According to a source, I was right about 7-Eleven and Starbucks considering Ypsi

rendering-thumb-450x324-60141-1Remember how, a couple of days ago, when talking about the new retail development taking shape on Cross Street, right across from Eastern Michigan University, I said that I thought that it was likely the developer, O’Neal Construction, was already in negotiations with Starbucks and 7-Eleven? Well, if I’m to believe this email that I just received, it looks like I might have been onto something. According to someone who claims to know Joe O’Neal, discussions are indeed already taking place with both 7-Eleven and Starbucks. From what I’m told, however, O’Neal would prefer to have a local business. Specifically, he’d love to have the Ann Arbor-based coffee company Sweetwaters serve as his anchor tenant. (Sweetwaters currently rents space in O’Neal’s Kerrytown development, in Ann Arbor.) Given the choice, I’d much prefer Sweetwaters to either of the other two companies that we’ve been talking about. Assuming you feel the same, maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to mention to the folks at Sweetwaters, the next time that you’re at one of their three Ann Arbor locations, that you’d like to see them in Ypsi. It couldn’t hurt.

update: There have been a lot of good points made in the comments section, mostly having to do with Starbucks, and whether or not having one downtown would be a bad thing for the community. I’d recommend you read the whole thread, but, here are a few comments, to give you a taste.

Burt Reynolds: “Why does everyone hate Starbucks on this site I would really like to know…am I missing something…do infants pick their coffee beans?”… Fantastic question. Starbucks creates millions of jobs across the country, paying higher than minimum wage. They also provide health care to their part time employees. I’m sure the argument is they push small business owners out of the way, but that’s a slippery slope. Small businesses are great. I try to support them as much as possible. However, a struggling city like ours does not need more small businesses. We must embrace corporations as we do not have the funds to continue to be quirky. Just my opinion.

John Galt: I feel safer in a town with a Starbucks. I like homogeneity. In fact, I thrive on it. And it doesn’t matter to me one bit that their profits leave the community. I think this corporation we call America will never be successful as long as we have locally owned businesses.

Knox: Word on the street is that they Ugly Mug was up for sale for a while, but that they decided to keep it once Bombadil’s closed and their business picked up. If that’s the case, I’ve got to think that another coffee shop right on Cross would cause them to lose sales.

ATF: Small local businesses funnel much more of the money you spend in them back into the community, whereas Starbucks comes in for harvesting the little money that is here- solely to invest outside of town (besides paying 15 employees here): building more Starbucks in other poor towns, globalization…. It doesn’t invest in us. And I hear there is a new 31oz size they’ve named ‘trenta’. Sick.

Murph: There is evidence, generally anecdotal but broad, that a Starbucks presence helps indie coffee shops by serving as a gateway drug: the cachet and omnipresence of Starbucks makes it “safe” for new consumers who might be intimidated by the Mug – but who then grow into being customers of the indie shops once they realize that they do coffee much better than Starbucks. Much as Starbucks tries to commodify coffee, they can’t quite manage the category-killer big box approach that WalMart can. (And, of course, the more Starbucks *tries* to commodify the market and then saturate it, the more they fail at one of the key pieces of the market, which is personality. For much, much more on these dynamics, check out Bryant Simon’s Everything But the Coffee.)

This is not to say that Starbucks can only help locals – while they do expand the market, they’re still obviously a new, ruthlessly streamlined competitor, and if the local competition is weak and poorly differentiated, it’ll have problems. But, really, do you think a Sweetwaters would be better for the Mug or any of the other locals than a Starbucks? I’d actually expect Sweetwaters to be more of a problem, if we’re thinking of preserving local character and not just being anti-chain.

I wouldn’t really have a problem with 7-11 or Starbucks moving in. Either would be a solid, stable anchor tenant for Cross Street, much as Jimmy John’s has rescued a space from Cross Street’s tenant-of-the-year revolving door. (That’s not meant to disparage folks like La Fiesta Mexicana or Eagle’s Market or Tower Inn or other stable indie businesses – but there’s definitely a lot of room for more stability on the strip.)

Besides which, the AA.com article you originally cited says, “EMU students, O’Neal said, have few off-campus areas to hang out. He’s hoping a coffee shop operator will anchor the 2,200-square-foot west corner space, which is listed at $25 per square foot.” Considering that storefront rents in most of downtown Ypsi are generally in the $10-14/square range, I’d find it pretty incredible if any non-chain even looked at this space.

And Murph’s absolutely right when he says that our home grown companies aren’t likely to pay $25 a square foot for retail space on Cross Street, at least not right now, when they have other options.

This entry was posted in Ann Arbor, entrepreneurism, Food, Local Business, Locally Owned Business, Ypsilanti and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

56 Comments

  1. Elf
    Posted January 30, 2011 at 12:40 am | Permalink

    It would be incredible if they could get Sweetwaters. I like their coffee, and I don’t think they’d take away too much business from the Ugly Mug, as they’re different things.

  2. Watching Laughing.
    Posted January 30, 2011 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Now put an anchor downtown, big grocery store-chain etc, which would bring mass buying traffic to the area.
    Everybody has to buy groceries.

    Watching Laughing.

  3. Bob
    Posted January 30, 2011 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    The corporate sprawl battle is really long since lost, isn’t it? That’s such a scurvy little piece of real estate that Starbucks would be a good improvement. I hate their coffee and the whole notion of them really, but the buildings always look decent when they go in. Improving the look of that stretch is a good start. Plus, what else can you really do there except for foot-traffic, student service places? There is no damn parking right there.

  4. Knox
    Posted January 30, 2011 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Word on the street is that they Ugly Mug was up for sale for a while, but that they decided to keep it once Bombadil’s closed and their business picked up. If that’s the case, I’ve got to think that another coffee shop right on Cross would cause them to lose sales.

  5. notoneofthecoolkids
    Posted January 30, 2011 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Why does everyone hate Starbucks on this site I would really like to know…am I missing something…do infants pick their coffee beans?

  6. Daye
    Posted January 30, 2011 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    There is already a Starbucks on campus! And an Einsten Bros! I am worried for the Mugg.

  7. Burt Reynolds
    Posted January 30, 2011 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    “Why does everyone hate Starbucks on this site I would really like to know…am I missing something…do infants pick their coffee beans?”

    Fantastic question. Starbucks creates millions of jobs across the country, paying higher than minimum wage. They also provide health care to their part time employees. I’m sure the argument is they push small business owners out of the way, but that’s a slippery slope. Small businesses are great. I try to support them as much as possible. However, a struggling city like ours does not need more small businesses. We must embrace corporations as we do not have the funds to continue to be quirky. Just my opinion.

  8. Mary
    Posted January 30, 2011 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Sweetwaters could be nice…especially since Luwak and Bombadill’s are gone. Which were the only places that had actual daylight and a chill atmosphere to get work done, unlike Mug or Ollie (though I like those too…just a bit too dark, and Mug can be quite noisy).

  9. Posted January 30, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    There is evidence, generally anecdotal but broad, that a Starbucks presence helps indie coffee shops by serving as a gateway drug: the cachet and omnipresence of Starbucks makes it “safe” for new consumers who might be intimidated by the Mug – but who then grow into being customers of the indie shops once they realize that they do coffee much better than Starbucks. Much as Starbucks tries to commodify coffee, they can’t quite manage the category-killer big box approach that WalMart can. (And, of course, the more Starbucks *tries* to commodify the market and then saturate it, the more they fail at one of the key pieces of the market, which is personality. For much, much more on these dynamics, check out Bryant Simon’s Everything But the Coffee.)

    This is not to say that Starbucks can only help locals – while they do expand the market, they’re still obviously a new, ruthlessly streamlined competitor, and if the local competition is weak and poorly differentiated, it’ll have problems. But, really, do you think a Sweetwaters would be better for the Mug or any of the other locals than a Starbucks? I’d actually expect Sweetwaters to be more of a problem, if we’re thinking of preserving local character and not just being anti-chain.

    I wouldn’t really have a problem with 7-11 or Starbucks moving in. Either would be a solid, stable anchor tenant for Cross Street, much as Jimmy John’s has rescued a space from Cross Street’s tenant-of-the-year revolving door. (That’s not meant to disparage folks like La Fiesta Mexicana or Eagle’s Market or Tower Inn or other stable indie businesses – but there’s definitely a lot of room for more stability on the strip.)

    Besides which, the AA.com article you originally cited says, “EMU students, O’Neal said, have few off-campus areas to hang out. He’s hoping a coffee shop operator will anchor the 2,200-square-foot west corner space, which is listed at $25 per square foot.” Considering that storefront rents in most of downtown Ypsi are generally in the $10-14/square range, I’d find it pretty incredible if any non-chain even looked at this space.

  10. atf
    Posted January 30, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    small local businesses funnel much more of the money you spend in them back into the community, whereas starbucks comes in for harvesting the little money that is here- solely to invest outside of town (besides paying 15 employees here): building more starbucks in other poor towns, globalization…. it doesn’t invest in us. and i hear there is a new 31oz size they’ve named ‘trenta’. sick.
    http://www.civiceconomics.com/localworks/

  11. John Galt
    Posted January 30, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    I feel safer in a town with a Starbucks. I like homogeneity. In fact, I thrive on it. And it doesn’t matter to me one bit that their profits leave the community. I think this corporation we call America will never be successful as long as we have locally owned businesses.

  12. wetdolphinmissile
    Posted January 30, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    maybe we will be able to buy the NYT in Ypsi once again…

  13. Vente Ronald Reagan
    Posted January 30, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Starbucks? Come on, folks—maybe, next, a Cracker Barrel in Depot Town, and then a Bed Bath and Beyond next to Bowerbird Mongo? Is Cracker Barrel the gateway drug for Tim Horton’s?

    Let’s fight to keep what little urban commercial space we have in Ypsi safe for ultralocal businesses. Would a Sweetwaters be better in the Cross St. space than a Starbucks? Yes, of course it would be.

  14. Oliva
    Posted January 30, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t Primo Coffee House locally owned? And . . . fresh fruit in the smoothies (at the library shop anyway). The shop on Whitaker (not especially alluring location) sells Zingerman’s goodies, so pricey. But the owner sure is nice. Maybe it could be Primo along Cross Street with extra selections to eat, not just (or even) Zing stuff? As for Ugly Mug–I would hate to see it close or feel threatened, but maybe a shop like Primo is different enough? (Seems a stretch, that thought!) (I thought Sweetwaters had delicious coffee when it first opened in downtown Ann Arbor, but I don’t taste the extra goodness so much anymore–maybe is just me.)

  15. Posted January 30, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    While John Galt is being his charmingly facetious self, he makes a valid point about the upside of Starbucks as a cultural signifier. What better way for a parent from Livonia or Troy or South Lyon, bringing their high school senior to town for a campus visit, to register that, “Oh, this is a safe place for my kid to go to school,” than to be greeted by a Starbucks, that beacon of comforting normalcy, there at the gateway from campus into Ypsi? (The kid, of course, now sanctioned to leave campus, because Ypsi is a safe place that has normal, safe stuff like Starbucks, will likely graduate to the Mug, after a few weeks on campus.)

    Personally, I don’t care for either the politics or the coffee at Starbucks (I make better of both at home), but I can’t feel too up in arms about it when we spend so much time griping about the bad rep Ypsi has of a place that’s unsafe to either visit or invest in – I gotta think that ceding one near-campus storefront to Starbucks isn’t going to homogenize (and pasteurize?) Ypsi’s local culture.

  16. Doppio Vanilla Nixon
    Posted January 30, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Murph, there’s already a Starbucks: on EMU’s campus. Where should Starbucks send the complimentary t-shirt, since you’re being such an excellent field representative?

    I doubt EMU’s enrollment is going to explode because prospective parents see a Starbucks. But the citizens of Ypsi, who’ll be here longer than 4 years, would certainly benefit from new, local, businesses, especially those with something genuinely compelling to offer (dinner, for example).

  17. Watching Laughing.
    Posted January 30, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Bowerbird Mongo?
    That’s a hobby, not a real business, bringing mass people to Downtown.
    It’s only open a few hours a week, literally.
    These little boutiques only bring in a few to spend and frequent Downtown.
    Bringing in a couple hundred bucks a day doesn’t generate much
    for Downtown on the whole.
    Downtown needs a BIG ANCHOR to bring MASS people Downtown.

    Watching Laughing.

  18. Andrew Jason Clock
    Posted January 30, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, but I’m going to hijack this thread for a moment, and talk about fixing up the other side of town.

    Washtenaw County is applying for a grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund to build a pedestrian bridge linking Water Street with Riverside Park. Letters of support are needed. You can find a sample letter at the links below. Please take a moment to send a copy of this letter, or one of your own, to the address provided. I don’t have an email alternative at this time.

    Thanks in advance for your time.

    http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=120821091279031&topic=351

    http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=120821091279031&topic=351

  19. Posted January 30, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    Doppio Vanilla – I didn’t know that “not hating Starbucks irrationally enough” was the only qualifier for being a field rep these days. You’d think, considering the economy, that they could find better candidates.

    Tell you what, though – I’ll split the t-shirt with you, if you can find me a new, Ypsi-based, independent business that’s going to pay 25 a square for retail space.

  20. Posted January 30, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    BURN!

    Maybe we can bitch somebody into opening an aging hipster hairshirt shop and watch it go out of business in 2 seconds. Or maybe a used diabetic test strip depot.

    Do you all realize that you can’t really live your lives bitching about what everybody else should do with their shit?

  21. Ale Roka
    Posted January 30, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    Murph,

    Can you help me understand the significance of $25 per square vs. $15 per square in what it means for Ypsi’s tax base? (Sincere question.)

    I’m looking for a place to live, long term, and financing for parks, transit, trash, cops, schools and such. How does the $10 difference effect those goals?

    I agree that a Starbucks and 7-11 will be marginally good for EMU (I guess we can be thankful EMU didn’t buy the block on open the stores off the tax rolls). And, there’s likely some trickle down from EMU to our local economy (as their would be if we opened a coal mine or any other business that hired a handful of locals).

    But, beyond and including what they pay in rent, how does a chain vs. locally owned store benefit our city?

    Put more directly, should I stop eating at Beezy’s and start spending more cash at the KFC on Michigan Ave? Which of the two is better for our economy, all things considered?

    Maybe I’m what’s bad for Ypsi. Me wanting unique, locally owned businesses rather than another Panera. Because Panera will pay more per square foot and increase EMU enrollment?

    Yes, I’m goading, a little, but am sincere in my questions.

  22. MTT
    Posted January 30, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    Jake, do you realize how silly it sounds when, in the course of arguing how we shouldn’t try to stand in the way of the free market, you tell people who don’t want a Starbucks to essentially shut up? Why is it OK for businesses to express themselves but not the citizens who live in our community? What do you have against the free and open exchange of ideas?

  23. Andrew Jason Clock
    Posted January 30, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    To change topics again, back to my earlier post, a correction. Please DON”T mail any letters of support directly to the state. Instead, email them to:

    waterstreetparkypsi@gmail.com

    If you represent a company or organization, and can use their letterhead, all the better.

  24. Posted January 31, 2011 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    I feel threatened by irrelevant people who wish they were relevant, MTT. This insecurity on my part proves that everything I think is wrong, and that your wasted hot air is not only important somehow, but proof of your moral superiority. Carry on.

  25. Christine M
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    I don’t drink coffee, I’m more into Iced unsweetened tea but what about Bigby’s – aren’t they local too? I am not into Starbucks because their iced tea sucks but I rarely go into any coffee shops anyway. So either way I guess they aren’t drawing me. So why am I here? Oh yeah, it’s my neighborhood. Still hoping for an anime store. Bookstore with non-college books? Maybe a mini-borders or Barnes and Noble? That is something bike ride worthy.

    Sorry if anyone else said what I’m saying, I’m too lazy to read all the other posts.

    http://www.biggby.com/

  26. Posted January 31, 2011 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    You guys are hilarious. That somebody would want to be opening anything at all in Ypsi is good news enough. Every time I drive down Washtenaw, I swear I see five newly closed businesses.

    People may not like chains (I don’t), but the truth is, that most people in the world won’t eat/buy from anyone else.

  27. Oliva
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    What a great line this is–exactly fitting for these times too. Is kind of long for a T-shirt but could work?

    Do you all realize that you can’t really live your lives bitching about what everybody else should do with their shit?

  28. EOS
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    The block needs a theme. How about M and M? Music and munchies. Maybe a couple of Medical Marijuana dispensaries? Get the customers stoned and keep them there until all their money is gone. Great for the city!

  29. Edward
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Libertarians are always good for a laugh. When they’re expressing their opinions, they’re all about unfettered self expression. When you try to say something that they don’t agree with, though, suddenly the rights of the individual go out the window. Fucking hypocrites with guns is what they are.

  30. Posted January 31, 2011 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Knock yourself out, Edward!

  31. Quad Caramel Quayle
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    I stand corrected. What was I thinking. Starbucks on Cross Street would be great for Ypsi. And a 7-11 next door. Then Black Jake and the Cornies can play the Starbucks, and present the dazed herd of consumers with the simulacra of an alternative to Chambers of Commerce, TV, Old Navy, K Street, and Walmart (“I hate Walmart, it’s just that big packages of toilet paper are so cheap there . . .”).

    And if the Ugly Mug’s business suffers a bit, we can just pat its owner on the back and say, Hey, some day this awesome new Starbucks is going to make you money.

    What’s at work here is something I call Glacial Complacency: a few years ago, we all were mainly in agreement that megachains are generally bad news for local economic health and vision. But now we all buy everything from Amazon, we’ve grown accustomed to sending our money to China for shit that either falls apart in 4 years, or causes people to jump from skyscrapers, and while we used to go to Congdon’s for things, we now just can’t help but go to Lowe’s, because . . . well, hell, that’s where the world’s heading, and some pundit mentioned on some blog that the giant chains leave a little bit in the local economy.

    How about a wake-up call? Think local / act loco / buy local. It’s pretty simple.

  32. dragon
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    “I surrendered my youth to the people I feared when I could have been out there loving someone. Don’t make that mistake yourself. Life’s too damn short.”

    Don’t forget that Starbucks has been added to the growing list of really gay things that are being jammed down our throats. They included the above quote(Armistead Maupin) in a rotating ‘words of notable Americans’ on the side of their cups.

  33. Posted January 31, 2011 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    What I am saying is that people who are trying to make the most of their own lives for the betterment of humanity aren’t generally inclined to take down the beneficial things that other people are doing.

    I wholeheartedly agree with Murph and Peter Larson on this.

    You can say whatever you want, but you seem like a desperate, bitter, envious, insecure person when you try to take down the things that other people are trying to do, all for some kind of cockamamie self-righteous moral reason that doesn’t make any sense.

    Freedom of speech is a great thing because it gives fools and assholes the means of letting everybody else know who they are, and it gives everyone else a means of pointing it out.

  34. Kim
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Who exactly are you disagreeing with, Jake? I think everyone, Mark included, is saying that we’d prefer to support a local shop, but we think it’s unlikely that a local player would pay the rate O’Neal is looking for. And we’re hoping that Starbucks won’t run our locally owned coffee shops out of business. What in that do you find so objectionable?

  35. Watching Laughing.
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Quad Carmel Quayle,
    I got a great idea for you.
    You open these little boutiques throughout Ypsi and Downtown and see how long your hype lasts after trying to find out how to survive on a few hundred bucks a day in revenues.
    Reality sets in really fast.
    It doesn’t pay the bills, at all.

    Watching Laughing.

  36. Decaf Rove
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Bitter for trying to keep a Starbucks out of our neighborhood? I suppose all the people bleeding in the streets of Cairo right now are also insecure. And slaves were assholes shitting on the dreams of their owners, yeah?

    For some perspective, let’s look at the case of José Bové. If you’re a Slurpee-and-tattoo kind of guy, you probably don’t know who he is. He bulldozed a McDonalds in Millau. A small percent of the local populace was upset, in that they were excited to be able to eat cheap crap. The majority of his community, however, applauded him. Was he just envious of McDonalds, and the good people who were working hard to launch it?

  37. Posted January 31, 2011 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Kim: first I was agreeing with Murph against Doppio Vanilla Nixon, then I was disagreeing with MTT who disagreed with me by name and ridiculously mischaracterized what I said, then I was disagreeing with Edward who I’m pretty sure aimed his hypocrisy charge at me in the same mischaracterization vein as MTT, then I was disagreeing Quad Caramel Quayle who called my band Black Jake and the Cornies because he really doesn’t want a Starbucks to open there. I assume they’re all the same guy.

  38. Posted January 31, 2011 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    …as is Decaf Rove.

  39. Frogger
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    I can’t wait to start a “Starbucks” chant at the next Blake Jake and the Carnies show.

  40. Gap Mochachino
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Oh fuck, it’s “Carnies,” my apologies.

  41. Posted January 31, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    That would be the Circus Bar in Ann Arbor on Wednesday, Feb 9th at 10pm. Admission is free!

    And if any Starbucks ad men are surfing the web for ideas, I will get your logo tattooed on my body for $50,000. Offer open to all corporations; I have yet to see dollar one from doing this crap.

  42. AndyC
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    I’d love a 7-11 there. It would be nice to buy a bag of chips from a store that isn’t selling hard liquor from behind glass.

    Did a tour of the West Coast quite a few years back. City after city we ran into small shops closing early, charging cover due to bands playing, or just having bad coffee. Some were great but in the end we stuck with Starbucks. Not my favorite but we knew what we were getting.

  43. atf
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    boycott jizz jake

  44. Posted January 31, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Bring it, coward. If you want, you can come over to my house and we can talk face to face over a shot of rum like gentlemen. Actually, I’ll be drinking the rum while you kiss my hairy ass.

  45. dragon
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    That would be the Circus Bar in Ann Arbor on Wednesday, Feb 9th at 10pm. Admission is free!
    And if any Starbucks ad men are surfing the web for ideas, I will get your logo tattooed on my body for $50,000.

    You spelled Barsucks wrong!

  46. Posted January 31, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    @Ale –

    Can you help me understand the significance of $25 per square vs. $15 per square in what it means for Ypsi’s tax base? (Sincere question.)

    I think (but am not positive) that the city does market-value assessment of commercial properties, rather than rent-value assessment. In the short-term, this means the difference in rent itself means very little to the city’s tax base.

    It does mean two things on a slightly longer timeline, though.

    1. Rents are usually somewhat reflective of the cost to construct or purchase and renovate a property, which means it does reflect a higher market value of that property, immediately, as well as indicating that nearby properties may have higher market values.

    2. If O’Neal can ask and get the higher rent, it means other potential property owners will be more inclined to pay more for properties, on both the purchase and rehab sides, pushing up the taxable values.

    So, in the longer-term, if the O’Neal deal works out the way he-as-interpreted-by-AnnArbor.com-as-interpreted-by-us thinks it will, it should put upward pressure on prices along Cross Street, leading to increased tax revenues. (On the other hand, though, Michigan’s municipal finance structure means cities are hosed in the long-run regardless, Ypsi and otherwise. That’s a longer conversation, though.)

    Now, if the “upward pressure on prices” bit strikes anyone as ominous, there’s good reason for that. As I said, Starbucks can afford rents that the Mug or Beezy’s probably can’t, and that will remain true. Downtown Ann Arbor has seen the dark side of this pretty thoroughly over the last decade – anybody remember Leopold Bros’ closing up shop when their 7-year lease expired and the landlord raised their rent by 2/3? Just one example.

    Most in Ypsi would laugh if you brought it up as a concern right now (and some will say it’s exactly what we need), but “gentrification” is not a wholly inappropriate word to start thinking about. What I say as far as the economics of retail real estate and what I want for the community I live in are two distinct things – I’d like to make sure that Ypsi remains a place where kids fresh out of school can buy a house and have the choice of patronizing local indie businesses, but that’s not something that happens just by wishing it. That’s another longer conversation, though.

  47. Billy LaLonde
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Jake…I may be late for the next show. I need to swing by Starbucks and grab a venti stawberries jubilee frappacino on the way…I just wish there was a Starbucks closer to my house, then I could totally make it on time…hell, I’d even settle for a cherry slurpee in a pinch! Where are all the Starbucks and 7-11s in Ypsi?
    It sounds like O’Neal was looking for local tenants, but no one stepped up or surfaced. So, you have to fill it with something. Better than an empty storefront. Have you driven through downtown Flint recently? The last time I did, it was a very sad sight.
    I’ve never heard anyone bitch about the Jimmy Johns a block down, as they stuff themselves on bootleggers and club sandwiches. Maybe The Ugly Mugg should move down to this new development. They may increase their business with more student foot traffic. It would seem like a smart business move to me. Do they own their building, or lease? Why doesn’t anyone start up a small market there for students to do some light shopping at, within walking distance? A lot of people seem to think this would be a good idea, it should make money, right? Oh, that’s right…most people are all talk, criticizing on a whim, with no pipe to back up all the smoke they blow.
    Is this blog located under a bridge or something? Because, all I see here are no named trolls, posting cheap insults and barbs under the safe cover of their hidey-holes. “Jizz Jake”? That’s classy…and if were going to keep it classy atf, then I must say, your comment reminds me of the best part of you…you know…the part that ran down your mother’s leg. Yeah…

  48. Ale Roka
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Murph. You said:

    I think (but am not positive) that the city does market-value assessment of commercial properties, rather than rent-value assessment. In the short-term, this means the difference in rent itself means very little to the city’s tax base.

    That’s my basic understanding, too. I was wondering what other factors I wasn’t considering, and you outline a few. (And, I do really appreciate your willingness to offer free mini-courses in urban planning for us readers.)

  49. EL
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Can’t we keep the same design aesthetic in the area?

    http://markmaynard.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/thomposnblockscaffolds.jpg

  50. notoneofthecoolkids
    Posted February 1, 2011 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Well thanks for answering me about the evil Starbucks question.

    You see, I love Starbucks coffee and I love a double tall lattle…no flavors, just great coffee bean taste. I don’t have many treats in my life because I am pretty broke, so when I go to spend over $3 on a latte I want to know I will like the taste. I have tried all the local shops at least once, and none of them in Ypsi choose the right beans, and everything tastes bland to me, and the milk they use cheap and flavorless.
    Of all corporations to gripe about I think Starbucks is pretty far down the list. The Kroger on Whittaker has a Starbucks, but I hate the customer service throughout the store and I refused to shop their for anything anymore. So I would love a Starbucks on that corner.
    Murph had a lot of great points – I ditto most of his post. It may sound silly, but I think that a Starbucks would clean up that corner. It certainly would cut down on the bums that hang out around there.

  51. Various
    Posted February 1, 2011 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    The solution is obvious & simple. If you don’t want a Starbucks there then rent the space & open something else. If, as others have suggested, the rent is prohibitively high, then sit back and watch as nobody rents it for a really long time. Once the landlord is desperate and has given up on attracting high profile corporate tenants rent it & start your own business.

  52. Jiggs
    Posted February 1, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    “…then sit back and watch as nobody rents it for a really long time. Once the landlord is desperate and has given up on attracting high profile corporate tenants rent it & start your own business.”

    How bout an art supplies store? Oh, wait. How long’s that space been sitting empty? While I agree with that sentiment, it seems unlikely that his landlord would be willing to do that.

  53. therma
    Posted February 14, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Our local plasma center sucks. It would be great to have one right across from Campus.

  54. Dress Barn
    Posted April 7, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Any new developments on this? Have leases been signed?

  55. Tim Oskins
    Posted June 11, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    They seem to be making pretty good progress with the building. Starbucks or not, it’s good to see someone putting effort (and money) into a local building.

  56. Meta
    Posted July 5, 2011 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    It looks like the VG Kids might be getting a little competition. According to this AA.com article, the Ann Arbor T-shirt Company is the first tenant to sign a lease for this O’Neil development in the former Campus Drugs building.

    http://www.annarbor.com/business-review/ann-arbor-based-online-clothing-companies-grow-and-look-to-expand/

    http://www.annarbortshirtcompany.com/information/company

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Connect

Sidetrack ad Aubree’s ad BUY LOCAL... or shop at Amazon through this link Banner Initiative Elkins banner