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.
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.
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.