Seattle School Board Agenda Item: Buy the Federal Reserve Building
I did forget to mention this previously and an alert reader reminded me of it; there's a notation on the Board agenda for an Executive Session at the end of the meeting:
Executive Session: To consider the selection of a site or the acquisition of real estate – This closed session will begin at the conclusion of the regular Board meeting and last approximately forty-five minutes. The legislative session will not reconvene after the executive session, and no action will be taken as a result of the executive session.
I believe this is likely to be over how much the district is willing to pay for the Federal Reserve building and land. $10M? $15M? $20M? I haven't seen any estimates of how much it is worth (given its condition and its landmarking status). The auction starts on Dec. 5th and continues until Jan. 28, 2015. Opening bid is $5M.
The district, if successful, would buy themselves land and a building and, doing it thru auction, they also buy time. All good things if you want a downtown school.
But then there's always the question - where's the money to buy it?
The answer to that will NOT be non-voted bonds (unless Sherry Carr is going to walk around with her arm twisted around her back).
BTA IV? Doesn't get voted in until Feb. 2016 and that will be after this upcoming Superintendent vote AND elections of four of the seven Board seats in November 2015. What will be the mood of voters by then? It's one thing to fix up schools; it's another to be buying land and a building that needs heavy renovation.
Some kind of public-private partnership? Sure did anyone step forward at any point when the district was trying to get the property for free? And now when the district needs money? Good luck.
That leaves our old friend, BEX IV. Yup, I think some poor school and its project is going to get somehow rolled back or downgraded.
Now since this is an "Executive Session" we won't know anything until the district starts bidding. I can ask their upper limit but they are unlikely to say because they don't want to show their hand to other bidders.