Michigan's weak real estate market has brought at least one bit of good fortune to University of Michigan Credit Union-a bargain price on new headquarters.
UMCU will move its administrative staff into a downtown building that formerly housed The Ann Arbor News. After 174 years, the daily published its last edition July 23, 2009.
The three-story building has been awaiting a buyer since then. It's considered a landmark and is the only commercial building in Ann Arbor designed by noted architect Albert Kahn, who also designed several major buildings on the University of Michigan campus in addition to well-known automotive plants in the Detroit area.
UMCU has not released the purchase price. The building was listed for $9.3 million, and the credit union has indicated it was able to make the purchase for about half what it would cost for new construction.
The structure, built in 1936, offers 58,000 square feet, plus two parking lots. Parking is considered a major plus in any area near the university's central campus, where even a faculty-staff parking permit is referred to as simply a hunting license.
Jeff Schillag, UMCU vice president of marketing and community relations, said no firm date has been set for staff to move in from three locations the credit union currently leases. As with many newspaper offices, the former editorial and advertising layout is very open and some offices will need to be constructed. No branches will be closed, and the headquarters will not house a branch since there is already one within a few blocks.
If there's any negative, it's the printing presses sitting on the ground floor. They're for sale, but so far no offers, and removing them could be expensive.