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The Ann Arbor Real Estate Associates presents a Nature Sanctuary


A Nature Sanctuary near Ann Arbor Michigan seeks a new conciensous Owner/Operator

The sunrise over the Grass Lake Sanctuary has been pleasing the local community for generations. This space has historical roots to the area blacksmith in the 1900’s. In later years, the property was split and deeded to the care of land lovers Clark and Avis Spike. A Master Landscape Plan was generated to carry the vision forward. The Spikes created the Spike Nature preserve as a memorial to the efforts. A 42.57 acre parcel that housed the Spikes main home and a lovely vintage cottage nestled into the edge of the Oak Savannah with a stunning view of the Oasis Pond was deeded to The Grass Lake Sanctuary, a non profit organization in 2008. Many hands have participated in the shaping of The Sanctuary. This living work of Art has been lovingly handcrafted by landscape artisans and environmentalists for over 50 years. The property hosts 2 lovely second generation timber Savannah, Open Meadow, an Artisian Spring and the lovely Oasis Pond. This space was master planned and cultivated to relieve tensions of day to day exertion; fostering health and wellness for both it’s human and environmental inhabitants.

 The Grass Lake Sanctuary fostered the vision of a shared space from the original master plan. one of the unique features of the property is a common use agreement that allows hikers, walkers and animals to be walked through the preserve. This allows for the new owner/operator to “Borrow” both physically and visually the adjacent 103 acre preserve thus protecting the vista for as far as the eye can see. During the Grass Lake Sanctuary stewardship, many upgrades were added to enhance the human user experience.

Several Eco-Friendly sleeping cabins complete with secured doors, (properly insulated windows and screens ) were added to compliment the vintage cabin that Clark Spike once quoted as “ never really finished.” It is a true delight to perch on the front porch of any of the cabins at the Sanctuary, and take in the views of the Sanctuary and Oasis Pond. A solar powered E- Loo Comfort Station was installed to add to the ease of enjoyment in the space. A large space was cleared and prepared to house a large event tent to compliment rainy days when holding events, retreats and fireside conversation. Electricty and refrigeration were brougt into one of the cabins, and a lovely wood burning pizza oven donated by The University of Michigan graces the hospitality area of the Sanctuary. Several planned walking trails were gently carved throughout the property for comfort and enjoyment, and can be seen in our video. . Many native trees and brush were planted and fostered. The invasive species are maintained through diligent land management, support and grant funding. All of these efforts have continued to shape The Sanctuary and create a harmonious balance between humans, wildlife, and nature.  

The local municipality granted the Sanctuary a low impact special use permit to allow for up to 25 overnight guests. The Sanctuary has a lovely clearing to park over 150 vehicles, and hard packed access roads to main buildings.

The members of the Grass Lake Sanctuary look toward the future. The Sanctuary board is putting out a Request for Proposals to install a new owner operator of the Sanctuary. The time has come for a succession plan to be put in place for this lovely experience. It has been determined by land use professionals that the future plans for the Sanctuary to preserve it’s artistic integrity going forward is for light recreational use.  The Ann Arbor Real Estate Associates was hired by The Grass Sanctuary Board to conduct a year long study of the site, the highest and best use has been determind to be light -use recreation. The Sanctuary has the potential to serve the community through offering a unique and socially distanced opportunity to engage with nature and all of the health and wellness benefits derived from spending time in this unique living work of Art. 

The Grass Lake Sanctuary has worked with recreation business planners to draft a 10 year business plan and financial pro forma alongside management and stewardship benchmarks to essentially provide an interested investor/owner/operator in implementing a light use recreational action plan for success as early as summer of 2021.

As the increase for people to seek socially distanced, nature driven experiences, recreational visitor numbers in Michigan are anticipated to dramatically increase as many are avoiding airline flight due to the pandemic. The members and board of The Grass Lake Sanctuary seek an owner operator that will continue to share this sacred space with the community and visitors for generations to come. 

Due to the Covid pandemic, the Sanctuary is not hosting planned events or large gatherings this season, rather they are opening the Sanctuary to the community for open houses on the weekends, and some weekday evenings. Volunteer Days giving the community a loving excuse to be introduced to the Sanctuary.  The elegant rustic eco-cabins will be available to lease through Air B and B where The Sanctuary is striving to pass on a Super Host status to the new owner/operator. 

If you are interested in becoming the new owner/operator of this unique experience, we invite you to reserve a cabin for a weekend getaway and allow the experience and vision and unfold the future potential of this significant landscape masterpiece.  

For all inquiries, and to receive an RFP requirements package, please contact Realtor Caitlin Phillips with The Ann Arbor Real Estate Associates @ Howard Hanna. 734-395-4990 Cell  734- 796- 7000 Desk or visit


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