Faced with needed renovations ranging from 50 to 80 million dollars, the Pittsburgh Board of Education decided to close the Schenley High School building on Bigelow Boulevard in June 2008. Schenley students and staff moved that fall to the former Reizenstein Middle School building and Schenley's final class graduated in June 2011.
Nearly five years after the Schenley High School building was closed, there might soon be a buyer for that property in Oakland.
The school district has been looking to sell the site for more than four years and contracted Fourth River Development to market the property. The company has posted the proposals from four bidders: PMC Property Group--$5.2 million; Kossman Development (agent for Provident Charter School)--$4.6 million; AWSVPA/Edward Alexei--$4.1 million; and, Ralph A. Falbo, Inc.--$4 million. The four proposals have been posted on Fourth River's website.
Pat Morosetti, sales/lease agent for Fourth River, said according to the Request For Proposals (RFP), the minimum acquisition price is $4 million net to the school district but the amount is just one factor.
"The quality of the development itself, the benefits to the district and local government agencies, and how it benefits the community is a vital part as well, project feasibility and in addition to that the capacity and experience of the bidder," said Morosetti.
In other words, the bidder's track record and can the bidder "execute what they're planning to do with the property."
Two of the bidders, PMC Property Group and Ralph A. Falbo, Inc., are proposing to build market rate housing on the site while AWSVPA (Andy Warhol School for Visual and Performing Arts) is looking to build a charter schools. Kossman and Provident is proposing a mixed use development: a charter school and for-profit 115 units of student housing.
Morosetti said the review committee will meet several times over the next couple of weeks and will examine how the community would benefit under each proposal.
"Along with the future taxes that could be generated at the site, what does it mean in terms of its ability to support ongoing efforts to revitalize that neighborhood along with any neighborhood in the city which is always important to the school district when they are selling an asset," Morosetti said.
The review committee will present its recommendation to Superintendent Dr. Linda Lane February 6 and the bidder will make a formal presentation to the community February 18. The board is scheduled to vote on the recommended winning bidder February 27.