Redeveloping Vacant Briarwood Mall Sears

Monday, October 9: Redeveloping Sears, new Taco Bell, new bridge, new coffee shop, and a new university president house


Morning, Ann Arbor! With crisp air, colorful trees, and crunchy leaves, it’s a quintessential fall week in A2.

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🏗 Vacant Sears Redevelopment: Briarwood Mall, a staple in Ann Arbor since 1973, is poised for a makeover. Simon Property Group has received approval from the Planning Commission to demolish the vacant Briarwood Sears building and redevelop the land to build a new grocery store, retail outlets, and a four-story, 354-apartment building. The project now heads to City Council for final approval. A 42-page PDF of the project’s site plan.

🌮 From Wendy’s to Taco Bell: Ann Arbor's Planning Commission greenlit a new drive-thru Taco Bell on Plymouth Road, albeit with some reservations. The site, once home to a Wendy's, sits in a corridor the city has been considering for mixed-use development. While the Taco Bell fits current zoning, some commissioners see it as a bit of a missed opportunity. Construction is slated to start next spring, and because the project is in line with existing zoning, no City Council approval is required. Mixed opinions abound, but for now, get ready for more Crunchwrap Supremes.

💧 New Park Bridge: Last week, City Council approved a $4.2 million contract with Anlaan Corp. for a new Huron River bridge at Gallup Park. The existing 1976 bridge will be replaced but will stay open during most of the construction. The new bridge, expected to open by May 15, 2024 (in time for the city’s bicentennial celebrations), will have wider sidewalks, a single-vehicle lane, and may feature public art. Renderings of the new bridge.

☕️ Lowertown Development: Lowertown Bar & Cafe (1031 Broadway), the new occupants of the vacant Johnnie Rush Barber Shop, announced in a social media post they would be opening in December of this year. More info and renderings about Lowertown Bar & Cafe.

🏈 Michigan Football Tracker: Week 6 of 13

  • Current Record: 6-0

  • Current Rank: #2 in the country

  • Last Saturday: Michigan beat Minnesota 52-10.

  • This Saturday: Michigan plays a noon home game against Indiana (2-3). The Wolverines are 35-point favorites.



🏍 Motorcycle Fatalities: A decade after the state allowed adults over 21 to ride motorcycles without helmets, crashes are down but motorcycle deaths are up 34% (from 129 in 2012 to 173 in 2022). Critics argue that the optional helmet rule has dire consequences, but proponents stand by the freedom of choice it offers. State officials continue to advocate for protective gear, citing increased risks in crashes without helmets.

🩺 Medical Debt Relief: Through a partnership with the nonprofit RIP Medical Debt, Kalamazoo County aims to pay off $89 million in medical debt for 38,300 residents. By negotiating with healthcare providers on behalf of residents, RIP Medical Debt is able to settle unpaid medical bills for pennies on the dollar (to pay off $89 million in debt, the county plans to give the nonprofit only $466,000).

🔋 West Michigan Investment: LG Energy Solution is investing an extra $3 billion in its Holland, Michigan plant to supply Toyota with lithium-ion battery modules for electric cars. This comes on top of LG's current $1.7 billion expansion at the same facility. Production of the new battery lines will begin in 2025 with an annual capacity of 20GWh. The batteries will eventually head to Toyota's Kentucky plant for assembly into electric vehicles. The deal marks LG's largest single supply agreement outside of joint ventures and bolsters Michigan's status as a hub for the automotive industry's future.


2730 Parkwood Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

3 Bed | 1 Bath | 850 Sqft | $339,900

1375 Harpst St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

4 Bed | 3 Bath | 1,620 Sqft | $445,000

1100 Berkshire Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

4 Bed | 2 Bath | 1,429 Sqft | $699,900


Lando | 6 months | Retriever Mix
Sammi | 15 years | Domestic Longhair
That's all for now! Have a great week in Tree Town!
- Andrew

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P. P. S - A video tour of the newly renovated U of M president’s home

P. P. P. S. - Two Michiganders impressed judges with their auditions on ‘The Voice’. One is a U of M alumni and one is a Pontiac native.