Detroit Public Schools Property Transaction: Heilmann Site

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Detroit Public Schools Property Transaction: Heilmann Site

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Detroit Public Schools Property Transaction: Heilmann Site

  1. 1. Detroit Public Schools Property Transaction: Heilmann Site Objective: DPS was seeking land in 2002 to build up to three new schools to replace aging buildings. The land and buildings were to be funded as part of a $1.5 billion bond proposal approved by voters in 1994. Rationale: It is difficult to find large, contiguous parcels of vacant land in an old city that is not environmentally tainted. This is an especially important consideration in light of the fact that the land was to be used for the construction of schools. Course of Action: DPS entered into a 99-year lease with the City of Detroit to acquire 69 acres of park land for the use of building up to three schools. DPS ultimately built two schools – Heilmann Elementary and Heilman Middle School – on the site. Cost/Considerations: The price of $13 million represented $188,000 per acre, far less than the prices-per-acre in other parts of the city. • The price was based on the city’s desire to rebuild the Heilmann Recreation Center, which would cost $13 million. • The city could not sell the land outright unless the City Plan was amended, a multi-yer process that was not considered a suitable option. • Statues do not permit perpetual leases. A 99-year lease is considered equivalent to ownership. • The deal benefited both the school district and the city: The school district obtained affordable, clean land and the city was able to fund the restoration of a recreation center. • Both Common Council and the city administration approved the agreement. ###

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