School board to consider selling administration facility
By Risa Polansky
The Miami-Dade County School Board is planning to sponsor a workshop within a month to "explore the issue of selling" the School Board Administration Building on Northeast Second Avenue, board member Evelyn Greer says.
A sale of the building could affect parking at the Miami Performing Arts Center, set to open in October. The school board recently gave the Miami Parking Authority use of 770 parking spaces in four lots for patrons of the arts center. The pact is a two-year agreement with options for two one-year extensions.
Joseph Garcia, chief communications officer for the school district, speculated that the sale of the property would not affect the parking arrangement in the short term.
"The obligation would pass to the new owner of the property. That's not uncommon in a real estate deal," he said. "The operating assumption would be nothing would change for the Performing Arts Center.
"But it's pretty early in the process to speculate, given that the board has yet to decide whether to study to sell the land. We're a step away from studying, so we're several steps away from selling."
Ms. Greer and the Taskforce on Affordable Housing and Compensation Trust at the board's July 12 meeting presented a proposal that the board hire a consultant to formally assess the board's property holdings, administration needs and cost of potential redevelopment.
Ms. Greer hopes the board can sell property to fund housing assistance for teachers.
The board voted to further discuss the issue in a workshop.
"My sense is the board realized the proposal coming from the task force was significant, and consequently, they wanted the opportunity to explore it further," Mr. Garcia said. "I think they want to have a more in-depth conversation about things like selling the building to see if there is any interest in doing that."
The 10 acres of property housing the School Board Administration Building at 1450 NE Second Ave. are being used inefficiently, with 9 acres designated for parking, Ms. Greer said.
She said the board could sell the land for about $100 million and revenues from the sale could be used to build a more efficient facility, freeing funds to provide down-payment assistance for employees who are being priced out of the housing market here.
Michael Fay, president of Colliers Abood-Wood Fay, said it the market is too "in flux" to estimate the value of the land.
"Land values are all over the map at this point, especially now with the change from a residential-development market to an office-type market. It's hard to value what can be built," he said. "This site two years ago would have been snatched up in a hurry for residential development. But from an office standpoint, it's not Brickell and it's not downtown."
Ms. Greer said the board has not received inquiries about the property.
"We will discuss all issues relating to sale, development of a more efficient building and use of the proceeds for affordable housing and salaries for teachers," Ms. Greer said.