2 bids for school buildings favored

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A city school district committee has recommended that the city school board accept bids for the sale of the Reizenstein building in Shadyside and the Ridge Avenue building on the North Side but reject bids on five other buildings, including the former Schenley High School.

The recommendations were made to the school board Monday night. A vote could come as early as Nov. 22.

The evaluation team recommended selling the Reizenstein building to Walnut Capital and RCG Longview, which offered to buy the site for $5.4 million, demolish the school building and replace it with a $119 million development that includes housing as well as office and retail space. It was the only bidder.

Reizenstein houses the Barack Obama Academy of International Studies 6-12, which is scheduled to move to the Peabody building in East Liberty in the fall.

Reizenstein is on Penn Avenue, across the street from the new Bakery Square, which was a project of Walnut Capital and RCG Longview.

Of three bidders for the Ridge Avenue building, the evaluation team rated the bid of $1.1 million by Light of Life Ministries as the strongest one.

The bids were evaluated on a point system that rated the proposed amount, proposed use and bidder.

Coming in second was Community College of Allegheny County at $1.05 million, with School Facility Development, which planned to use the building for a Propel charter school, third at $500,000.

The historic former Schenley High School building had received a bid of $2 million from the PMC Property Group of Philadelphia, which planned to spend $35 million transforming it into apartments.

However, the district's evaluators recommended rejecting the bid because "it both failed to meet or exceed the requested amount and the other benefits described in the bid did not sufficiently improve the overall bid."

The requested amount was $4 million.

For four other schools, the evaluators recommended rejecting the single bids each received:

• Belmar in Homewood, $5,000 from the Cathedral of Praise Church of God. The district asked for bids above $1.7 million.

• Madison in the Hill District, $50,000 from Schenley Heights Community Development Program. The district asked for bids above $50,000.

• Mann on the North Side, up to $62,713 from New Hope Neighborhood Renewal. The district asked for more than $200,000.

• Morningside, $50,000 from Forbes Trail Development LLC. The district asked for more than $100,000.


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