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The starting bid for the 2.3 acres of beach and bayfront property in Mission Beach has just gone up.

If San Diego Unified board members decide to approve the sale of seven excess properties at a June 19 hearing, bids for the plot of land will start at $11 million, up from the $7.8 million that was initially proposed.

Things began to get heated at San Diego Unified after staff announced a proposal to sell seven excess properties at "fire-sale" prices. By selling the properties, the district hoped to raise approximately $25 million to help fill the $120 million shortfall projected for this coming fiscal year. School board member Scott Barnett went so far as to accusing district staff of "selling off the furniture to pay the mortgage."

After some weeks and many phone calls from critics, district staff decided to raise the starting price to $11 million, the low-end assessment from a May 2011 study by Jones Lang LaSalle.

According to one district employee, the price was changed after removing a condition that required an expedited escrow.

"We were a little overcautious with our conditions only because we wanted more bids," says one district staff member. "But we have since removed the condition of an expedited escrow and that is why the price went up."

And while $11 million will silence some critics, others continue to feel that the price is set way too low.

One local real estate broker claims the district has undervalued the Mission Beach property by $120 per square foot, and that's even with the recent adjustment.

"You're ready to give away capital assets that may be the only collateral available in the future to fund the Education for the future students and residents of San Diego..." wrote Cynthia Conger in a letter to San Diego Unified board members. "Easily, the sale of just Mission Beach alone could more than meet the District's current funding loss. Why is the District more interested at selling multiple school properties at low-ball prices at the peak of the annual market yet at the lowest point of this current...real estate cycle?"

But district staff responds by saying that is not the final price, only the minimum starting bid when, and if, the properties do go to auction.

"There is already so much interest in this property. We know the final bid will come in higher," said a district employee. "And as far as market-value, if this does go to auction then bidders will determine the fair-market value. There's too much interest in it for the district to not get what it is worth ."

"This all still needs to be approved by the board. Even after the auction is held the board must approve the final bid. There is still plenty of time to pull the plug on this. We are only in the beginning stages."

Board members will vote on whether to sell the seven excess properties, including the 2.3 acres in Mission Beach, at a June 19 hearing. Go to Sandi.net to view the upcoming agenda.

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Comments

monaghan June 6, 2012 @ 1:07 p.m.

Excellent map, showing what irreplaceable San Diego Unified School District land in Mission Beach is being put up for sale. Note that the June 19 decision of the Trustees requires four (4) votes for passage.

Contact your Board@sandi.net if you have an opinion on this boondoggle.

Do the deciders at San Diego Unified imagine this sale will help pay for the unauthorized on-going costly remodel of Board of Education HQ at 4100 Normal Street into a securitized lock-down with cameras? Will there be special admission to the premises for developers only? One can only wonder what those people are thinking....

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Visduh June 6, 2012 @ 5:03 p.m.

They are desperate for money, plain and simple, and are looking under every rock in the pasture. But as to whether that site should be sold in a very interesting question. Why did the district once need it, and now no longer does? Is there some prospect for wanting a neighborhood school in that part of the city again? If not, what changed?

If a huge parcel like that is to be sold, the district should be getting top dollar for it, and that won't happen in a few weeks or a few months. While I don't think a school district should be speculating in real estate, and while I doubt that a district really knows how to get the best return out of a truly surplus site, now that they have it and want to sell it, it should get the best price possible. That will likely be a very complicated process.

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