AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin Independent School District sold several properties for a total of $63 million, including the district's administrative offices on W. 5th Street, on Monday night.
"It will allow us to organize under one roof in a way that is more efficient than how we are situated today across multiple sites, as well as allow students and families better access through parking, access ways and those kinds of things," said Austin ISD CFO Nicole Conley Johnson.
The sale includes the Caruth Services Center at 1111 W. 5th Street and the former Baker School at 3900 Avenue B in Austin's Hyde Park neighborhood. An Austin-based developer bought the downtown headquarters while the Alamo Drafthouse bought the Baker Center.
"They've come to us as a willing partner and see us as a partner in the project," said Reid Long, president of the Hyde Park Neighborhood Association. "The second phase as we understand it would include some form of housing--most likely multifamily."
In the first phase, Long said, Alamo Drafthouse plans to refurbish the 106-year-old building and use it as its corporate headquarters. The Drafthouse did not return calls from Spectrum News Monday to clarify their plans. Likewise, the Friends of Hyde Park Neighborhood Association said the Austin-based cinema chain has left them in the dark about its plans.
"Friends of Hyde Park Neighborhood Association should have been approached and been at the table," Thomas Ates said. "We cannot forget the most vulnerable populations, which is our working class."
Austin ISD officials said they evaluated repairs to the two administrative campuses, but Conley Johnson said they were cost prohibitive. She said the Caruth Service Center has $37 million, and the Baker Center has $11 million in needed repairs.
Austin ISD plans to move its headquarters to the Southfield office park at I-35 and Ben White. Some offices could be moved there by the end of the summer.