SRC approves selling 8 buildings to net $30M

Posted: March 22, 2014

The School Reform Commission on Thursday signed off on sales of eight closed buildings - properties that will net the cash-poor Philadelphia School District less than $30 million.

Douglas High School in Port Richmond will be sold to Maritime Academy Charter School for $2.1 million. Shaw Middle School in Southwest Philadelphia will go to Mastery Charter for $2.7 million.

Alexander Wilson Elementary in Southwest Philadelphia will be bought by Orens Bros. Real Estate Inc. for $4.6 million. The tract will become residential and retail space.

Harrison Elementary in North Philadelphia will sell to Independence Mission Schools for $1.4 million. Childs Elementary in Point Breeze will be purchased by Metal Ventures Inc. for $1.2 million.

The most valuable properties - the University City, Drew Elementary, and Walnut Center buildings in West Philadelphia - will be bought by Drexel University Development for $25.1 million. Those sites are to be used for residential, retail, educational, lab, and office space.

The sales will gross over $37 million, but fees will cut into the district's profit.

District officials are banking on $61 million in building sales by June 30; if further deals are not closed by then, the city has promised to cover any shortfall. It is not clear how the city would come up with the money.

At Thursday night's meeting, the SRC also signed off on a contract with its principals' union.

The deal cuts salaries about 16 percent and shifts principals from year-round to 10-month employees.

Principals also agreed to begin paying toward the cost of their health benefits, and signed off on the district using factors other than seniority in layoffs.

Officials said the deal will save the district $20 million over the life of the three-year contract.

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