No sites sold in Dayton schools auction

Auctioneer says school board could now consider offers below minimum bid

All 24 vacant properties that Dayton Public Schools is trying to unload went unclaimed in an online auction that closed last week, but there is still a chance that some of the sites will change hands.

“We had several parties who posted the initial bid deposits, but unfortunately we did not have any bidding whatsoever,” said Louis Fisher, national director of Sperry Van Ness auction services.

“I’ll make a recommendation that we go back to all those that registered and ask, ‘What would you offer?’ We had several parties who said they would love to make an offer, but the minimum bids were at too much of a painful threshold.”

With few exceptions, school districts are required by Ohio law to offer such properties via public auction. But since the properties remained once the auction closed, Fisher said the school board can negotiate with individual buyers.

Dayton Public Schools spokeswoman Jill Moberley said the district will wait to receive an executive summary from the auctioneer and will consider all options.

The 24 parcels once housed prominent local schools such as Colonel White, Orville Wright, MacFarlane and Fairport, but the buildings have been demolished, leaving empty lots ranging from 1.7 acres to 16 acres.

DPS officials said they are trying to sell the properties to eliminate the cost of maintainance, including significant mowing work, given that 10 of the properties are larger than eight acres.

Minimum bids were less than $10,000 for the six smallest sites (1.7 to 2.6 acres), just over $30,000 for most of the sites around eight acres, and $40,000 to $65,000 for the six sites ranging from 11 to 16 acres.

One major exception was the 3.27-acre former Patterson-Kennedy school site, at 258 Wyoming Street. Because of its location on the edge of the thriving Brown Street corridor, between the University of Dayton and Miami Valley Hospital, the minimum bid for that site was about $720,000.

“I think we will work something out (on that site),” Fisher said. “We have to go back and say, what is it worth, and have a competitive environment. We have to protect the school district so they’re not giving it away, and so they maximize the highest price that’s available in the market today.”

Another parcel that drew some interest, according to Fisher, was the 16-acre site at 807 S. Gettysburg Ave., immediately south of U.S. 35 and the VA Medical Center.

Fisher said more than 1,200 people visited the auction website.

“With the real estate market crash (of the last decade), some of these sites were challenging at best, but there were some good sites, too,” Fisher said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to do a Round 2, and tie some of these properties up with third-party buyers.”

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