Shelby Township, MI – March 30, 2015 — For more than a decade, government entities in Washtenaw County have been working to preserve a substantial cache of undeveloped land, ensuring long-term sustainability of the quality of life Ann Arbor area residents know and love. As open space acquisition programs gain momentum, investment values on residential land in the area promise to rise.

Sebastian Lombardo, president of southeast Michigan’s Cranbrook Custom Homes, said that new construction in the area has a great responsibility to respect the greenbelt as well as make the most of the natural beauty it affords. His company’s new luxury neighborhood — Northbrooke, near the intersection of Warren and Nixon roads — has a unique position within 152 acres of green space protected in perpetuity by Ann Arbor Township’s Farmland and Open Space Preservation Program. This location gives homeowners the security of long-term investment values.

Vice president and architect Stephen McKay (left) surveys a future Cranbrook Custom Home site with president and builder Sebastian Lombardo

Vice president and architect Stephen McKay (left) surveys a future Cranbrook Custom Home site with president and builder Sebastian Lombardo

“At Northbrooke, we’re building a community with eight times the typical ratio of undeveloped to developed land. The best part is that ratio will never change. Through Ann Arbor Township’s preservation program, the landscape around the family homes in this neighborhood will always be open, natural and undeveloped,” said Lombardo. “You won’t see future construction. You won’t see overcrowding. You won’t lose your view of the sun setting over spectacular wheat fields.” Ann Arbor has been ranked among the top cities to live in the United States for its school system, cultural atmosphere and healthy lifestyle resources like bike paths and walkability.

In November 2003, residents of both the city and surrounding township overwhelmingly voted in favor of millages to support greenbelt initiatives, and so far more than 4,500 acres of natural space have been secured and four new nature preserves have been created.

“Ann Arbor Township’s Farmland and Open Space Preservation Program was established to protect our community from urban sprawl and to keep our local farmers working in a sustainable economy. Our citizens strongly support that endeavor and are proud of its success. To date the program has resulted in the permanent preservation of more than 1,100 acres in the township for agriculture and open space and has enriched our quality of life,” said Mike Moran, supervisor of Ann Arbor Township.
This trend isn’t stopping any time soon. The city millage will be in effect for about 20 more years, and the township’s has nearly 10 years remaining before another vote may extend it even further.

“What does this mean for prospective Ann Arbor homebuyers? Essentially, now is the time,” said Lombardo. “Property values are projected to increase as more and more area land is protected from development. But the benefits go well beyond the financial. You’re getting your family into a space that will remain naturally beautiful and culturally rich — the best of both worlds.”

Thirty-eight built-to-order homes spread over 66 acres are now for sale in Northbrooke. Buyers can work with Cranbrook vice president and award-winning architect Stephen McKay to custom design their home in the neighborhood, which is set alongside a working wheat farm on one side and woods on the other. Like all Cranbrook homes, those in Northbrooke can be completely customized inside and out. Each lot is positioned to take full advantage of the surrounding natural landscape, giving the luxury community a distinctly rural feel.

“Because of its position within preserved farmland, Northbrooke offers a real-life oasis, an atmosphere reminiscent of country living only minutes north of the city of Ann Arbor,” said Lombardo. “Plus, you’ll never wake up to a backhoe churning up the farm. You’ll never say, ‘There goes the neighborhood.’ It’s an amazing opportunity to build your family’s dream home in a space that we can confidently say will never be disrupted by future developments.”

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