A home is under construction at English Estates, located at the site of the old Jim Thorpe Elementary School.

A home is under construction at English Estates, located at the site of the old Jim Thorpe Elementary School.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

Sterling Heights lays out welcome mat for new homes

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published November 30, 2018


STERLING HEIGHTS — Two former school sites in Sterling Heights could soon have their homework done — residential construction, that is.

City officials are anticipating the arrival of 120 new single-family homes in the city, thanks to development plans for two vacant school sites. One of those plans still needs approval.

The former schools, previously owned by the Warren Consolidated Schools district, were shut down in 2003 due to flagging enrollments and have since been devoid of development.

Officials said English Estates, a slated neighborhood of 44 single-family homes, is “currently underway” where the old Jim Thorpe Elementary School used to be, following the city’s final site plan approval last March. Thorpe was demolished in 2006, leaving around 10 acres of space.

The homes will come in both ranch and colonial variants, and in sizes between 1,450 and 2,100 square feet. The neighborhood, located off of English Drive, near Metropolitan Parkway and Ryan Road, is being built by developer Tony Gallo.

Meanwhile, a proposed Fuhrmann Woods development would build 87 homes where John C. Fuhrmann Junior High School used to be, along 14 Mile Road, near Mound Road. That land, spanning around 24 acres, was cleared in 2012. City officials say the homes would be around 2,000 square feet, have three or four bedrooms, and would start in the low $300,000s.

Fuhrmann Woods is still receiving a city review, and the Planning Commission has it on its Dec. 6 agenda.

A city announcement states that the idea is for Clearview Homes to start work on the project early next year. Should site plan approval be reached on that development’s proposal, City Planner Chris McLeod predicted that construction would probably start in late spring or early summer.

Sterling Heights city officials have been on a quest to build new housing and attract enough development to make the city the third most populous community in Michigan. The city currently is in fourth place, behind Warren.

Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor said the city’s good schools, low taxes, safety, and investments in parks and recreation make it attractive to incoming residents.

“We continue to have developers that find Sterling Heights to be a very desirable place to build residential (properties) and look forward to having these residential high-end developments,” Taylor said. “There’s definitely a need, because people want to live in Sterling Heights.”

Sterling Heights Senior Economic Development Adviser Luke Bonner said the new homes will benefit both the city and the local school district. He added that families consider a city’s schools, tax rates, water rates, access to amenities and more when looking at a place to settle.

“The school district, they’re going to have new homes built that will be attractive to families,” Bonner said. “You can assume there will be new students moving into the district as a result of that.

“When you see as much residential development in Sterling Heights as we have, it’s only a signal that the community is a great community.”

Find out more about Sterling Heights by visiting www.sterling-heights.net or by calling (586) 446-2489.