OT: Fingerle Lumber sells to UM

Submitted by Zoltanrules on December 6th, 2018 at 10:10 PM

A $33 Million Gift to the Law School today wasn't the only big transaction involving UM today. The UM Regents approved the puchase of the Fingerle property for $24 Million. Besides being an Ann Arbor institution,the Fingerle land was the site of some great football tailgating. From Mlive:

ANN ARBOR, MI - Just one week after Fingerle Lumber announced it was planning to close after more than 87 years of business, the University of Michigan’s Board of Regents approved the purchase of land owned by the business.The Board of Regents approved the purchase of 6.54 acres of land for $24 million. A closing date has been set for prior to March 31, 2019.

UM will have 90 days to complete due diligence on the property. The current owner intends to enter into a lease with the university, concurrent with the sale, that would allow it to continue to operate at the location along South Fifth Avenue, south of East Madison Street until Dec. 30, 2019. The university would receive a negotiated monthly rent for use.

The university’s future use of the property is yet to be determined, UM Chief Financial Officer Kevin Hegarty said.

“Its acquisition will provide a future opportunity for the expansion of Central Campus,” Hegarty said.

The three parcels of land include warehouse buildings, none of which are suited for university use, UM noted.


Chalky White

December 7th, 2018 at 12:43 PM ^

The people in the commercial really are that nice. Three years ago I went down the street to Chelsea Lumber to talk to someone about buying either $400 or $1,200  of cedar. I couldn't even get any of the three people who walked right past me acknowledge my presence. After standing there by myself for 10 minutes, it was obvious I should have just gone to Fingerle. I ended up being helped by Tony Goodlow from one of the radio commercials. I hate that Fingerle is closing.

Wolverine Devotee

December 6th, 2018 at 10:18 PM ^

Might not be OT. 

There are plans for a Michigan Volleyball/Wrestling/Gymnastics arena that is still happening per Volleyball arena. Had no idea where they were gonna put it this might be it.

The coliseum is so close by which is still part of Athletics.

new arena 1.png

Smegmatic Blue

December 6th, 2018 at 10:35 PM ^

This parcel probably wouldn't be large enough for something like that. And they made it pretty clear that this was an expansion of Central Campus, not the Athletic Campus.

All of these parcels together could be a campus for its own small academic unit. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if they decide to build a whole new department here.


December 6th, 2018 at 10:37 PM ^

I've heard that too... also a railway station (it's right by the rr track), or campus buildings/parking. Edwards Brothers on State Street quickly became the LAX field and track complex, so who knows?

The land's drainage and the springs in the area (the same ones that plagued the building of Michigan Stadium) may be a development issue. The Weinberg Coliseum across the street not only was the home of UM hockey from 1909 - 1973 (and a loud Wurlitzer organ) but also a swimming pool fed by these springs.




December 6th, 2018 at 10:21 PM ^

Fingerlee lumber really helped with our Mechanical Engineering project giving 5 M.E.'s some clue what we were doing.

Since none of us actually had a wood shop class before.  #fulfilling the stereotype.

But yeah they were sitting on a valuable piece of property.

rob f

December 6th, 2018 at 11:24 PM ^

Isn't Fingerle one if the biggest lots other than Pioneer HS for RV parking?  

I haven't parked and tailgated there more than a half dozen times over the years, but the potential loss of that many game day parking spaces is going to really make a dent in the supply of nearby parking north of The Big House.  


December 7th, 2018 at 8:21 AM ^

I RV tailgated there for the Wisconsin game in October. 

Supreme location.  It will be tough to replace.

And where will the B-School party bus go?

Tailgating is a defining 100 year Michigan tradition, pat of its very DNA.  Yet it's treated as pretty much an afterthought, even an annoyance.

But the University will miss it when it's gone.


Section 1.8

December 7th, 2018 at 3:06 PM ^

If this means that we will net even less football game day parking going forward, the University and the Athletic Department need to be questioned.

We lost parking when they remodeled Crisler.  I think we lost a modest amount of UMGC Green Lot space when they did that project.  We lost parking space when the Stadium Blvd. bridge project was done.

It seems as if every new athletic campus project ignores our dire parking and tailgating shortages.  And many of those projects are actually making the problems worse.



December 6th, 2018 at 10:36 PM ^

I lived next door to Fingerle on the corner of S Fifth and Madison my final year of undergrad. I wonder if the university will try to obtain that apartment building as well depending on what they have in mind. Considering they'll pretty much almost everything on that stretch of S Fifth between Madison and Hill now (Fingerle plus Coliseum) coupled with Elbel Field on the other side of Hill, a sports facility makes sense based on the footprint.

scanner blue

December 6th, 2018 at 10:39 PM ^

As a carpenter on the Old West Side of A2 this affects me greatly. I've probably been in there at least once every two weeks for over 30 years. My father in-law was an accountant there for over 30 years also. The best lumber yard in the county by far.


December 7th, 2018 at 10:50 AM ^

As a mechanical engineering student (who had taken wood shop, and auto shop, props to high school!) I was drafted by my fraternity to rebuild the fire escape to pass code. Went to Fingerle for the fire treated lumber, they looked over my hand sketches, made suggestions, and really made the project a success. Sad to see it go, but hopefully the payout helps everyone invovled.

Hotel Putingrad

December 6th, 2018 at 10:40 PM ^

You know who else had a huge transaction today?

This guy!!!

On a hunch, I picked up Derrick Henry at the last-minute for my flex fantasy football spot.

The young man is having himself a game tonight! 

Smegmatic Blue

December 6th, 2018 at 10:59 PM ^

I would imagine it's going to be 5+ years before anything is built on the site. That site needs quite a bit of drainage planning and underground work, and whatever is developed will probably incorporate the Colisseum site along with the actual Fingerle Storefront space and barn across John Street. With all these crappy lumberyard buildings gone, that area is going to be significantly different and improved once they develop it.


December 6th, 2018 at 11:40 PM ^

Always wondered how a lumberyard managed to keep operating smack dab in the middle of a major college campus for so long. I'm sure they've been bombarded with numerous acquisition offers for that prime piece of real estate over the years. Best of luck to them. I'm sure the University will put that property to good use.


December 7th, 2018 at 8:30 AM ^

“Directionally challenged?” I’d say that pejorative belongs to the University itself. Just what is South Quad south of besides West Quad???

And, yeah, South Quad sucks - but even worse in the 80s when I was there. At least the cafeteria is pretty awesome now.