Girl Scouts' new headquarters in former auto dealership to serve as cookie distribution point
Daniel Brenner | AnnArbor.com
The Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan is relocating its Ann Arbor regional office to a 30,000-square-foot building in Ypsilanti Township.
The building is at 444 James L. Hart Parkway on approximately seven acres. The facility officially will open Jan 28. The GSHOM purchased the building for an undisclosed amount.
NAI Farbman real estate agent Hal Stulberg declined to provide any information and said the purchase price was confidential. Stulberg also declined to provide the listing information, saying there was no specific asking price.
The site previously was owned by Jackson Land Holding Co., LLC, who purchased the building in 2002 for $4.3 million from Argonaut Holdings Inc. Prestige Pontiac Buick GMC was the last business housed at that location. It closed in 2010 and the dealership was part of the Prestige Automotive dealership group, based in St. Clair Shores.
The building's 2012 assessed value was $415,100, making its market value nearly double that.
GSHOM CEO Jan Barker said the company purchased the property because it outgrew its previous location at 1900 Manchester Road in Ann Arbor. The building had served for more than 15 years as GSHOM’s Ann Arbor Regional office and was sold in November to Memorial Christian Church.
The decision to move was prompted by continued increases in the number of girls and adult volunteers becoming a part of the organization. Barker said 22,000 girls are members of the organization, which has about 40 employees. GSHOM currently serves more than 20,000 girls and 6,000 volunteers in a 34-county area.
"The membership in Ann Arbor continues to grow, which is really exciting," Barker said. "The economic impact will be quite large. We have about 50 visitors to the office every day. Hopefully the businesses in some of the areas around will benefit."
Barker said during the course of the year, many of those girls and their families visit the area, which she hopes will spur economic development. In mid-February, the building will be the distribution point for more than 80,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies. More than 400 volunteers are expected to come pick up cookies and supplies during that time.
The staff will be moved into their new offices by Jan. 28, while renovations continue to take place.
The move will be a three-phase process with the first being moving the employees in. The second will be to involve the girls and volunteers in designing the space and the third will make improvements to the building.
There will be no disruption in services while the move takes place.
"Right now we're trying to get the site painted and spruced up and we are all about the girls being involved in leadership opportunities," Barker said.
The girls will be able to provide input on the look of the building as well as the programs they want to see in the new center.
The new space will provide enough room for the more than 200 programs the organization has for members, Barker said.
"We had limited space and many of our volunteers are having to utilize the school classrooms and those are becoming less and less available," Barker said.
The most recent filing for the organization shows that for fiscal year 2010-11, it had a total revenue of $7.1 million and its expenses totaled $7.9 million.