The Ypsilanti Water Street Project began in 1999 as the City of Ypsilanti accumulated properties over 38 acres between Park St. and Huron St. south of Michigan Ave. A grandiose development plan to include a housing – retail – town square was hoped for with two developers backing away from the project in both 2004 and 2006.
Since only a Family Dollar Store has opened while a much-discussed recreation center and a controversial 76 unit affordable housing complex are still somewhere in the planning stages.
With nothing 100% certain, the City remains receptive to realistic Water Street development overtures. Following are the latest Water Street developments as of April 1st.
Retail developer Buck Szaplenti has announced signed letters of intent from the nation’s biggest discount retailers. Dollar Tree, Dollar General, the 99 Cents Stores based in California and Jack’s Dollar Store out of New York are all committed to join the already existing Family Dollar Store on Ypsilanti’s Water Street Project.
Tentatively named The Washingtons Plaza, this will be the country’s first Dollar Store Mall. Watching carefully are industry experts who predict that the competition could result in prices per item dropping below 90 cents.
“This is a great day for Ypsilanti”, said current City Council member and lifelong Ypsilanti Mayoral candidate Pete Murdock.
– Tweeting from its St. Louis home, the World Bird Sanctuary has announced the construction of the Ypsilanti City Bird Sanctuary on the City’s Water Street Project property south of Michigan Ave. at River St.
Plans will include a walk through aviary with songbirds, hummingbirds, finches, sparrows and many other smaller species. Also, on display will be woodpeckers, storks and other birds native to Michigan in addition to live displays of bald eagles, owls, hawks, falcons, cockatoos and other exotic birds.
“We’ll believe it when we see it,” said the parrots.
– Exciting news for serious wine aficionados and wine – abees throughout Washtenaw County is that Ypsilanti will have its own winery and vineyards by the end of 2017.
The Bella Bella (B2) Winery of Berrien Springs, Michigan has purchased the remaining 36 acres of Ypsilanti’s Water Street Project property for the development of the Chateau de’ Ypsilanti Vineyards and Winery.
Thanks to a mild winter, 32 acres of red and white grape vines have already been planted in anticipation of a late summer inaugural harvest. Also to be built on the property will be a six bedroom farmhouse with a huge dining room and chef’s kitchen, furnished balconies overlooking the vineyards, a custom tasting room in the cellar and many other desirable amenities.
The Chateau de’ Ypsilanti will produce primarily mid-priced white wines to include Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blanc, and reds to include Cabernets and an award-winning Sauvignon Blanc.
“Once each year”, said the owner and head winemaker Jerry Boam, “we will produce our Grand Cru, a Greek Makedonikos in tribute to Ypsi’s namesake General Demitrious Ypsilanti.”
When asked what will make Chateau de’ Ypsilanti wines stand out from the rest, Boam said, “It’s the Ypsilanti Water Street soil that we believe will give our wines their distinctive taste.”
Other Water Street proposals submitted to the City on April 1st include:
Ypsilanti Dog Park – In dog time, it would take seven years to build.
Ypsilanti City Campgrounds – A tent area, 12 cabins, a man-made lake, and a Dairy Queen right across the street.
The Ypsilanti Amusement Park – Included will be the Water Street Roller Coaster, the Michigan Ave. Bumper Cars, The City Council Carousel, and the sure to be popular Water Tower Tunnel of Love.