DPS, Preservation Wayne and developers to hold Reuse 101 workshop on transforming old school buildings

Developer Joel Landy talks about his new development in a former DPS school. Landy, DPS and Preservation Wayne will hold a workshop on reusing former school buildings.

Developer Joel Landy talks about his new development in a former DPS school. Landy, DPS and Preservation Wayne will hold a workshop on reusing former school buildings.

Detroit Public Schools on Wednesday unveiled details of a new one-day workshop the district will conduct with Preservation Wayne and developer Joel Landy on how to reuse and transform closed school buildings. The session is entitled Reuse 101: Old School Buildings, New Uses – A Purchase and Development Workshop.

DPS Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb also showcased several projects in which old schools have been transformed for new use and gave details on total sales and leases of former school buildings and the revenue they have generated.

The announcement was made at The Music School, 3550 John Lodge, site of the former Malcolm X Academy.

The former school building is being transformed by Landy into a music incubator, a hub where local bands, labels and related businesses can collaborate regularly and be in close proximity and where audiences can come for live performances. Landy has transformed three other school buildings into new developments and will discuss his strategies at the workshop, which will be held Nov. 17 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the St. Regis Hotel, 3071 W. Grand Blvd.

The one-day workshop will explore the potential uses for unused DPS school buildings. Presentations and panel discussions include tax credits, codes and infrastructure, as well as tips to help prospective buyers work through every stage of a project.

The workshop is part of an aggressive strategy to ensure former Detroit Public Schools buildings are sold or leased to generate additional revenue for classrooms. In the 12 months before Bobb arrived in Detroit in March 2009, no district property had been sold or leased, and 10 of the 30 then existing tenants were in arrears.

Since then, Detroit Public Schools has generated more than $4 million over from the sale of 11 vacant school properties. Additionally, the district has leases on 38 properties that are generating more than $1.4 million annually.

Four leases are pending, along with $1.15 million in sales. Offers are on the table and sales are being negotiated on five other properties collectively valued at more than $2.8 million.

“By aggressively pursuing sales and leases of former school buildings, we have seen major success stories with buildings that might otherwise sit vacant and be blight on the community,” Bobb said. “We know that our former school buildings have unique features that can be preserved and transformed. And we are intent on using the revenue generated from the sales and leases to help reduce the district’s deficit and place additional dollars into our classrooms so our students have every resource they need.”

Three recent examples of transformed schools highlighted include:

The former Area E Office, which closed in June 2008, now is being leased by Detroit Recovery. This tenant provides support services to people in short and long term substance abuse recovery.

Westside Academy, which closed in July 2010, is being leased by SHAR and is an extension of Shar House, offering Self Help Addiction Rehab (SHAR) Administration and Residential Treatment.

Malcolm X Academy, which closed in July 2010, has been transformed into a music incubator by developer Joel Landy, who has seen success transforming other school former school buildings into viable properties.

About the workshop:
Reuse 101: Old School Buildings, New Uses – A Purchase and Development Workshop
Wednesday Nov. 17 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the St. Regis Hotel, 3071 W. Grand Blvd
Parking is available on Lothrop behind the building
Cost: $25 includes continental breakfast and lunch
Reservations required as space is limited.
Please call 313-577-7674 or email operations@preservationwayne.org

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