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Former seminary being reimagined into golf destination

Former seminary being reimagined into golf destination

DETROIT — Expansive gardens, Romanesque architecture and the old-world chapel at Saint John’s Resort in Plymouth Township have attracted visitors for years. But Kevin Doyle promises the newly transformed property will be a unique combination of modern luxury, history and natural beauty as it undergoes a $50 million renovation to lure bigger conventions, weddings and charitable events.

Construction on the 200-acre former seminary is scheduled for completion in spring 2024.

“We are investing in this historic property with the aim to protect its authentic history, while taking it to a new level as a destination resort that’s rooted in a philanthropic mission,” said Doyle, chief operating officer for the nonprofit Pulte Family Charitable Foundation.

The William J. Pulte Estate purchased the site in July 2021 and transferred it to the foundation, which began renovating immediately. The initial budget was $40 million, but construction costs have increased, Doyle said.

“The authentic heritage and tradition of Saint John’s, and its ability to serve a higher purpose, has inspired us,” Doyle said.

The Pulte foundation was created by William “Bill” Pulte, a Michigan boy who built his first house at age 18 and went on to create Pulte Homes, according to his obituary in 2018. He was a quiet philanthropist who created the Angel Fund, an organization that provided shelter, heat and light for those in need in Detroit, family members have noted proudly over the years.

Pulte had a close relationship with the Archdiocese of Detroit, and when it decided to sell the Plymouth Township property, the church sold it to the family, Doyle said.

The foundation dedicates 100% of the net profits from Saint John’s to help fund programs for those in need. The Pulte foundation offers grants for foster programs, mental health, shelters for battered women and services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Bridge Housing Center at the Pope Francis Center in Detroit is one of many charities to receive funding, according to the Pope Francis Center’s 2020 annual report.

The Pulte foundation donated $6.6 million in grants in 2022 and $143 million to date, according to its annual report.

But make no mistake, Saint John’s is a business venture that involves ambitious plans that began with changing the name from the Inn at St. John’s to Saint John’s Resort. In 2006, the site evolved from what was designed for Catholic priest seminary…


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