AISD seeks developer proposals for 10 properties

5:40 p.m Monday, Oct. 3, 2016 Business

The Austin school district on Monday issued a request for proposals and bids from developers to remake 10 district-owned properties, including the district’s headquarters just west of downtown. The district had voted in March to seek bids for the properties.

Valued earlier this year in district documents at more than $95 million, the properties are on the market for sale, lease or other development options, district officials said. Potential uses could include a public-private partnership that could benefit the district or its students. In addition to traditional offers from investors and developers, AISD is encouraging community organizations to submit proposals.

AISD will consider selling or leasing the properties together, separately or in any combination. The bid deadline is 2 p.m. Dec. 14.

AISD hopes to receive a variety of qualified offers that bring value to the district and students, said Austin district board President Kendall Pace.

“Other than that, we want to keep an open mind and evaluate what we get on the table,” Pace said. “We’re open to other solutions.”

Pace said before the district goes out for another bond, likely in November 2017, school leaders must “make an effort to show our communities that we’re maximizing the use of our facilities.”

Drew Scheberle, senior vice president of education for the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, said the district is making the right move.

“It’s appropriate for the school district to examine its existing facilities, to adopt a master facility plan and ensure it has the right mix of property before going to voters for a potential bond election,” Scheberle said.

The chamber in recent years has pushed the district to adopt a facilities master plan that better utilizes its facilities and addresses the problem of underenrolled schools. The district is in the process of updating such as plan, with completion due next spring.

In 2011, amid a budget squeeze, AISD previously had marketed two of the 10 properties: its Carruth Administration headquarters building on West Sixth Street, and the Baker Center in Hyde Park. However, no satisfactory offers emerged.

The district has hired Austin-based Southwest Strategies Group to market the 10 properties, the same firm it used back in 2011.

The most valuable of the offerings is the headquarters building, which is on 2.75 acres at 1111 W. Sixth Street. The headquarters is valued at $33.6 million, according to a district estimate this year. The district has set a minimum bid of $30 million for that property.

The properties include a mix of structures and land throughout Austin.

Here are the other nine:

• The former Allan Elementary School, 4900 Gonzalez St.

• Baker Center, 3908 Avenue B.

• Millett Opera House (also known as the Austin Club), 110 E. 9th St.

• 9.318 acres south of Alpine Road.

• 1.234 acres at Doris and Hathaway Drive.

• 31.987 acres at the southwest corner of U.S. 183 and Loyola.

• 12 acres on East 51st Street.

• 7.96 acres at the southeast corner of Tannehill Lane and Jackie Robinson Street.

• 12.496 acres at 4806 Trail West Drive.

In previous years, when discussions arose about developing two of the properties — Baker Center and Trail West Drive in Travis Country in Southwest Austin, neighbors raised objections.

Pace said Monday that “everyone wanted to make sure we did this right and that the neighboring communities were notified of the properties we were putting on the list.”