AISD moves to sell headquarters to developer, Baker Center to Alamo Drafthouse


Austin school leaders are moving forward with 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 on Nov. 27 is scheduled to vote on the sales of the following properties:

• the Carruth Center, the 2.7 acre district headquarters on West 6th Street, for $36.5 million to Schlosser Development of Austin, which made the highest bid. 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 located in Hyde Park, for $10.6 million to Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. The minimum bid was $10.6 million. Alamo plans to include single-family residences with 25 percent of them affordable housing units, with priority given to district employees and families with children who attend district schools.

In October, Colina West Limited, owned by developer David Kahn, sued the district for choosing Alamo, saying the offer was a “significantly lower bid” than Colina West’s offer for the Hyde Park property, and that the district did not follow requirements for the impending sale. The district was in negotiations with Alamo at the time. That lawsuit is still pending.

The school board also will vote on the sales to the city of Austin of 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. The agreements require that 25 percent of both properties also will be designated for affordable housing.

In its requests for proposals, the district sought to sell, lease, swap or repurpose the properties. Trustees have said publicly that they hoped for proposals or bids that included educational uses of the land, and/or created affordable housing for district employees and their families.

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, 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.

This is a developing story. Check back for details.



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