April 20, 2017
President Mark Schlissel discussed the University of Michigan's proposed sale of the Inglis House during a meeting Thursday in which several neighbors urged the university to reconsider its decision to sell the house.
The Board of Regents voted March 16 to sell the Inglis House property and use proceeds from the sale to support financial aid for students.
The house sits on a 9.1-acre parcel of land adjacent to Nichols Arboretum. The 12,000-square-foot house with adjoining property was donated to the university in 1950 by Elizabeth Inglis following the death of her husband, James Inglis.
Schlissel addressed the sale in his opening remarks at Thursday's regents meeting on the Ann Arbor campus.
"While we appreciate the thoughts and concerns expressed by neighbors and other Ann Arbor residents, Inglis House has been shuttered and unused since 2012. It would require extensive and costly initial renovations and incur significant ongoing operating costs to bring it back online," the president said.
Schlissel said he received a full report following the community meeting that took place at the house last week and wanted to address some of the concerns that were voiced. Several of the community members who attended that meeting also addressed the regents Thursday. They asked the university to reverse the decision made in March.
"First, I assure you that no purchaser has yet been identified for the property," Schlissel said. "And second, the cost estimates we have shared for operating Inglis House are based on our actual costs averaged over the five years before the property was shuttered."
Those estimates were $5 million for remodeling and ongoing operational and maintenance costs of $550,000 per year.
"After careful consideration of many options over multiple years, campus leaders determined that there is no clear long-term use for the house that would justify the required funding for renovations and annual operating costs. Our analysis included discussions with a number of units across campus and the consideration of various alternative uses," he said.
The gift agreement with the Inglis family does not place any restrictions on the sale of the property by the university.
Schlissel also said selling the property to a private party would mean the nine-acre parcel would return to the local tax base, noting that the "city of Ann Arbor's zoning regulations would be in effect once the property becomes privately owned. Any buyer wishing to make changes would have to go through the city's process."