Sterling 411 Lofts, one of downtown’s first high-end student-living high-rises, turns ten this year. As if to celebrate, it has a new owner and a new name in lights above its Washington St. entrance: the YOUnion.
An ad doubles down, declaring, “There’s no one else quite like you.” There are other YOUnions, though. Since 2016, California-based SmartStop Asset Management has been buying up luxury apartments in college towns across the country, including Tallahassee, FL, Columbia, SC, and Fayetteville, NC. All have since been rebranded as YOUnions. SmartStop paid the Dinerstein Companies $43.8 million for the building at 411 E. Washington. Dinerstein bought it from its struggling developer during the Great Recession.
The “YOUnion @ Ann Arbor” is getting renovated private gym and lounge areas, but so far few other changes have occurred. The new name comes on the heels of ground-floor tenant Fred’s changing its name to Wilma’s (see Marketplace Changes, p. 39). Maybe the switch will be a positive for the nearby restaurants. “Am I the only one whose eye wants to read it as ONION?” a passerby asked.