Thompson Block in Ypsilanti’s Depot Town One Step Closer to 2015 Opening

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The Ypsilanti City Council approved this week a planned unit development agreement for the mixed-use Thompson Block, which is scheduled to open by September 2015.

Located in Ypsilanti’s Depot Town, the 30,000-square-foot Thompson Block will feature 16 luxury lofts, 14,000 square feet of commercial space, and a 26-space parking lot. The building, a former Civil War barracks built in 1861, is within walking distance of Eastern Michigan University.

“We’ve added a parking lot to the back of the building and a large patio area that will run the extent of the front of the building,” says Tyler Weston, a partner in the project and its commercial agent. “These are some pretty significant changes to our previous plan, and will really benefit the (residential) tenants upstairs as well as the commercial tenants downstairs.”

Weston says the development group will prelease the residential units. In 2012, the team established Thompson Block Partners LLC, a real estate investment company that plans to raise $1.7 million in equity for the project by selling 174 shares valued at $10,000 per share. At least 40 shares have been sold so far, says Weston, noting the group is also pursuing several grant and loan opportunities through organizations such as Michigan Economic Development Corp.

Weston expects the project to make its commercial commitments by the end of the first quarter. While he doesn’t provide names, he says the development group is in talks with a local coffee shop and a fitness studio. “We’re looking at a mix of retail and local restaurants that will be heavy on local (ownership).”

And local does well in Depot Town. “The main reason for this project’s viability is the current commercial strength of Depot Town as a district. The anchors of Sidetrack Bar & Grill (with their recent expansion), Aubree’s Pizza, Corner Brewery, a strong farmers market, Woodruff’s, and their successful neighbors have really brought a lot of stability to the commercial market in the district and make this project an easy ‘sell’ to businesses that want to cater to the clientele these businesses attract, as well as the citizens that live in the surrounding neighborhoods,” Weston says.

Prices for the residential units range from $732 per month for a 610-square-foot studio to $1,424 per month for a 1,187-square-foot apartment with two bedrooms and one bath. Reserved parking will be available in the proposed parking lot for a monthly rate of $75 per space.

For more information about the Thompson Block, at 400 N. River St. near Cross Street, visit thompsonblock.com.

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