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District sets $6.5 million sale price for old West Philly High building

By Benjamin Herold on Feb 14, 2012 06:34 PM

by Benjamin Herold
for the Notebook and WHYY/NewsWorks

UPDATE: The District made a few changes, noted below, in the RFQ document.

West Philly High

Got $6.5 million and a fondness for Gothic architecture?

If so, the School District of Philadelphia wants to talk with you.

According to District documents, $6.5 million is the sale price for the 100-year-old, 250,000-square-foot building at 47th and Walnut Streets that used to house West Philadelphia High.

As Patrick Kerkstra of Notebook news partner PlanPhilly wrote last month, rumors have been swirling about potential reuses for the historic building. 

For those who find the price tag on West too steep – or who are in the market for a real fixer upper – the District has relative bargains to be found elsewhere in the city.

They’ve set the sale price of the empty Ada Lewis Middle School in Germantown at $2.5 million. The old Childs Elementary building in South Philadelphia has a sale price of $1.25 million. And the old Willard Elementary and Clemente Middle school buildings in Kensington have sale prices of $250,000 apiece.

The sale prices are part of an addendum to the District’s Request for Qualifications for prospective buyers for the 12 surplus properties it is hoping to dispose of as part of its facilities master plan.

Responses are due February 21.

According to the addendum, brokers have been assigned to each building. The “Evaluation Committees” to be tasked with vetting prequalified proposals on each building are still being formed.

The complete list of sale prices:

  • $6,500,000: [Old] West Philadelphia High School, 4700 Walnut

  • $2,500,000: Ada Lewis Middle School, 6199 Ardleigh Street

  • $1,350,000: Gillespie Middle School, 1801 W. Pike Street

  • $1,250,000: Childs Elementary School, 1541 S. 17th Street

  • $1,200,000: Education Services Building, 427 Monroe Avenue

  • $750,000: Alcorn School Annex, 1325-1349 S. 33rd Street

  • $435,000 $450,000: Walton Elementary, 2601-2631 N. 28th Street

  • $360,000: Muhr Elementary School, 3150 Germantown Avenue

  • $350,000: Jones Annex (Maisland Building): 3250 Willard Street 3250 Amber Street

  • $300,000: Beeber Wynnefield School Annex, 1818 N. 53rd Street

  • $250,000: Clemente Middle School, 3921-3961 N. 5th Street

  • $250,000: Willard Elementary, 2900 Emerald Street

This story is a product of a reporting partnership on the District’s facilities master plan between PlanPhilly and the Notebook. The project is funded by a grant from the William Penn FoundationFollow our coverage of the facilities master plan and discuss school-specific issues in our forum.

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Comments (8)

Submitted by Tommy (not verified) on February 15, 2012 12:24 am

It's time to look at selling 440 N. Broad Street. I started working there in 2005 and was forced to share a cubicle with another employee. Today, I could have my pick of 1,000 cubicles! The building is deserted and the empty space in the massive sub-basements could house half the students at Temple University! Combine it with the Inquirer, PA State Building and Father Devine's Hotel and you could create the ultimate condominium complex!

Submitted by Taxpayer (not verified) on February 15, 2012 1:02 pm

These prices sound far too cheap. I hope the school district is doing everything it can to ensure that the taxpayers get the best price possible.

Submitted by toshifuni (not verified) on February 16, 2012 1:47 pm

It's about time, unload the properties that are not used. Save on maintenance and the liability of old dilapidated buildings. About everyone belly aching how cheap the prices are, why don't you buy it if so cheap. Think taxpayers are getting the best deal? Does it matter? Best deal would have been to sell these properties in 2006-2007 at the height of the bubble for windfall profits. But it didn't happen. Best thing is to move on and focus on the core mission which has been a public joke the past few years. The SDP has enough problems dealing with the resources left over after the charters and vouchers have pick over the best parts.

Submitted by K.R. Luebbert (not verified) on February 15, 2012 1:45 pm

Two points:
1. The prices DO sound way too cheap. The Monroe street property, for example, is in a zipcode and catchment (Meredith School) where you cannot even touch a small house for under $500,000.00 anymore. Therefore, a piece of property in that area that takes up about half a block should be fetching more than 1.2 million. Is the district low-balling prices to sell to friends and cronies? We need an independent audit to set prices for these properties.

2. If we truly are in such a dire situation that nurses, safety officers, and music, art, etc.... need to be cut, we really DO need to SELL 440 North Broad! Fancy buildings are not needed when students do not have what they need.

Submitted by Ms. Chips (not verified) on February 15, 2012 5:15 pm

1. Of course they are (and who are these "assigned agents"?)
2. 440 has never been appropriate for the SD. And you are right to fear the intentions.

Isn't it nice that now we have transparency?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 15, 2012 8:45 pm

I'll take two:)

Submitted by Rob (not verified) on February 15, 2012 9:45 pm

Duh, these properties have already been sold! This is just a formality

Submitted by Autumn.X on February 17, 2012 5:00 am

Wow, those are a lot of buildings that are for sale and I wonder who will be the new owners of them and what they will do with the buildings. It is actually quite sad that these historic buildings may end up going away if they don't reuse them and fix them up.


    Even though selling old school cards can bring in some much needed revenue it is a little sad that there is a possibility that they may be gone.

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