Sale of Poupard Property stalls as Robertson and Renovare work to acquire government subsidies

By Grace Cueter and Annabelle Julien

After the original proposal to sell the former Poupard Elementary building passed with a vote of 5-0 at the school board meeting on Jan. 24, they held a special meeting on April 11th at Barnes Early Childhood Center to hear a presentation from the Robertson Brothers Home and Renovare Development, the team spearheading the project. Robertson Brothers have developed and built nearly 10,000 homes with another 1,500 homes in the process of approval, and Renovare Development is real estate development company that works on projects that provide for the given community’s needs. At the meeting, they presented their updated plans and proposal for an extension on their contract to purchase and develop housing on the property. 

The Robertson Brothers and Renovare’s goal for the project is to “Bridge the gap between the Harper Woods housing market and construction costs.” However, school board member Sean Cotton has concerns as to the feasibility of closing the deal within the due diligence period, the time between an accepted offer and a closed deal. Robertson and Renovare must receive more than $8 million in government subsidies in order for the deal to close. 

“I have concerns that the developer will not be able to close on the property,” Cotton said. “If we are to extend the due diligence period then I believe the District should pursue alternatives in the meantime, should the closing not occur.”

Though there are concerns about the allotted extension of time and the community’s reaction to the plans, Robertson and Renovare are dedicated to ensuring all parties involved have a voice in planning to meet with the Community of Harper Woods before construction begins. Mayor of Harper Woods Valerie Kindle at the meeting and shared her optimism about their plans. 

“We need new residents and we need more housing in Harper Woods,” Kindle said.