A day after the long-derelict Leader Dye factory site auction closed, the City Council approved the sale of the nearly two-acre site for $7.61 million.
Members of the City Council approved the sale in an 8-0 vote last Thursday.
Officials said 40 bidders competed for the parcel, 94-124 Madison Avenue, in an auction held by Max Spann. Washington, DC-based Building Hope, an organization that builds capacity for charter schools, submitted the winning $7.6 million bid for the property. The contaminated property was appraised at $2.1 million.
“It’s been vacant forever. We’re doing something about it now,” said councilman Flavio Rivera, chairman of the finance committee. He pointed out the property, if used to build a school, will not pay taxes.
“This is a homerun for the city,” said councilman Al Abdelaziz. “We’re getting a school.”
But not all council members favored the deal. Councilman Michael Jackson criticized the sale.
“All money is not good money,” said Jackson. He wondered whether a charter school is a good fit for the area. “It’s the same people selling our city off.”
Building Hope will construct a charter school education facility at the site. The buyer has to pay a 10 percent premium, which amounts to $761,000, to the auctioneer.
“I think it’s a really good deal,” said economic development director Michael Powell. He said the appraisal for the property was $2.1 million. He said there’s $800,000 worth of contamination that the new owner has to remediate at the site.
“I’ve been advocating for a school in that section of the Riverside,” said councilman Alex Mendez, who represents the 3rd Ward, where the property is located. “I’m excited to see a charter school there in the future.”
Councilwoman Lilisa Mimms praised Max Spann for its work. “I’ve seen them in action. How they get the money in is a miracle,” she said.
The council’s approval finalizes the sale of the property.