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Washtenaw Avenue Talent Center

Action Outcome

Promote economic growth in the region by redeveloping Washtenaw Avenue as a “Talent Center,” providing an array of housing types connected to employment and educational centers by excellent public transit service.


  • Charter to commit members adopted by jurisdictions, transportation agencies and other community stakeholders in the public and private sector.
  • Redevelopment Opportunities and Multi-modal Transportation Improvements prioritized.
  • Completed visioning design charrette for corridor and specific sites.
  • Re-Imagining Washtenaw Avenue Report with recommendations for regional cooperation to improve investment environment and retrofit Washtenaw Avenue to a compact, walkable mixed-use transit corridor.
  • Joint Technical Committee formed by resolutions to address recommendations for transforming Washtenaw Avenue corridor given in Report.

Action Champions

Mandy Grewal, Pittsfield Township Supervisor
Dick Carlisle, Carlistle-Wortman Associates, Inc.

Action Manager

Anya Dale, Planner, Washtenaw County

For information contact Anya Dale at

Action Description

The retention and attraction of talented, creative people is a principle resource that grows a successful regional economy enhancing the quality of place over the long term.  While the Ann Arbor region provides a variety of housing, there is a serious gap in providing affordable places for talent to live.  Residents that are just starting their career have limited affordable housing choices in the City of Ann Arbor.  The talent workforce prefers vibrant places to live which are also in close proximity to public transit.

By altering land use and development patterns to provide a variety of centers for talent to live with alternative modes of transportation, the region will be recognized as having an excellent quality of living and continue to attract talent and companies.  Developing Washtenaw Avenue as a "Talent Center" and envisioning a form of fixed transit service can revitalize neighborhoods, increase social interaction and pedestrian activity, enhance safety, and create the quality of place that makes this community successful.  Talent will be drawn to this corridor and the amenities offered by the region, adding to the vibrancy of the urban core, generating private investment and adding to the tax base. 

Action Team

Mandy Grewal, Pittsfield Township Supervisor
Brenda Stumbo, Ypsilanti Township Supervisor
Terri Blackmore, Executive Director, WATS
Chris White, AATA
Jesse Bernstein, AATA Board
Richard Murphy, Ypsilanti Planning Director
Diane Keller, Ypsilanti Area Chamber
Nancy Shore, GetDowntown
Megan Masson-Minock, UM
Paul Montagno, Pittsfield Twp. Senior Planner
Peter Pollack, Pollack-Design
Jeff Kahan, City of Ann Arbor Planner
Karen Maurer, Maurer Management
Bill Kinley, Phoenix Contracting
Dick Carlisle, Carlisle-Wortman
Chuck Warpehoski, Director, Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice
Paul Lott, MDOT
Jennifer Hall, Washtenaw County Housing Program Coordinator
Joe Lawson, Ypsilanti Twp Planner
Laurence Krieg, Ypsilanti Twp Planning Commissioner
Benjamin R. Smith, Plante Moran Real Estate Consultants
Newcombe Clark, Bluestone Realty Advisors Principal
Bill Nichols, Ypsilanti City Council
Candance Pinaud, College Heights Neighborhood Association
Mel Zimmerman, McKinley
Rhonda McGill, Director of Community Housing Alternatives
Kirk Westphal, Ann Arbor Planning Commission
Eric Mahler, Ann Arbor Planning Commission
Representative, LSL Planning
Kyle Mazurek, Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce
Bitsy Lamb, University of Michigan Transportation and Parking

Action Timeline  

  Action Steps  Timelines 
 1. Existing Conditions: Corridor inventory, plans, zoning, census data, travel mode, household information, vacant parcels, buildings and underutilized strip centers, current building uses, number of housing units, units of commercial space, vacancy rates, assessment data Complete

Redevelopment and Infill Opportunities Analysis:

  1. Acres undeveloped, acres with redevelopment potential, housing units and types possible under various scenarios, potential transit and revenues, potential tax base increase.
  2. Development and redevelopment constraints
  3. Market feasibility analysis
  4. Transit system options and feasibility assessment
 3. Talent Center redevelopment scenarios and implementation steps Complete
 4. Present scenarios to local units, developers, and agencies and, based on input, decide on recommended scenario On-going
 5. Present recorded redevelopment scenario and detailed implementation actions to local governments and agencies for adoption/approval. Currently
 6. Finish Recommendations in Report form for Implementation December 2009



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