SRC approves the sale of eight school properties for $38 million

Posted: March 21, 2014

THE School Reform Commission last night approved the sale of seven shuttered schools and a former administrative building for $37.8 million to multiple buyers.

The transactions include Drexel University's purchase of University City High, Drew Elementary and the Walnut Center - a 14-acre site - for $25.1 million. The university has said it plans to redevelop the site for mixed uses and make it the new home for Samuel Powel Elementary, a K-4 school that partners with Drexel and has exceeded capacity in its current location.

Among the other sales:

* Metal Ventures Inc. purchased Childs Elementary School in Point Breeze for $1.2 million.

* Maritime Academy Charter purchased Stephen Douglas High in Port Richmond for $2.1 million.

* Orens Bros. purchased Alexander Wilson Elementary in West Philly for $4.6 million.

* Mastery Charter purchased Anna Shaw Middle School in Kingsessing for $2.7 million.

* Independence Mission Schools purchased William Harrison Elementary in North Philly for $1.4 million.

The buyers can now begin a 60-day due diligence period on the properties, during which time they have the option to back out of the sale.

The sales are expected to close by June 30.

After closing fees and bond payments on the buildings, the net revenue to the district would be $25.8 million, officials said. The money has already been factored into the budget for the current fiscal year.

Before the sales, the district held a series of community meetings, but revealed few details about the potential buyers.

Michael Jones, president of the Powelton Village Civic Association, criticized the district for not involving community members more in the process.

"It is unfathomable to me that the city would sell this land with no provisos attached or conditions attached to the development and without input from neighbors," he testified. "It is completely irresponsible."

The SRC also approved the principals' contract, which union members ratified on Monday.


On Twitter: @ChroniclesofSol

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