Pittsburgh praised for school building sale efforts
Pittsburgh Public Schools' decision to enlist outside help in selling vacant schools received an endorsement in a national study of 12 school districts that are trying to unload surplus buildings.
A report released Monday by The Pew Charitable Trusts of Philadelphia says, among other things, districts should get outside help in marketing what are usually difficult sells.
“It helps to broaden your ability to market the properties by utilizing experts whose core business is dealing with real estate,” said Peter Camarda, chief financial and operations officer for Pittsburgh Public Schools.
Last year, Pittsburgh hired Fourth River Development at $10,000 a month to manage sales of closed buildings. Notably, the company handled bids for the former Schenley High School in Oakland.
The school board will soon decide whether it should accept a bid recommended by a review committee of $5.2 million on Schenley. PMC Property Group of Philadelphia wants to convert the building into about 175 luxury apartments.
The report focused on what happens to district buildings when they become vacant.
“The longer that they're empty, the harder it is to find a new life,” said Emily Dowdall, senior associate of Pew's Philadelphia research initiative. “In some cases it's going to be very difficult to find a new use.”
In addition to Pittsburgh, the report reviewed buildings in the Detroit, Washington, D.C., Cincinnati, Cleveland, Atlanta, St. Louis, Chicago, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Kansas City, Mo., and Tulsa, Okla., districts.
The Pew report found that the 12 districts have sold, leased or reused 267 buildings since 2005, and 327 remain unused. Pittsburgh has sold, leased or reused 13 buildings, and 25 remain on the market.
Barriers to selling the buildings, the researchers found, include the local real estate market, how long the buildings have been empty and various laws and policies.
Camarda said many vacant schools here are in declining communities that make them less attractive for residential or commercial reuse.
“Another thing that makes it harder to sell is the majority of our buildings don't have a big footprint themselves,” he said, citing limited parking.
Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7828 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- State police probe trooper’s arrest at Pittsburgh wedding
- Unions warn of problems with referrals outside Veterans Affairs system
- University, Pittsburgh officials inspect student housing in Oakland
- Close vote expected on posting restaurant grades in Allegheny County
- Nearly 1 in 10 has had identity stolen, RMU poll finds
- Newsmaker: Master Sgt. Edward Altmeyer
- Trac Fabrication all-terrain wheelchairs open world for disabled
- Pa. Monuments license plates revenue to help maintain Gettysburg monuments
- Pennsylvania amusement ride website leaves readers hanging
- Allegheny County’s crime lab ranks among world’s best
- Newsmaker: Rebecca Lane