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Start Of Federal Building Here Delayed Again

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Start Of Federal Building Here Delayed Again BY DAN McLEISTER Business-Lab ter The beginning of work on the federal building site here is being delayed again. This time the problem is relocating tenants in one house on the site, which is bounded by Fifth Avenue, Liberty Street and Fourth Avenue. A starting date is uncertain, but demo lit' "•""•• on existing buildings will not eve.; ti until after the date this spring, when the buildinp ••-•—-'ly was to have been completed. Selection of a site was revealed in January 1973. In March 1973 U.S T?P" Marvin L. Esch, R-Ann Arbor, sai- struction was expected *o ^gin eany in 1974 and be complett .e spring of 1975. The News revealed in March 1974 that construction had been delayed a year and the completion date moved to June 1976. That delay was due mainly to the post f ' moving in and out of the -buiki.l.t, (ins, a General Services Ad- ministration official indicated at that time. It was determined that post office facilities would be included. The building now causing the delay is a house at 326 S. Fifth Ave, owned by Pauline Rothmeyer, an attorney who has : - office there and rents other space as apartments. Under the relocation act the federal government has to find comparable space at the same rate or the tenants don't have to move, Nancy Francis, an attornev for Model Cities legal aid, said. n't feel the federal government has found comparable housing. Federal regulations define comparable as price, neighborhood and size." Tenants have been paying from $60 to $80 a month, she said. The attorney, i;; representing eight present and former tenants, also said the tenants were not informed of their rights and benefits under the relo- cation act. She also said the government did not file an environmental impact statement when they should have. "It is nobody's intent to hold up this project. But the tenants have not gotten their just due under the law. They need some place to go," Francis said. Federal District Court Judge Phillip Pratt has issued an nrrip? canceling a previous order givin government possession of the house, r i i";n^ on the questions raised by Fn; :•' been postponed a couple of times and is now scheduled for June 2. Benjamin Copenhaver, director of bu- sienss affairs for the Chicago GSA office, said the government is ready to proceed but that proces is being held up by litiga- tion. The earliest possible date for demo- lition work to begin would be July 1, ac- cording to the GSA official. That would be four months beyond when the govern- ment expected to begin demolition under ^the revised schedule. When ^s'<^d if these delays were caus- ing I. . mnent to consider abandon- ing the project or look for anothe " downtown Ann Arbor or eiss ;if, Copenhaver said, "As far as I know that is the site." When asked about the rising construc- tion costs due to delays he said "We will have to wait and see when the bids come in." Rep. Mar -" said, "I have had a policy of exi ., the project as much as possible because Ann Arbor needs the federal building. I am disappointed in the delays but I also recognize that it is not proper for a congressman to push through a project when there is legal ac- tion involved. "As far as I know the funding will be there is the project proceeds on a reason- able schedule," Esch said. Other land owners on the federal build- ing site also have disputes with the fed- eral government over the price that is to be paid for their particular pieces of land. That includes the Masonic Temple. But that dispute, which is also in court, would not hold up demolition. The prop', erties have been vacated and settlement on price could be reached later.