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Scott Ellis 5:15 a.m., July 29
San Diego Unified School District is now one step closer to selling seven properties in order to obtain some much needed cash.
On Thursday May 10, San Diego Unified's Advisory Committee on Utilization of Excess School Property recommended to keep seven properties on the list of excess land.
Now the board of trustees will be left to decide whether to put those properties on the market during a board meeting on May 29.
However, if they agree to do so, the properties will be listed at a discounted rate properties in order to ensure they sell by June 2013. That way, the estimated $21 million can be used to fill next year's massive $122 million budget shortfall.
One of the those properties is the Mission Beach Center, a 2.23 acre piece of land on Santa Barbara Place, two short blocks from the beach and one even shorter block from the bay. In order to sell the land in such a short time-frame, the district has agreed to chop $4.7 million off of the most recent appraisal which had valued the land at $12.5 million.
And then there is Barnard Elementary, a 9.37 acre property appraised at $9.135 million. However, the property is zoned residential and 4.5 acres of it are undeveloped, prime for development.
During the May 10 meeting, Georgiana Becker, real estate specialist for San Diego Unified, admitted to the discounted price tags.
"We have to have the funds by June 30, 2013," explained the district's . "That is why the values are less than the appraised values. The appraisers even put in the appraisals that they would be higher if there was more time for the developers."
During the meeting, trustee Scott Barnett made another plea to keep the properties and try to find ways for them to generate revenue for the school district.
"Where else in Southern California do you have property like this with absolutely no debt?" Barnett asked during the meeting. "We should do is look at all of our properties and ask 'what is the best long-term plan for excess properties, all properties for that matter. If we sell properties we will lose all control.
"It is financial short sighted to abandon our greatest assets in a fire-sale.
Barnett wants to hold off and figure out a way, insolvency included, to lease the land so the district can keep cashing checks from the properties.
"I know what you're saying and [San Diego Unified] can generate a substantial amount of revenue with what you have. I have to respectfully disagree," said committee member John Casey, a real estate consultant and former Vice President for Burnham Real Estate Services.
"I know the market is bad but it was irrationally exuberant before. I wouldn't beat yourself up about this being a 'fire-sale.' To try to hold off I don't think you are going to get that much."