Want to buy 3 giant, vacant Minneapolis public schools?

They are big, old and well maintained. They have gymnasiums, classrooms and cafeterias. These are three closed Minneapolis public school buildings…Tuttle, Villardand Gordon– which have just hit the market, although potential buyers will have to get creative.

This is because the school district requires interested parties to “explain how the intended use does not interfere with or compete with the mission, objectives, or operations of the MPS; charter/private schools or daycares will not be considered,” according to an MPS email shared with Racket. (The district did not respond to our interview request.)

“It creates somewhat more unusual restrictions. I think the city understands: why are we helping these other schools compete with us by selling our schools to them? says broker Jeff Salzbrun with Commercial Actions Group. “The student population is down, in part because there are so many charter schools here in the Twin Cities.”

The buildings in question? They are pretty cool! Suggestions for future uses include: “community center, mixed use, housing, ‘creative space'”. A number of domestic developers specializing in the repurposing of old schools have already made contact, reports Salzbrun.

Built in 1910, Tuttle (1042 18th Ave. SE) has 63,305 square feet on 2.6 acres; there is a small theater and a full basketball court. Take a look, courtesy of CEG:

“It’s one of the hottest areas in the Twin Cities right now, kind of tucked in between the northeast and the U of M. It’s an extremely hot area,” Salzbrun says. “It’s hard to ignore what Hillcrest did on Broadway Avenue with the Highlight Center. I think that would be a fantastic comparison to what could happen here.

(Making things fictionally scarier, the “Tuttle Schools” were the origin of a murderous cult in Season 1 of HBO’s real detective.)

Also built in 1910, Willard (2220 16th Ave. N.) has 55,635 square feet on 4.17 acres, while Gordon (2220 16th Ave. N.), built in 1951, has 20,669 square feet on 1 acre. Observe this strange mannequin standing near the boiler in Willard’s basement:

The common thread linking the three lists? No price tag – each is listed as “negotiable”. Commercial Equities Group recently had the buildings appraised, though Salzbrun says the lack of apple-to-apple comps, in addition to MPS-mandated sales criteria, makes pricing difficult.

“They’ve been very, very well looked after,” he says. “And I’m sure the school district is motivated to take them off the books, but again, having said that, they’re not going to give them away. Neither should they.

Tuttle closed in 2008; Villard closed in 2005, just like Gordon. It costs Minneapolis public schools between $15,000 and $33,000 a year to maintain closed school buildings, North Side News reports.

And the school district desperately needs the money. MPS faces ‘looming budget crisis’, Minneapolis Board of Education said last year. It’s, in part, because of money embezzled from charters, as writer Rob Levine explored last year in “How the Minneapolis Foundation Funds the Destruction of Public Schools.” Falling registrations doesn’t help either.

How nice would it be to live in a society where vacant state-owned structures could serve as housing for the homeless, which might dampen the city’s desire to intimidate those living in encampments? Sure, but that’s not happening. We also don’t expect this trio of giant structures to be retrofittable in Airbnbs, although this equation did. get comforting results in the goose-crazed little town of Middle River, Minnesota.

If you have the capital and the creativity for these Minneapolis properties, head to Salzbrun.

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