than 500,000 outpatient visits in 2012, has also increased its mental health staff by 50 percent over the last four years to meet growing demand from veterans.
Ann Arbor Skatepark: It took years to raise funds from both public and private sources, but the 30,000-square-foot world-class Ann Arbor skate park broke ground in August. The total budget for the project is $1,224,312, with $400,000 coming from the county, $300,000 from the state, and more than $100,000 from privately raised funds.
Rutherford pool: A campaign by Friends of Rutherford Pool raised $1 million from more than 500 community members and a grant from the Michigan Department Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant helped to save the decaying neighborhood pool in Ypsilanti. The pool closed in 2011, but a groundbreaking for the rebuilding was held in June.
The Ark: The Ark purchased the space it has inhabited since 1996 for $2.05 million in January. At the same time, the music venue launched a capital campaign to help pay off the loan it took on to make the purchase. The five-year campaign is currently in a “quiet phase” and will open to the public in 2015 when it celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Isalita: Mani Osteria owner Adam Baru opened his second downtown Ann Arbor restaurant in December, serving small plates of traditional Mexican street food. Because Mani and Isalita share both a chef and building, Baru was able to open the two establishments in an 18-month period and create a synergy between the restaurants.
Old German: Michigan restaurateurs Jon Carlson, Greg Lobdell and Chet Czaplicka revived a former Ann Arbor restaurant concept when they opened the Old German in the basement of Grizzly Peak Brewing Company in July. The revived Old German reflects the partners’ recent business strategy: utilizing vacant space below their existing restaurants to open basement bar concepts.
The Lunch Room: What started in 2010 as two friends catering private dinners later turned into a vegan food cart at Mark’s Carts and in August, The Lunch Room proprietorsPhillis Engelbert and Joel Panozzo opened their own brick-and-mortar vegan restaurant in Kerrytown with a warm reception from Ann Arborites.
Arbor Hills shopping center: This 90,700-square-foot boutique shopping center opened on Washtenaw Avenue in August with 18 retail and restaurant tenants, from local businesses to regional tenants and national chains. The center serves as a new regional shopping destination, and it brought multiple new retail concepts — many which are found in Troy’s upscale Somerset Collection — to Ann Arbor.
Briarwood Mall changes: This 40-year-old Ann Arbor mall has undergone a series of changes in recent months, including the opening of luxury brand stores such as Michael Kors and Vera Bradley. Mall owner Simon Property Group also launched arenovation project this year that involves new entrances, energy efficiency upgrades and architectural changes, and Simon is seeking city approval to build two restaurants on the mall’s parking lot.
Literati Bookstore: The closure of Borders bookstore meant opportunity for Mike Gustafson and Hilary Lowe, who opened their independent bookstore Literati in downtown Ann Arbor in April. The owners have reported strong business and the store serves as a meeting place for the community by hosting a wide variety of events aimed at different demographics.
Online Tech: After attracting a $20 million investment in 2012, the data center company doubled in size to 50 employees. OnlineTech also consolidated its headquarters into a 10,000 square foot space in Ann Arbor as it continues to expand operations at its centers in Pittsfield Township. The company moved to a co-CEO structure and Yan Ness, one of the CEOs, was named a finalist in the Ernst and Young regional Entrepreneur of the Year.
Toyota Technical Center: The Japanese automaker announced a $28 million expansion to its technical center in York Township, part of a continued shift of engineering responsibility to the Ann Arbor area. The center also did the majority of the work engineering and designing the 2013 Toyota Avalon, the first Toyota vehicle entirely engineered and designed in North America, and a centerpiece of the company’s display at the 2013 North America International Autoshow.
University of Michigan Mobility Transformation Center: As part of its efforts to capitalize on the ongoing connected vehicles research project being conducted by the U-M Transportation Research Institute, the university announced the establishment of an interdisciplinary center that will examine the future of the automotive industry. The new center will focus not only on the engineering of future vehicles, but the social, political, regulatory and economic issues surrounding them as well.
If you’re interested purchasing tickets to attend, click here.