The building that has represented Minneapolis schools for more than 80 years should be sold to an experienced local developer that has renovated six other old buildings within six blocks, the Minneapolis school board decided Tuesday evening.
The board approved a staff recommendation on an 8-0 vote to negotiate a sale of 807 Broadway to Hillcrest Development over six competing offers. The board decision differed from recent proposals to sell other school buildings in that the board, staff and neighborhood agreed on the choice.
The building has served as school headquarters since 1930. It’s where generations of parents registered their kids for school or voiced complaints to the board, where desegregation plans that reshaped a city were devised, and where teachers picketed in a teacher strike that reformed state public employee law. The headquarters staff moved to 1250 Broadway last summer.
The district got three “really close offers” from developers, once various contingencies were weighed against the offered price, according to Mark Bollinger, chief administrative officer. The other two offers were for residential redevelopment, and had more contingencies, he said.
The sale of the equivalent of more than a city block of property comes with a 1914 building and subsequent add-ons for district back shops that total 236,000 square feet. Hillcrest said it wants to create space for small and medium-size businesses, in keeping with the Logan Park neighborhood’s desire for jobs to replace those lost when the headquarters moved.
The size of Hillcrest’s offer won’t be disclosed until the sale is completed, and the proceeds will help pay for the new headquarters. But based on the size of the complex and offers per square foot in the area, the building was expected to fetch in the $2 million to $3 million. “Our due diligence period will be very short,” said Scott Tankenoff, Hillcrest’s managing partner, referring to the pollution checks the firm will make before closing on the property.
He said he has no tenants for the building and will start marketing shortly after the purchases closes. He mentioned arts, creative and other business tenants as possibilities.
Hillcrest sold itself in the developer competition as experienced, particularly in environmental remediation, having developed more than three million square feet of commercial space since 1989. It has developed 325,000 square feet nearby in the last five years, Tankenoff said. The firm is based elsewhere in northeast Minneapolis.