Dexter Developing Plans for New Multigenerational Center


The property being discussed as a possible site for Dexter’s Multigenerational Center. The Dexter Wellness Center is on the right with the undeveloped lot directly adjacent to Baker Road. Photo by Doug Marrin.

At the December 27 Dexter City Council meeting, Dexter City Manager Justin Breyer and Mayor Shawn Keough provided updates on the progress of a much-anticipated senior/community center.

Last August, Dexter Community Schools were allocated $8.5 million via the "Make It In Michigan" initiative as part of the State of Michigan's 2023-2024 budget. This budget decision resulted from collaborative efforts by local and state representatives committed to the project. The allocation will not only support a permanent home for the Dexter Senior Center but also the broader goal of creating a multigenerational community center for residents of all ages.

Sen. Sue Shink (D-Northfield Twp.) and Reps. Jennifer Conlin (D-Ann Arbor Twp.) and Carrie Rheingans (D-Ann Arbor) with local leaders last August in Dexter to celebrate the passage of the “Make It In Michigan” budget and the $8.5 million allocated for the development of a multi-generation community center. Photo courtesy of DCS

Breyer highlighted the school's ongoing deliberations over the usage of the funds, telling the council he and the Mayor met with School Superintendent Dr. Chris Timmis and School Senior Project Manager Sharon Raschke. The discussions included a couple of options with the Dexter Wellness Center, which is up for sale.

“It looks like they are contemplating either the purchase of the Wellness Center and the construction of a new building on that same site or an addition to the Wellness Center,” said Breyer. “There's going to be some hoops that they will have to jump through, assuming they follow through with the purchase of the Wellness Center in terms of dissolving the umbrella that is the condominium association.”

The Dexter Wellness Center is owned by 5 Healthy Towns (5HF). At 46,000 square feet, the Dexter Wellness Center, located at 2810 Baker Road, dwarfs 5HF’s other wellness centers in Chelsea, Manchester, and Stockbridge. The state-of-the-art facility provides members and guests access to a pool, saunas, gymnasium, strength and aerobic equipment, massage, Pilates, yoga, spinning, other group classes, and many amenities. The center offers scholarships for underserved demographics as part of its public service mission.

5HF announced in February 2023 its intention to sell the property. The facility is listed with Colliers for $7 million. The commercial condominium association agreement affects the Wellness Center, the office building sharing the drive, and an undeveloped lot in front of the center on Baker Road.

Mayor Keough touched on the size limitations of the Wellness Center and the need for expansion to accommodate the community/senior center. "Interestingly enough, the Wellness Center that they're looking at purchasing is not big enough to house the community/senior center," Keough noted. He outlined the options, such as adding to the existing building or collaborating with A.R. Brouwer on a new structure on the undeveloped lot.

Keough echoed Breyer’s comment on the legal challenges involved in this project, particularly regarding the site's current status as a condominium and the school's preference to own the land outright. This would include negotiating with current property owners and establishing shared agreements for access and maintenance.

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