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Thursday May 25, 2017
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In the Zone

 

continued

There was, for instance, the "progress" frenzy of the 1950s and 1960s, when gingerbread bowed to Bauhaus and Ann Arbor's very own Main Street USA, its lacey needlepoint Victoriana entombed beneath layers of corrugated aluminum, dropped to its arthritic knees while gleaming new asphalt acreages with names like Westgate and Arborland beckoned an ever-expanding car culture.

From gilded age bustier to Le Corbusier ... talk about painting the Red Queen's roses red.

And much like Wonderland's croquet game, the run-up to the South Fifth blitz was a fractious match that banged around city council chambers and neighborhood meetings for five long years. The result--keepsake homes demolished for ho-hum student housing--left townies a little confused, if not mad as hatters.

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The short explanation is that developer Alex de Parry, after much wrangling and expense, was given a third chance to submit a project--his twice-rejected Heritage Row--that he said would save the homes, but he didn't take it. Then a new developer, de Parry's former partner, declared Heritage Row too expensive to build anyway, starting the dizzying plunge to vacant lots and--as if soaring upward after a bite of magic cake--the two massive blocks of student apartments called City Place that filled them.

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