Stephen Ranzini, CEO of University Bank, has lived in his One North Main penthouse since 2000, but now he has it on the market for an asking price of $1.15 million. The two-story apartment is sufficiently splendid to have been featured in the Detroit Free Press’s “House Envy” section.

But Ranzini says the timing of his move has nothing to do with his new neighbor–a Residence Inn by Marriott whose first few floors are flush against the west wall of One North Main.

“We are not thinking of moving related to any construction,” says Ranzini, who notes that he and his wife, Lisa Marie, have two young children and were expecting a third in late February. On the contrary, he emails, the “hotel adds a huge amenity (our guests can stay next door at a hotel with a pool), does not impact our views at all and eliminates the future possibility of a tall building going in next door that does impact our views.”

But there’s no question that the spate of towering residential buildings popping up downtown has moved the value of views a little higher on the real estate community’s agenda. Three blocks east of One North Main, the vistas from units on the west side of Sloan Plaza, downtown’s first luxury high-rise when it opened in 1986, are being compromised by the fourteen-story 413 E. Huron project under construction next door.

“Sloan is kind of like my baby, since I sold all of it,” says Elizabeth Brien of Reinhart Realtors. “Everybody who bought on the west side knew some day something was going to go up there.” And Brien notes that an obstructed view doesn’t necessarily obstruct sales. “I had two offers on a [Sloan Plaza] unit I sold after the foundation [of 413 E. Huron] was going in, so people are still going to buy.”

That’s because one eternal real estate verity still holds. “Views are always important, and nobody likes to lose a view, but Ann Arbor is going to become more like a typical downtown in a bigger city,” Brien says. “People will pay more for views, but people will always buy to be in a location, being on a great street and within walking distance of restaurants and shopping.”

As Nancy Bishop, also of Reinhart, puts it, “I might price a property a little higher to take into account the view, but in order to get it, I have to have a buyer who finds the view to be valuable.

“If you look at really large metropolitan areas, it’s not uncommon for you to look out your window and see another tall building. It doesn’t take away the fact you’re living downtown, part of the city mix.

“I think it’s inevitable that these views are going to be compromised a bit by progress. I don’t think it’s going to impact the value all that much. You get used to it. Change happens around these buildings, and you take it in stride.”

Nonetheless, says commercial developer Peter Allen, “People are looking at how to protect their viewshed. I have this issue with my properties on North Main, where I want to build something looking at Argo Dam and the river. Will I always have a view of water or is there open space that will get developed? Is a viewshed a legal right?”

That would be fine with Ranzini, who notes in an email that “cities like Seattle and Vancouver pay careful attention to that in their building codes.” And while the view from his condo is safe for now, there’s another one whose loss irritates him.

“I noticed while canoeing down the Huron that the U-M is building a new nursing school totally visible from the middle of the river,” he writes. “Then I noticed that coming down Plymouth Road, when you turn the corner and see downtown, this same building will completely block the view of the U-M Bell Tower. Ouch! U-M should have considered the impact of the new nursing school on key views in the city. They clearly didn’t.”