At today's all-day real estate conference put on by the Detroit Public Schools [full disclosure, we could only sit still from 8 a.m. -1:30 p.m.] the word "flexible" was tossed around a whole lot. Basically when it comes to selling the 85 properties (some buildings, some vacant lots) that DPS owns, they just want you to make them an offer. Any offer. Not only are they flexible on price (they don't list prices; you have to fill out the buyer form with your proposed offer), but they can be pretty flexible on whether some lots come with buildings. DPS picked 20 properties to highlight explaining that in cases where the building was slated for demo, they could leave that building there for you if you really prefer (but BTW it is probably stripped). As for how to re-use them, the more creative ideas came from the afternoon presentation by PLACE which had case studies in other parts of the country. How will the ideas fly in Detroit? It's hard to say who was serious, but it was well-attended. According to the organizers, about 140 people came and most were either in Development or Architecture.
With scant interior photos it was hard to get a grip on which properties were good investments, but the DPS real estate office will take interested parties on tours so call em up. If we were going to pursue making an offer, we would look no farther than North Corktown. Burton PK-9 is one of the schools that enjoys a location close to development while some properties are likely doomed by being surrounded by crumbling neighborhoods. But Burton, aside from being super attractive on the outside, has a rather prime location just off Trumbull across I-75 from Old Tiger stadium. (Should that site ever get redeveloped property values should get a boost). If you believe DPS, all school buildings make great loft buildings! We're not so sure that is true, but at least it did work out at the old Nellie Leland School in Lafayette Park (now Leland Lofts). Burton is a three-story brick building with 44,000 square feet and and 3.3 acres of open space and it's not a bad time to add more housing between Corktown and Woodbridge with those areas selling decently well these days. So here is hoping for a new residential anchor for NoCo.
· DPS, Detroit Works urge investors to buy, develop unused school buildings [Freep]
· Old Schools, New Uses [Data Driven Detroit]