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St. Mary Academy Option to Purchase signed Feature Image

St. Mary Academy Option to Purchase signed

The Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (SSIHM) and the City of Monroe announce an Option to Purchase Agreement between the SSIHM and KM Cornerstone to initiate the redevelopment of the former St. Mary Academy property in Monroe. Supported by the City of Monroe, the planned redevelopment was announced during a congregational meeting of the SSIHM community on Saturday.

Following several facility tours and thoughtful discussions, the Leadership Council and Mr. Masserant signed the option-to-purchase agreement on May 29, 2024.

As part of the option to purchase agreement, KM Cornerstone will use the next 24 months to perform the necessary due diligence and planning for the proposed mixed-use redevelopment of the approximately 16-acre property and 260,000-square-foot facility. Plans include commercial, office and residential use of the facility. Activities during this period will consist of space utilization planning, architectural design, environmental assessment and remediation planning, and seeking support for eligible activities from various governmental agencies. 

Constructed in 1932, with the addition of the large auditorium in 1958, the facility housed the St. Mary Academy all-girls Catholic boarding school until its closure in 1987 when the school merged with the all-boys Catholic Central High School. From 1987 until 2000, the building was converted into a conference and retreat center, as well as offices for several community social service agencies. In 2000, the building underwent a conversion to house sister residents and congregational offices for the SSIHM during the Motherhouse renovation. Since the sisters’ return to the Motherhouse in 2003, the St. Mary Academy property has remained vacant and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2019. 

Front row: Pat McCluskey, IHM, Keith Masserant, Jane Herb, IHM. Back row: Marianne Gaynor, IHM; Ellen Rinke, IHM; and Margaret Chapman, IHM.

For the past 21 years, SSIHM has initiated substantial outreach efforts for redevelopment; however, it wasn’t until this year that the right development partner was successfully engaged.  SSIHM President Mary Jane Herb, IHM, shares, “Since 1845, the IHM Sisters have been a faithful presence in the City of Monroe, dedicated to education and serving the community’s needs.  While the IHM presence in the classrooms has changed, the IHM mission has continued beyond educational settings. We are delighted about the potential development of St. Mary Academy. This treasure has stood vacant for over 20 years, waiting for the right developer. Now, with KM Cornerstone’s involvement, the building will be brought back to life, along with various other developments that will benefit the people of Monroe.”

KM Cornerstone is owned by Keith Masserant, a St. Mary Catholic Central High School graduate who also attended the Hall of the Divine Child, a former boys-only primary school that now houses Norman Towers residential apartments. Born and raised in Newport, Michigan, Mr. Masserant has successfully grown his Mid-American Group family business into an international industrial engineering and construction corporation. 

As a seventh-generation resident of Newport and a graduate of the Hall of the Divine Child and St. Mary’s Catholic Central, I have a deeply personal appreciation for what the St. Mary’s Academy campus means to our community.  Even after all these years, it still stands as a crown gem in our community.  I’m blessed to be able to have a role in breathing new life into this property in a way that will benefit generations to come just as it did for so many of those individuals and families who walked those halls before us.  I’m deeply honored and grateful to the Sisters of the IHM for entrusting me with this opportunity.”

Keith Masserant

The City of Monroe was engaged by SSIHM and the Community Foundation of Monroe County in recent months to strategize on rejuvenated redevelopment efforts following the sale of the IHM Motherhouse and IHM Senior Living Community to Saint Therese Senior Communities. Through these efforts, a relationship of trust and common mutual benefit was established with SSIHM, KM Cornerstone and the City of Monroe, culminating in this announcement. The City of Monroe will continue to engage partners to participate in collaboration and redevelopment planning.

Mayor Robert E. Clark, City of Monroe, offers “The St. Mary’s Academy campus is one of the most prominent and storied properties in the City.  Generations of Monroe residents either attended the St. Mary’s Academy or are close to someone who did. I appreciate the IHM Sisters for their ongoing efforts to be conscientious stewards of this remarkable asset and seek out ways this facility can be used to meet the needs of our residents and City. Today’s announcement marks the first step on the journey toward rehabilitation of this beautiful site that will benefit future generations.  On behalf of the City of Monroe, we couldn’t be more excited to support the efforts of Keith Masserant.”

We will document the project’s development and evolution via our social media and website. The City of Monroe has also developed a dedicated webpage to host important updates and announcements for residents.

About KM Cornerstone and Keith Masserant
KM Cornerstone was founded by Keith Masserant.  Mr. Masserant was born and raised in Newport, Michigan and attended the Hall of the Divine Child (present-day Norman Towers) and St. Mary Catholic Central High School. He is a graduate of Monroe County Community College. His family are lifelong parishioners of St. Charles Catholic Church in Newport.  Mr. Masserant is the President of Mid American Group, an international industrial construction and engineering company based in Newport founded by his father, Lawrence Masserant, in 1983.  Mr. Masserant owns more than 20 patents for unique solutions developed over the course of his successful career in response to his customer’s needs.