Monday, July 6, 2009
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
CVS one step closer to A2
By JASMINE ZHU
Last month, the Ann Arbor
Historic District Commission
unanimously approved the design
scheme for a new CVS Pharmacy,
which would move into the 209-211
State Street building and replace
current tenants Sava's State Street
Caf6 and a tattoo parlor.
According to John Baumann,
director of construction at Velmeir
Companies, whichrepresents CVS,
the projected $8-million design
plan for the building will keep the
front fagade and knock out the
back of the building.
In April, Velmeir Companies
submitted its first draft of the
building plan, which called for the
entire building to be demolished.
Soon after, the plan was with-
Jill Thacher. Ann Arbor historic
preservation coordinator, said in a
May 8, 2009 Michigan Daily arti-
cle that the HDC rarely approves
projects that demolish an entire
building, except in rare circum-
stances, such as if the building was
a health hazard to the public.
Baumann said the current
development plan would present a
difficult task to construct.
"This is going to be a big under-
taking," Baumann said. "This is
like saving the Alamo."
Ethel Potts, an Ann Arbor resi-
dent and City Planning Commis-
sion member, expressed concerns
about the change in the scale of
the building, which would be
increased three feet in height due
to the new design.
"It could be that the current
grace and scale of the building
could be changed," Potts said,
fearing that the new dimensions
wouldn't match with the scale of
the other buildings on the block.
Potts added that the extra
height would be "too visible" of an
addition from State Street.
HDC Commissioner Patrick
McCauley said his concerns with
the proposed layout include the
building's height increase and the
new storefront thatwould be made
"My only two concerns are how
raising the parapet wall would
affect the building and what the
new storefront would look like in
relation to the historic fabric of
the building," McCauley said.
Thacher echoed McCauley's
doubts about the proposed store-
"I do have a little bit of concern
about the color of the storefronts,"
Thacher said. "It seems quite
bright and may distract from the
front facade of the historic build-
Thacher added that "the build-
ing has grown organically over the
century. There are really no char-
acter-defining features left behind
the front elevation."
McCauley agreed, stating that
the location's current condition
contained remnants of architec-
ture from various eras.
"It's a big of a hodge-podge of
things going on," said McCauley,
in reference to the location's cur-
Thacher said she thought CVS's
move to State Street was appro-
priate in keeping with historic
"This is an appropriate use for
retail establishments," Thacher
said. "It does not compete with
or distract from the historic front
fagade because it's as neutral as
possible, just being plain brick."
Baumann said he was confi-
dent in the success of the store's
"We're ready to take on this
responsibility," he said. "We have
a client (CVS) who's willing to put
the money up to do this ... we will
Baumann said that if the proj-
ect is approved, it would take six
months to complete and could
begin sometime next year.
Velmeir Companies must next
submit a site plan to be reviewed
by the Ann Arbor planning com-
mission. The planningcommission
will then present its recommenda-
tions to City Council, which will
ultimately decide the fate of pro-