Austin district approves sales of district headquarters, Baker


The Austin school board Monday night approved the high-profile sales of district headquarters, the Baker Center and the Millett Opera House (home of the Austin Club), among other surplus properties.

The school board in an 8-0-1 vote, with Trustee Julie Cowan abstaining, directed staff to execute the sale of the Carruth Center on West 6th Street, which has been home to district headquarters for more than 25 years. The district is selling the 128,000-square-foot headquarters for $36.5 million to Schlosser Development of Austin, and moved forward with the purchase of the Southfield Building, near the northwest corner of Interstate 35 and Ben White Boulevard in South Austin, as the site for a new district headquarters for $28.4 million.

District officials said they hope the new location will offer better accessibility and parking, which have been problematic at its current headquarters. Staffers at several sites across Austin would be consolidated into the 9-story building.

Board President Kendall Pace said having employees in one location will be operationally more efficient.

The vote also included the sales of the following properties:

• the Millett Opera House, for $3 million to the Foundation for the Preservation of the Historic Millett Opera House.

• the Baker Center, a former school located in Hyde Park, for $10.6 million to Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.

• the 8-acre Tannehill Lane property for $1.96 million to the city of Austin

• the 1.2 acre Doris Drive land for $920,000

The agreements for Baker, Tannehill and Doris Drive properties require that 25 percent of the properties will be designated for affordable housing units, with priority given to district employees and families with children who attend district schools.

Prior to the vote, during public comments, commercial real estate agent Dani Tristan asked the board to delay vote and consider new a new request for proposal for district headquarters, saying the market is strong now. He presented an offer of $39 million. But bids were put in a year ago, and trustees said they would follow the process.

Trustees said they wanted proposals or bids that included educational purposes and created affordable housing for district employees and their families, and not all of the sales were to the highest bidders. The sale of Baker to Alamo prompted a Colina West Real Estate to sue the district, disputing the choice of a lower bidder for the property. That lawsuit is pending.

The district already has sold two other properties . Trustees this summer approved the bids by RSI Communities for $7.2 million for the 32 acre-Loyola Lane property, at Loyola Lane and Ed Bluestein Boulevard, and $4.6 million for the 12-acre Service Center site, located south of East 51st Street. RSI plans to develop single-family residences, also designating 25 percent as affordable housing with priority given to district employees and Austin district families.

Two other properties originally up for grabs are no longer for sale. The former Allan Elementary in East Austin and land adjacent to the district’s Central Warehouse property on Alpine Road in South Austin are off the table. District officials did not explain why to the bidders, but Allan could be used as future swing space. Several community members asked trustees Monday night to reissue a request for proposals for the Allan property, with specific language towards affordable housing with two-and-three bedroom family units at rates no higher than $900 per month.

District documents showed the 10 properties collectively were valued at about $95 million. The bids for all 10 properties could have yielded $90 million, if the highest purchase offer were had been accepted for each of them. For eight of the 10 properties sold, the district will get $64.8 million. The district expects to use some of the revenue from the sales of its surplus properties toward the purchase of the new headquarters.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

‘The Bonfire,’ ‘Unmasked’ and ‘The Jackie and Laurie Show’ podcasts will all record live at Moontower Comedy
‘The Bonfire,’ ‘Unmasked’ and ‘The Jackie and Laurie Show’ podcasts will all record live at Moontower Comedy

SiriusXM’s “The Bonfire” with Dan Soder and Big Jay Oakerson, “Unmasked” with Ron Bennington, “The Jackie and Laurie Show” with Jackie Kashian and Laurie Kilmartin, “Raised by TV” with Lauren Lapkus and Jon Gabrus and several more podcasts have all lined up to record live episodes at the Moontower...
Relive it: Astros championship trophy returning to Austin
Relive it: Astros championship trophy returning to Austin

Houston Astros fans, it’s only 36 days until Opening Day, and while you might be counting the 52,000 minutes until your world champions face the Texas Rangers on March 29 … just hold on. There’s no reason to leave the 2017 season behind just yet. The Astros Championship Trophy Tour is making one more run through Austin next week...
TODAY: Man linked to suspect in plot to kill Travis County judge to testify
TODAY: Man linked to suspect in plot to kill Travis County judge to testify

An associate of Chimene Onyeri, who federal authorities say plotted to kill Travis County District Judge Julie Kocurek in 2015, is expected to testify Wednesday about the traffic stop that led to Onyeri’s arrest. Reginald Matthews failed to show up to a hearing last week, prompting U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel to instruct defense lawyers...
FORECAST: Cold front sinks temps into 40s ahead of storms
FORECAST: Cold front sinks temps into 40s ahead of storms

Wednesday forecast for Austin: An overnight cold front has caused a severe drop in morning temperatures and will usher in a round of storms that could produce as much as three-quarters of an inch of rain, the National Weather Service says. Forecasters say isolated to widely scattered showers will move north-northeast across the Hill Country and along...
Fifth UT-area Subway robbery reported in two months
Fifth UT-area Subway robbery reported in two months

An armed robbery occurred Tuesday night at a Subway fast food restaurant on San Antonio Street near West 24th Street, University of Texas police said. At 10 p.m., police said they were looking for the robber, who witnesses described as a man wearing baggy clothing, who might be in his mid-30s.  This is the the fifth Subway to be robbed in...
More Stories