Developer ends attempt to fill Liberty Square
By ARTHUR BRIDGEFORTH JR.
NEWS STAFF REPORTER
The towel has been thrown in yet again on finding retailers or anyone willing to open stores in the shuttered Liberty Square building in downtown Ann
Midtown Properties, which is principally owned by Borders Books founder Tom Borders, recently let its purchase agreement expire on the vacant Liberty Square building.
Ren Snyder, president of the Ann Arbor-based company, said it spent four months contacting retailers to pique their interest. Midtown contacted mostly national retail chains and some local retailers. The company has said it wanted to attract a mix of clothing and specialty shops.
But Snyder said there wasn’t enough interest generated in the 57,000-square-foot retail center, which is adjacent to a city-owned parking garage between Washington and Liberty streets.
“We decided to pass on it,” he said Tuesday. “It’s a tough building.”
The purchase agreement really acted as an option on the building, Snyder added.
The troubled, two-level property has been closed since 1990 after several years of low occupancy. It opened in 1986. Last December, Liberty Square owners Joseph Slavik and Melvin Rosenhaus of Farmington Hills and David Robinson deeded the property back to their lender, Michigan National Bank.
Downtown’s depressed commercial real estate market, which only began to rebound in the last several months, forced Liberty Square’s owners to cut their sale price several times before it was deeded back to Michigan National. The last list price was about $2.2 million. The owners’ development company, the Fourmidable Group, had invested more than $7 million in the mall.
Since it closed, revival plans have ranged from a convention center to a multi-sports center.