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Tue, Sept. 17

Prescott Unified School District office sale ‘in limbo’ after delay

Washington School on Gurley Street on Aug. 23, 2016. The Prescott Unified School District has plans to make the school home to its new district office.
Les Stukenberg/Courier, File

Washington School on Gurley Street on Aug. 23, 2016. The Prescott Unified School District has plans to make the school home to its new district office.

For those keeping score, the Prescott Unified School District has managed to sell one of the three buildings it had under contract for sale for $1 million.

On Monday, Prescott Unified School District leaders expected to sell the second building, the district administration offices on North Granite Street. The contracted buyer, Ironline Partners in Phoenix, informed Superintendent Joe Howard just prior to the escrow deadline they are not ready to finish the deal. The first building, the former Dexter School now leased to Northpoint Expeditionary Learning Academy, sold last month.

Howard previously negotiated an extension to give Ironline until August to complete the sale on the former Miller Valley Elementary School located at the intersection of Iron Springs and Willow Creek roads.

Under the initial contract with the district Governing Board, Ironline was supposed to have completed all of the sales by early February. The district’s real estate brokers, Commercial Properties Northern Arizona, informed the board that determining how these buildings will be developed has taken more time than expected. This is not uncommon in real estate deals, Howard and the brokers said.

Though Ironline is still a favored buyer, Howard was clear on Monday that this does not mean the remaining buildings will not be sold. CPNA has been approached by some other interested buyers.

“There is other interest out there, and it’s serious, and local,” Howard said on Monday.

From the start of negotiations, the Governing Board was adamant it did not want to take the properties completely off the market until the sales were finalized just in case the proposed deal did not occur.

So far, Ironline is simply asking for some more time to determine the development potential for both the district offices and Miller Valley Elementary School. Both are in commercial zones.

“They are still interested in this building, and all systems are going forward on Miller Valley,” Howard said, noting that August might be the time frame now for a sale on both buildings.

“Right now, we’re in a time of limbo,” Howard said.

Governing Board President Greg Mengarelli said he is not exactly sure the cause of this delay, but has every confidence all efforts are being made to arrange to get these buildings sold as expeditiously as possible.

“These deals are pretty complex, as you can imagine,” Mengarelli said. “I don’t know, intimately, why the buyer was not able to close at this time. I do know (Howard and Ironline) are still working toward a resolution to figure out if we can come together on the deal.

“Hopefully, between Ironline, and a possible back up offer, we can get a deal together and get it sold. I just don’t know the time frame.”

As for a potential move of the district officer to the second floor of the former Washington Traditional School on East Gurley Street, Howard said district employees are currently working on some of the demolition but any major renovation work will not be done until the current administration building is sold. Once the district office sells, Howard said he expects to have about nine months to move into the new quarters.

“More time doesn’t stress us out,” Howard said. “We’re not in a huge rush.”

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