South Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education members are moving forward with the option of a possible land swap after voting Tuesday night to approve an exclusive agreement to acquire the services of a commercial broker to further study the concept.
Earning the trust of the board to assist in the potential action is Sam Manoukian from RE/MAX in Glendale who specializes in commercial property transactions.
In December, the board discussed the concept of Manoukian exclusively serving as the broker for a potential land swap for the school district offices and the board, comprised of two new members starting in December, made it official this week that Manoukian will work to make the land swap happen.
Manoukian, with a proven track record, heads the commercial division for RE/MAX Optima, and has worked in real estate since 1986. Over nearly three decades he has made successful transactions in California and Nevada, along with a select national and international locales.
A land swap is a tool that empowers, in this regard, a school district to trade its owned site with a privately owned site of equal value.
During the school board’s strategic planning session last summer, the school board took up an initiative regarding the district property. Beginning in the fall, the board began to have discussions on what direction to take while looking at a variety of options before focusing on a possible land swap.
“The idea is that the district would find an interested developer who would purchase another property in which we would be able to relocate to in exchange for the district property,” explained SPUSD Superintendent Geoff Yantz. “A land swap must be of equal value, however, there are many other options that could occur within that.”
Manoukian will now identify potential properties as the district “puts out RFQ’s (Request for Quotations) and RFP’s (Request for Proposals) to solicit interest,” explained Yantz. “It goes through that process before coming back to the board to review and consider.”
Yantz said the motivation behind a land swap is to maximize the district’s assets and finances. “The district office is in need of substantial repair to bring it up to current safety standards,” he said. “It also doesn’t meet the needs of district operations. The building has great potential, however it would be very costly to preserve and, therefore, it would allow monies that have been allocated to the district office within the bond measure to be reallocated out to the school sites. Potentially, we’d be able to find a different location or an arrangement which allow someone else to fix up this building.”
Officially, in its action taken Tuesday, the board approved the exclusive right to represent the owner for sale or lease of real property (non-residential) for property disposition at the school’s district office, 1020 El Centro Street, between the district and REMAX Optima (Sam Manoukian), according to terms described in the agreement.
In other words, the school district is moving forward to swap its property by securing what they believe is an expert in the field. By bringing Manoukian into the mix the school district will not incur any cost for services unless a property transaction is finalized.
Yantz stressed that the idea of swapping land is to ultimately find office space for district employees “that is able to effectively and efficiently administer the school system for many more decades without having to invest millions of dollars and restoring this facility, because it’s money we could spend elsewhere,” he said. “It could also mean that a developer purchases another site and we could temporarily move into that site. They develop this land, build us something, and we move back in [at this location].”