Swords/Plowshares 28 – Fear Mongering – Fair Price


Opponents of the sale of Central are pulling out the stops to spread worst case scenarios that beggar belief.

It was suggested at the Monday public comment meeting that Central is worth $30 million, at least as a school. However – First, that estimate was by Johnson Controls friends who wanted to sell Duluth on how easy it would be to finance the Red Plan and, Second, that appraisal is nine years old. Not only that it took place before the massive, stomach churning national mortgage bust brought property prices down from la la land.

Now I’m hearing School Board members tell us that to build that kind of a school someone would need $60 million dollars as though that makes any difference when we will have to spend a million dollars to demolish the building. Even if it was worth that much DPSA doesn’t have that kind of money. They have a little over $20 million to spend and they need some of it to alter the interior. Besides that, if we put an enrollment cap on it DPSA will be stuck with a building that could house twice as many students as they need for their high school. Plus, it will take them four years to ramp up to full 9-12 enrollment.

Now lets get real. There have never been 77 fully useful acres on the Central site. I know that from my last stint on the School Board when it was pointed out that none of the property abutting the antenna farm was of any use to anyone. I’ve heard its got 33 develop-able acres.

Now here are the thoughts, not unlike others I’ve heard from local realtors, that another Realtor put in the Duluth News Tribune’s Facebook page:

I work for a property management company. We looked at the property. This is the truth of the matter in economics. The property is not worth the 30 million the district is saying.

They are basing prices on a outdated estimate. When given that estimate the recession had not happened. Also that price is based on if the building was used for a school. It is too expensive to use any other way. Retrofits and construction costs will be incredible.

So to use the property. You have to knock the building down. Which will cost 1.2 million. Then you need access so roads need to be put in. Another 1 to 2 million. Utility’s need to be run. Another million or more. Not all the property is desirable. There is a antenna farm located on the site. There really is only 33 acres of disirable property. The estimate given to our company was 10 million and that was what the district was going to sell it for before. Now minus 5 million for access, utilities, and demolition. Plus ground work. So what is the property really worth?

The company I work for passed on it. So will they be able to sell parcels?

Maybe in 10 to 20 years at a considerable loss. So here is a offer for 14 million. But from competition. Why the competition? Because of poor decision by our administration and board. Which we as the tax payer have allowed. Why does Edison want the building? More bang for the buck.

Will they build anyways? Yes. Will they fill their new school? Yes.

So your Damned if you do and Damned if you don’t. So sell the building. Get out of debt. And work hard to change or district. So we see a influx of students.
Time for change. New board, change in administration, parents get involved.

Or do nothing don’t sell class sizes will get bigger. They will cut staff. Keep paying a 170,000 a year on a empty building. Students will leave. TIME FOR REAL CHANGE, THINK OUT SIDE THE BOX AND ROLL UP OUR SLEEVES AND STOP BLAMING OTHERS FOR OUR MISTAKES.

Come to tonight’s meeting. There will be more public comment. Sign up to speak early so the unions don’t hog the first hour again.