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Austin ISD Approves $64 Million In Property Sales

Jorge Sanhueza Lyon
Austin school board trustees approved the sale of the Baker Center in Hyde Park tonight, along with four other surplus properties that total $64 million.

The Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees approved the sale of $64 million in district-owned properties at its meeting tonight.

The district’s 2.75-acre downtown headquarters and its 4.36-acre teaching facility in Hyde Park were the highest-value of the five properties approved for sale.

Austin-based development firm SDC placed a $36.5 million bid on the West Sixth Street headquarters, the Carruth Administration Center. Alamo Drafthouse submitted a $10.6 million bid for the district’s Baker Center, located on Avenue B at 39th Street in Hyde Park.

"There was a combination of factors considered when we reviewed all the proposals that we got for the various sites," said Nicole Conley Johnson, AISD's chief financial officer. She said the board didn't necessarily choose the highest bids; it also considered proposals that would benefit the community. "We were sort of strategic as we reviewed the opportunities themselves."

It’s unclear what SDC’s plans are for the district’s headquarters, but the firm has had a handful of projects in the west downtown area near Lamar, including the Whole Foods and HomeAway headquarters.

Alamo’s plans include the construction of single-family homes on the 4.36-acre lot at the Baker Center – a quarter of those units will be dedicated to affordable housing.

The district began the process of selling the properties last September, but this isn't the first time the district has tried to sell the properties. In 2011, Austin ISD put out a call for bids on the two properties, but ultimately turned down the offers. 

The board also approved the transfer of ownership of the Millett Opera House, which houses the Austin Club, from the district to a private nonprofit. It also approved the sale properties on Doris Drive and Tannehill Lane.

The sales of the surplus properties will help the district pay for and construct its new headquarters, which district officials say is cheaper than maintaining and improving the current building.

Claire McInerny is a former education reporter for KUT.
Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.