OXFORD TWP. – An agency that’s been serving and saving youth in need for generations is looking to continue its mission, but on half the land it has now.
Crossroads for Youth has up to 160 acres of its 320-acre campus, located at 930 E. Drahner Rd., listed for sale through Signature Associates, a commercial real estate firm headquartered in Southfield.
The asking price is $3 million (or $18,750 per acre) and the land is currently zoned for single-family residential use under Suburban Farms 1 (SF-1), which requires lots to be a minimum of 2.5 acres each.
Crossroads’ extensive campus is located on both the north and south sides of E. Drahner Rd.
“What we’re doing is attempting to sell the south side and move all of our operations onto the north side,” explained Crossroads Executive Director Marc Porter. “We would have three residential units on the north side, (plus) our day treatment program and school.”
Porter indicated the agency simply doesn’t need or utilize all the property it currently owns.
“It’s a large piece of land,” he said. “It takes a lot of maintenance. We have a lot of buildings that are not being used. Over the last year or two, we’ve talked about decreasing our footprint to a (size) where it’s more sensible for us and the size of our agency.”
“It was difficult, but it was a necessary business decision,” Porter noted.
Established in 1953 on farmland purchased for $118,000, Crossroads for Youth is a private, nonprofit treatment agency that serves abused, neglected, at-risk and disadvantaged youth. Its name was originally Camp Oakland, but then it changed to Crossroads for Youth in 1999.
Porter explained the primary reason for downsizing Crossroads’ footprint is the agency doesn’t provide service to “as many kids nowadays as we did 10 (or) 20 years ago.”
“It’s about half the population it was 10 to 20 years ago,” he said. “We service approximately 50 kids. Twenty years ago, there were over 100.”
Porter made it clear that Crossroads is selling this land because it wants to and it makes sense, not because it needs to pay bills or raise extra cash.
“We are doing very well,” he said. “We’re not in dire straights.”
He noted Crossroads is healthy from a financial standpoint because Dr. Janet McPeek, who led the agency from 1995 until her retirement in 2016, “put us in a very strong position before she left.”
“Thank you to Janet because she really put us in a place to be able to make this type of decision,” Porter said.
Crossroads decided to shift all of its operations to the north side of the campus, which contains the 22.587-acre Handsome Lake, because, according to Porter, “the newer buildings are on that side.”
“We have the school that was built in the late 1990s. We have the boys center building that was built at the same time. We have the new energy-efficient building, the Achievement Center, that was renovated about 10 years ago,” he said.
Porter, who began working for Crossroads in 2000, felt “torn” by the decision to sell the land because he’s a history buff and “the entire history of Camp Oakland started on (the south) side of the campus.”
“But you have to deal with what you have in the present,” he said. “The practical part of me says it’s the best decision we could make.”
If Crossroads finds a buyer, what will it do with the proceeds from the sale?
“That’s something that the board (of directors) has been discussing. Obviously, it will go into Crossroads as a whole,” Porter said. “I’d like to start an endowment. We’d like to have something put aside for the agency that we can use to maintain the facilities as we go forward.”
“We want to keep Crossroads for Youth going as long as we can,” he added.