Board rejects Cooley High School bid despite $1M offer

Chris Lambert, his team had already built attachments to the community surrounding Cooley

DETROIT – After a year of negotiations, the sale of Cooley High School to the non-profit Life Remodeled is dead despite a $1 million offer.

Life Remodeled revamped the former Durfee Middle School into the Durfee Innovation Society. It houses 39 non-profits, 15 of which are devoted solely to kids.

It offers everything from tutoring to a place to wash your clothes. The idea was to replicate Durfee at the Cooley site but with some additions like substantial mental health services.

“I’m heartbroken because most importantly, look, it’s all about the community, and the community deserves a whole lot better than this,” said Life Remodeled CEO Chris Lambert. “I’m going to be fine. Life Remodeled is going to be fine. We’re going to turn our attention in another community, but this isn’t right.”

Lambert and his team had already built attachments to the community surrounding Cooley. Now they’ll be looking at real estate elsewhere.

The school board explained its decision, saying:

“The District, through the School Board and Superintendent, rejected the latest Life Remodeled offer because it did not include commitments prior to the sale that the building and land would be used as the sale proposal outlines. The School Board is committed to ensuring that if the building and land were sold, then the planned use occurs. Since the negotiations regarding the sale have concluded, the District will now move forward to explore alternative uses for the building and land.”

Lambert says all anyone needs to do is look at their publicly available proposal to make up their own mind.

Related: Nonprofit’s bid to buy Cooley High School stalls on Detroit’s west side

About the Authors:

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.