The fate of the Miller Valley Elementary School property

What may go there and how soon

Photo by Les Stukenberg.

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The vacant Miller Valley Elementary School property is about to undergo the initial throes of a complete transformation.

Now in the hands of a for-profit real estate investment, development and management company, the 6.7-acre parcel will no longer solely serve as a nurturing environment for children hungry to learn. Rather, it will exist to make money through goods and services.

After a yearlong negotiation, the Prescott Unified School District (PUSD) successfully sold the property, located at the intersection of Iron Springs and Willow Creek roads in Prescott, to Ironline Partners for $3.8 million.

There’s no question why Ironline, a company based in Phoenix, found the property attractive and decided to buy it. Its location is highly visible; it’s in close proximity to valuable assets in the community, such as Yavapai Regional Medical Center West, Prescott High School, and several major shopping centers; and it occupies a corner of the busiest intersection in the Prescott area.

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101-year-old Miller Valley Elementary School sits empty after Prescott Unified School District on Friday concluded a year-long deal with Ironline, a Phoenix real estate investment firm to buy the school property. (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

“That intersection, according to the recent traffic studies from the City of Prescott, is now the No. 1 traffic intersection in the whole trade area,” said Donald Teel of Commercial Properties Northern Arizona, which brokered the deal between PUSD and Ironline. “It’s almost 70,000 vehicles a day going through there.”

With that in mind, Ironline is planning a major demolition of the school so it can start a fresh development that will cater to that already flush consumer pool.

“We expect to remove most of the improvements on site relatively soon,” said Tim O’Neil, president of Ironline Partners.

Some features on the property may be preserved, however.

“Special consideration will be given to environmentally sensitive materials, historic elements and mature trees,” O’Neil said. “There’s lots of stuff we’d like to use in some capacity.”

What needs to be done before specifics can be determined is an environmental cleanup, he said. This will help determine what is safe to salvage and what is better sending to the dump.

“The major concern is asbestos,” O’Neil said. “It’s all very manageable, it just takes some surgical work to get it all remediated correctly.”

What stays is also dependent on the determined use for the property, which O’Neil said is still being discussed as well.

“We believe there is demand in this submarket for neighborhood retail, boutique office and professional services, and multi-family residential,” O’Neil said. “We still have a ton of outreach to do before that’s decided. If you asked me ‘what’s your best guess,’ I’d say there’d be primarily retail on the frontage with some lower to medium density residential in the back.”

Their hope is to break ground on infrastructure and perhaps even have vertical development started by the end of 2018.

Though it will require a considerable amount of construction work, O’Neil does not foresee the development disrupting the flow of traffic on the surrounding roads.

“We believe on that property, there’s enough open space that we can stage the work very intelligently with very little impact on that core intersection,” he said.

The Daily Courier previously reported that the former Hastings property across the street is slated to become a Circle K market; however, its building too is slated to be demolished.