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Should Flagler Schools be in the Real Estate Investment Business?

While the District’s school bus replacement program remains behind schedule for lack of funds, the District sits on valuable real estate, hoping its value will rise.

By Toby Tobin
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PALM COAST, FL – June 8, 2018 – While the Flagler School District’s bus replacement program remains behind schedule for lack of funds, the District sits on valuable real estate, hoping that its value will rise.

A District-owned building on the 7.11-acre parcel at 1 Corporate Drive once housed the Flagler Technical Institute. Once vacated, the aged structure was demolished for lack of a buyer. The District had paid $3.5M for the property in 2001. An unnamed party has now submitted a $2.5M bid to buy the vacant parcel. The District will consider the bid at its June 19 regular meeting. The bid response is due by June 22.

1 Corporate Drive

The Board had agreed to advertise for bids. Yet, a Daytona Beach N-J article today reports that at least one Board member, Colleen Conklin, is quoted as saying, “It seems the market’s just coming back. I don’t know if right now is the time to sell it.” Board members Andy Dance and Trevor Tucker are on the other side, suggesting that proceeds from the sale should go towards buying new buses. The 2018 Working Value on the county appraiser’s website is $1,373,645.

The District’s real estate portfolio also includes a prime 20-acre parcel on A1A in the Hammock that includes nearly 400 feet of Intracoastal Waterway frontage. This vacant piece of real estate has been in the District portfolio since 1984. Clearly, a school building would not represent the “best and highest use” for this prime parcel. Illustrating the gambling nature of holding real estate, this parcel is currently assessed at only 22% of its 2006 value.

A1A Parcel

Nobody expects the cost of new school buses to go down in the upcoming years. Real estate values, on the other hand, can go either way, up or down. Nobody understands that better than the residents of Flagler County; the fastest growing county in the U.S. for two consecutive years and epicenter of the housing crash.

Holding on to real estate hoping that its value will rise is a gamble, perhaps a good one in today’s market, but still a gamble. District officials should not be gambling with our money. They should accept the bid for the Corporate Drive lot and consider selling the A1A parcel.


Toby Tobin: REALTOR®, SRES®

I am a REALTOR® licensed by the State of Florida and Seniors Real Estate Specialist, SRES®, with Grand Living Realty, where 'The GoToby Team'  helps fellow aged 50+ buyers and sellers achieve improved outcomes in real estate transactions by integrating real estate decisions with other age-related decisions/plans through my broad network of respected service providers; financial, wills, trusts, probate, insurance, healthcare, home services, recreation, lifestyle, estate planning, and adult living facilities.

Take advantage of my "Been there. Done that." experience, typically at no additional cost to you. Call me at (386) 931-7124 or email me at Toby@GoToby.com.

Be sure to listen to my radio show, Real Estate Mattersevery Saturday morning right after the 11:00 A.M. news break on WNZF News Radio (1550 AM or 94.9 FM). Download the Flagler Radio App from the App Store so you can hear Real Estate Matters anywhere in the world.

reader comments
Land Profit or Loss ; Public Recreation Acreage
Posted by George Edward Chuddy
Jun 08, 2018, 11:43 am
This ORDER, if accepted, represents the largest amount of consumer redress ever ordered by the Federal Trade Commission.

II. CONSUMER INJURY--NECESSITY FOR CONSUMER REDRESS--CONSUMER REDRESS

Most palm coast residential lots are one-quarter of an acre currently selling for a minimum of $ 4,700. i.e. $ 18,800 per acre. By the date the deed is transferred to the consumer, usually six to ten years after an installment sales contract is signed, respondents are obligated to clear the lot and provide roads, drainage, utilities and some recreational amenities. Before execution of the consent ORDER respondents were not obligated to provide a grocery store, a shopping center, an office building or other indispensable amenities associated with a self-contained of fully-developed community which is what Palm Coast is represented to be.

In all of Flagler County, there are only 2,500 households and 7,100 people. a/ The Palm Coast development which is located in Flagler County has less than 700 residences and 1,600 people. 2/ Consumer interviews, consumer complaints, the paucity of construction activity by homesite purchasers, and the sales techniques and promotional material used by respondents led staff to conclude that the majority of Palm Coast lots were purchased for investment reasons. Consumers believe that after a short period of time, their lots can be resold at a profit. However, of more than 38,000 lots sold, less than one hundred (100) lots have been resold by individual owners....
Origins of that I.T.T. Corporate Building and its
Posted by George Edward Chuddy
Jun 08, 2018, 11:41 am
August 1976
Mr. and Mrs. George E. Chuddy
28 Lake Drive
Darien,Connecticut 006820
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Chuddy:
Because you have made a commitment in Palm Coast by establishing your home here, we believe you should be aware of an agreement that we recently reached with the Federal Trade Commission.
ITT Community Development Corporation ( ICDC) has signed a Consent Agreement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) concerning the future development of Palm Coast. Signing the agreement does not constitute an admission that any law has been violated, as the agreement itself states. We feel the agreement is important in order to attain our primary goal -- the development of Palm Coast as a balanced, well-rounded community.
An important part of the Consent Agreement calls for the execution of plans, within six years, which we believe, in the long run, will be good for Palm Coast. In brief, among other things , we have agreed to the following:
1. A shopping center with at least 400,000 square feet of floor space will be provided.We are already in contact with prospective developers of individual stores, including a supermarket.
2. With appropriate governmental agreement, a traffic interchange on Interstate Highway 95 will be constructed to serve Palm Coast according to plans we submitted to the Florida Department of Transportation in August 1972. ICDC will pay for the interchange as originally designed.
3. An office and research park area will be developed with appropriate roads and utilities to serve it and landscaping to make it an attractive part of Palm Coast. Planning for this already is under way.
4. A multi-purpose office building, with at least 5,000 square feet of floor space, will be constructed for tenants in the office and research park. This structure, also, is under planning.
------------->5. We will move the headquarters of ICDC to Palm Coast. We plan to be substantial employer contributing much to the economy of Palm Coast and Flagler County.<-----------
The agreement also provides for us to restrict our development efforts to 42,000 acres for a period of 15 years ( with possible extension for another five years). This will allow appropriate construction in areas set aside for commercial establishments, light industry, recreation, preservation and conservation and other residential uses. Moreover, during this 15- or 20-year period, sales will be limited to 48,000 registered lots of which over 36,000 already have been sold.
The aforementioned are some of the most important points contained in the Consent Agreement as it affect you and the balanced development of Palm Coast. You will also be interested in knowing of additional projects that we believe further enhance the community.. Here are some examples:
We have donated two acres of land, adjoining the future Emergency Services Building site, to the Palm Coast branch of the YMCA to be used as the location for a Community Activities Center. We will bear the cost of constructing this facility for all community residents and for sharing in operational expenses during its first three years -- a gift totaling more than $400,000.
We have provided as a gift a site of 57 acres to the Flagler County School Board for a junior-senior high school. The first class of proud seniors was graduated from Flagler-Palm Coast High School last spring.
-------->We have designated a number of sites for recreation parks, preservation and conservation, and other public areas.<-------- One site, in Section 1-A, now is being developed and a paved bicycle path has been constructed. Another bike path, starting near the Yacht Club, is in use. We are working with the Palm Coast Civic Association so that Palm Coast residents can form a legal entity to which we can donate a one-acre site and an Emergency Services Building to house fire and security forces, an ambulance, and facilities for community activities. A preliminary blueprint for the structure has been approved by a committee from the Community.
As you know, we donated a $36,000 pumper fire truck to the Palm Coast Volunteer Fire Department , which will be stationed in the Emergency Services Building..
Palm Coast's first church building, St. Mark by the Sea Lutheran Church, was dedicated on the morning of July 4. Catholic and Baptist church organizations have purchased sites for their proposed churches. And Temple Beth Shalom is considering building a Synagogue. We at ICDC are very pleased, as we know citizens of Palm Coast are, to witness this growth and progress in the vitally important religious life of our community.
Palm Coast's first financial institution, a branch of the Security First Federal Savings and Loan Association, recently opened for business. We believe others will follow with the growth of the community.
These and many other facilities will be needed to serve Palm Coast's growing population. And it is growing. During the last nine months, construction of over 200 homes began. We now have over 1,000 people living and enjoying the good life at Palm Coast.
In closing, let me assure you that the ITT Community Development Corporation believes very strongly in the future of Palm Coast and that we are determined that it will grow and progress in a balanced and healthy manner.
Sincerely yours,
Alan Smolen
President.
Favoring it.
Posted by Lou
Jun 08, 2018, 12:46 am
The scool system is sure part of our society.
It is a known fact by informed people that our economic system like to privatize PROFITS and socialize LIABILITIES.
What is wrong with socializing Profits?
Reply to Lou
Posted by Toby
Jun 07, 2018, 9:00 pm
The difference between social and private profits is profound. Private profits emanate from risk assumed by investments made by the private sector. In other words, money risked by private investment yields either profits or liabilities (loss), depending on the wisdom of or risk accepted by the private party. Public profits or risks are the result of bureaucrats placing bets with public money, not their own money. In other words, public profit or liability (let’s call it loss) is the result of a bet made with other people’s money; our money.

 
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Don "Toby" Tobin is a licensed real estate professional affiliated with Grand Living Realty. Toby is a member of the Flagler County Association of Realtors®, the Florida Association of Realtors, Enterprise Flagler, Flagler Home Builders Association, and the National Association of Realtors.

GoToby.com proivdes real estate news, commentary, and analysis for Palm Coast and Flagler Country Florida, as well as Realtor® referrals and consultation to buyers, sellers, and developers.