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24 vacant Detroit schools go up for sale

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Cooley High School
Photo by Chuckjav/Wikimedia Commons

Last week, the Detroit Public Schools Community District decided to list 24 of its vacant properties. The schools are now listed on the DPS Real Estate site, and Tammy Deane, Director of Real Estate, tells us they’re interested in all proposals from interested developers.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the schools will be boarded up after 30 days.

The schools range in size from the 18,000-square-foot Robeson Early Childhood Center in the Dexter-Fenkell neighborhood to the massive 321,00-square-foot Cooley High School on 7.4 acres near Grandmont-Rosedale. A community group, the Cooley Reuse Project, has tried to acquire the old high school for years. The school is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and closed in 2010; a fire blazed through the auditorium last fall.

The Cooley Reuse Project has issued this statement:

Cooley Reuse Project seeks financial partnership to re-open Cooley High Schoolserving as a bridge between the owner of Cooley and the local residents, community leaders, Cooley Alumni groups, and community-building organizations. For six years, we have been doing this important work, gathering partners one by one.

At Monday’s most recent DPSCD Board of Education Meeting, Superintendent Vitti expressed that Cooley High School will only be sold for “the right price.” Clearly, DPSCD and The Board of Education value this property—we do, too.

Our grassroots organization, Cooley Reuse Project, has an immense and sincere network of supporters. However, due to the rampant vandalism, theft of over 350 windows, and arson which this National Historic Landmark has suffered over these past months, our best role is that of a supportive partner, not a struggling owner.

The properties span across the city.
DPS Office of Real Estate

The Real Estate site also offers a guide for adaptive reuse, with examples of schools in other cities. Reuse ideas include affordable housing, senior housing, space for community groups, and career training. The guide also lists funding possibilities for adaptive reuse.

Each property is listed with a link to its Google Street View—giving an idea of what the property and the surrounding areas look like—plus square footage, acreage, and the year each property was built. No prices are listed; these properties will go to the best offer.