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Trustees may be ready to sell land on Grande Avenue

By From page A1 | August 31, 2014

Forty-three years after spending $57,768 to buy 8.4 acres on Grande Avenue in North Davis for a possible school site, the Davis school district is considering selling the land — for $5.4 million.

The Board of Education will a consider a resolution during Thursday’s meeting that would initiate the sale process for the property it bought in 1971 as a potential elementary school site. The land has remained undeveloped, and was declared surplus by the school district in 2007.

If all goes according to plan, the board hopes to approve a contract with a yet-to-be-identified buyer before the end of the year.

The proposed resolution outlines a fairly complicated process, including the following points:

* The minimum bid on the property will be $5.4 million, but bids could go higher. Bidders will need to submit a $50,000 check as “bid security,” which will be returned if the bid is not accepted. Once a purchase agreement is executed, a non-refundable deposit of 10 percent of the accepted purchase price will be due immediately. The property will be sold on a cash-only basis.

* The property will first be offered to public agencies, as per state education code and government code. If the land is not purchased by a public agency, then the district will offer it for sale to the general public.

Interested parties will submit sealed bids, which will be opened at a yet-to-be-scheduled meeting. Once the high bid has been identified, there will be an opportunity for oral bids — in other words, bidders will have a chance to raise their offer, in a setting somewhat akin to an auction.

The highest offer for the property (either written or oral), will then be identified. The school board may select the highest bid, but also could reject any and all bids if that is deemed to be in the public’s best interest.

The resolution does not identify the timeline for these events. But Superintendent Winfred Roberson said the board could be voting on a deal with a prospective buyer sometime in December.

“The school board believes it’s the right time for a Grande deal to be done the right way,” school board president Gina Daleiden said. “We’ve worked closely with city government and the neighbors; developers are expressing interest. ”

State law specifies that money received by school districts from the sale of surplus real estate must be used for school buildings and facilities.

“And we have real facilities needs for our students — building a new Davis High multipurpose room, for example,” Daleiden said.

The district already has taken the Grande property through the city’s entitlement process, having the 8.4 acres divided into 41 lots, which have been zoned for residential development. That density is relatively consistent with the surrounding neighborhood.

The buyer still will need to go through the process of applying for and receiving building permits, etc., from the city of Davis.

Roberson described the property as “a developer’s dream location. … The district has removed most of the potential building delays. …  We are enthused to offer this property for public bid and look forward to applying the sale proceeds toward our facilities.”

The school district actually owns two properties that have been declared surplus. The other site is about 10 acres at Pole Line Road and Moore Boulevard in Wildhorse, now used for soccer as Nugget Fields. At several recent school board meetings, the board’s closed-session agenda has included postings regarding both properties, so that trustees could legally discuss their value.

However, Daleiden said a sale of Nugget Fields is not likely in the near future.

“In my opinion, Wildhorse isn’t in the same state of readiness to sell as Grande,” she said. “We still have work to do with the neighbors; it isn’t entitled (subdivided into lots); and we would need to find some plan for the soccer fields if there were any change in ownership.”

Daleiden added that the school district has assured the sports community on several occasions that it will make sure soccer fields remain available if Nugget Fields are sold someday. The district owns undeveloped land on the south side of Harper Junior High that could become soccer fields. Other possible sites have been discussed briefly as well.

The Board of Education will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Community Chambers at Davis City Hall, 23 Russell Blvd. The meeting will be carried live on Davis cable Channel 17, and as streaming video at www.djusd.tv.

— Reach Jeff Hudson at [email protected] or 530-747-8055.

Jeff Hudson

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