Is the third time the charm for Birmingham Public Schools?
Last Tuesday, the Birmingham Board of Education again approved the sale of the district's administrative offices at 550 W. Merrill, this time to Merrill Street Investments, LLC for $2 million.
This is the third offer on the district's 21,577-square-foot administrative offices in 2012 alone. In August, the Troy law firm Weber Olclese backed out on a $2.05 million deal to purchase the building and 0.89-acre property, while another deal with a Troy attorney fell through in March.
"I hope the third time is the charm," said Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Debbie Piesz at the Tuesday night meeting.
Birmingham Public Schools has been trying to sell its administrative building since 2009 as part of an effort to reduce its physical footprint and generate revenue. In the past, the district has received offers of $2.5 million and $1.8 million for the building.
With the building on its way to being sold, Piesz said the district will again start the process of renovating and moving administrators into their future home at the Birmingham Conference Center, located next to Groves High School at 13 Mile and Evergreen.
Under a plan proposed earlier this summer, the district's central offices would take over the Conference Center — which is currently managed by Sodexo Food Services. The move is cost-effective, Piesz said, while also providing more space for meetings and professional development.
Piesz said the board discussed several options for where to move the district's administrative offices at a June 12 study session, including the Doyle Center in Bloomfield Hills, the former bus facility at 2159 E. Lincoln Ave. and the Birmingham Covington School.
However, Piesz said the conference center meets the district's needs while also utilizing existing space. Repurposing the conference center was also the least expensive option, she said.