Adrian Armory could be redeveloped into apartments

Adrian Armory

A proposal for two new apartment buildings downtown has shifted focus, but is still in the works.

Last summer, Peter Jobson, president of Excel Realty Group in Ohio, spoke to the Adrian City Commission about building two affordable housing complexes on spaces that are currently occupied by city parking lots. One would have been on the site of the Maiden Lane parking lot on the east side of South Winter Street, and the other would have been on Church Street across from the Lenawee County Historical Museum.

In order to provide enough parking for residents and to replace the parking spaces that would have been lost, the apartments would have sat on top of three-story parking structures, bringing the total height of the buildings to six stories.

However, city administrator Shane Horn said, the developer is now looking at two different downtown locations. One is the now-vacant National Guard armory on West Maumee Street, and the other is the land on Pearl Street behind Larry’s Custom Cycles.

The state of Michigan has offered right of first refusal on the Armory building to both the city of Adrian and the Adrian school district, and Horn said the school district has indicated it’s not interested. So the city could buy the building from the state, then resell it to the developer.

Excel Realty Group did something similar in Jackson, converting an old armory into apartments. (Those apartments can be seen here.)

The Pearl Street building would be new construction, which Horn said would help address the blight in that area. Because it would not need a parking garage, it would not be as tall as the original proposal.

Adrian economic development and Downtown Development Authority coordinator Chris Miller said the city commission should be able to hear an update on the plans at its next pre-meeting study session. That meeting will be on Tuesday, Jan. 19, having been moved from its usual Monday slot for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.