According to Realtor.com, 4533 Carpenter Rd. was on the market for more than four years. From the description, it did seem overpriced: a two-bedroom, two-bathroom home for $1,185,000.
But according to the Realtors, the property just south of I-94 is now under contract. A January MLive article reports that Pittsfield Township’s planning commission is moving toward approval of a 121-unit apartment building on the seventeen-acre site.
“What will be so different about this project is that our building will back up to mature trees on all sides,” emails Spencer Schafer of Schafer Development. The company had proposed several smaller buildings, but at the planners’ request reconfigured it as a single, taller structure–a design that, it calculated, would preserve 74 percent of the site’s mature trees and 93 percent of its wetlands.
Judging from their uniform size and spacing, those trees were most likely planted in 1946, when David Jenkins’ father built a house and four miniature log cabins on the property. Inspired by the tourist cabins he’d seen in northern Michigan, he offered overnight lodging to travelers on what was then US-23.
After his father’s death, David and his wife Linda lived in the house and rented out the tree-shaded cabins to long-term tenants. In 2013, the Observer’s Question Corner called it a “lovely, unique corner of the world.”
David passed in 2016, and Linda is now selling the property. The developers originally called their project “Alister Park,” but after the reconfiguration gave it a more bucolic name: “The Walden.”
Schafer says they plan to seek Energy Star certification, and install solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations. If all goes as planned, the project will provide new housing while still protecting much of the charming setting that the Jenkins family created and preserved.