Austin school district chooses buyers for high-profile properties


Highlights

The district plans to sell its headquarters on West Sixth for $36.5 million to the Schlosser Development.

The Baker Center, a former school in Hyde Park, is slated to go to Alamo Drafthouse for $10.6 million.

AISD to sell the Austin Club for $3 million to Foundation for Preservation of Historic Millett Opera House.

Austin school leaders are moving forward with the sales of the district’s downtown headquarters, the Baker Center and the Millett Opera House (home of the Austin Club), among other surplus properties.

The school board next Monday is scheduled to vote on the sales of these properties:

• The Carruth Center, the 2.7-acre district headquarters on West Sixth Street, for $36.5 million to Schlosser Development of Austin. The minimum bid was $30 million.

• The Millett Opera House, for $3 million to the Foundation for the Preservation of the Historic Millett Opera House, the only bidder on the property. The minimum bid was $5.4 million.

• The Baker Center, a former school in Hyde Park, for $10.6 million to Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. The minimum bid was $10.6 million.

The school board also will vote on selling to the city of Austin its 8-acre Tannehill Lane property for $1.96 million and its 1.2-acre Doris Drive land for $920,000, both the minimum bids required for those properties.

Previous plans to sell district headquarters and the Baker Center fizzled in 2011, but several current board members said they were committed to selling any surplus properties to demonstrate fiscal responsibility as they sought approval from voters on the $1.1 billion bond package.

“We can’t ask the voters to invest in our schools when we have excess properties,” board President Kendall Pace said. “I’m proud that the board stuck by its original intent and for putting in the affordability component. Everyone in the city knows we have an affordability crisis. As we see our families being pushed out, as we see our teachers being pushed out, we have a responsibility to taxpayers and to the city that it should be something to be considered. This is a strong first coordinated step.”

Deals for three of the properties, the two being sold to the city and the Baker Center, include agreements that 25 percent of the units will be designated for affordable housing, with priority given to district employees and families with children who attend district schools.

Alamo’s plans call for a community cultural center, art galleries and commissary kitchen space, features that helped it win the approval of Hyde Park neighbors.

But in October, Colina West Real Estate, owned by developer David Kahn, sued the district for choosing Alamo, disputing the choice of a lower bidder for the Hyde Park property and alleging that the district did not follow requirements for the impending sale. That lawsuit is pending.

“We are disappointed the district has chosen to move forward in light of the judicial inquiry into the process,” Kahn said Monday. “There are outstanding requests for documents and an upcoming hearing, so the legal process will likely continue regardless of how the vote turns out.”

The district already has sold two other properties. Trustees this summer approved the bids by RSI Communities of $7.2 million for 32 acres at Loyola Lane and Ed Bluestein Boulevard in Northeast Austin; and $4.6 million for the 12-acre Service Center site, south of East 51st Street. RSI plans to develop single-family residences, 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.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Community news: TreeFolks to give away trees Saturday

TRAVIS COUNTY NORTH AUSTIN TreeFolks to give away trees TreeFolks will distribute 1,200 fruit and shade trees to Austin Energy customers from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Austin Community College Northridge Campus, 11928 Stonehollow Drive, in the first tree giveaway of 2018. Free trees are available for Austin Energy customers, who may bring their...
Williamson sheriff gets approval for deputies to be on ‘Live PD’ show
Williamson sheriff gets approval for deputies to be on ‘Live PD’ show

Williamson County sheriff’s deputies might get to show how they roll on prime-time TV. The Williamson County Commissioners Court gave its approval Thursday to the sheriff’s office to negotiate a contract with a television show that does live recordings of law enforcement on their daily calls. The show, called “Live PD,” is broadcast...
PolitiFact: Teachers don’t have college degrees? Give than an F
PolitiFact: Teachers don’t have college degrees? Give than an F

Andrew White, a Democratic candidate for Texas governor who’s called for $5,000 pay raises for public school teachers, declared that half of the state’s newest teachers lack college degrees. White, a Houston investor, said, “I know this: One way to fix education is to pay teachers more, so that we can attract the best teachers and...
Traffic report for Jan. 22, 2018

Interstate 35 (Travis County): The inside lane on the northbound access road will be closed at Slaughter Lane for three-quarters of a mile from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday and Tuesday nights; the entrance ramp will also be closed. Reduced to one northbound lane under Stassney Lane from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday through Wednesday; the entrance from William...
White says with Straus out as speaker, Texas will be a ‘runaway truck’
White says with Straus out as speaker, Texas will be a ‘runaway truck’

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew White said Saturday that it is imperative for Democrats to take the Governor’s Mansion in 2018 because otherwise, with the departure of Joe Straus as speaker of the House, Texas government will be a “runaway truck without anyone able to hit the brakes.” “Over and over, Speaker Straus...
More Stories