Public auction for Germantown Settlement Charter School buildings

    The scheduled auction of the former Germantown Settlement Charter School property could bring to a close one important chapter in the long-running saga of the bankrupt social services agency.

    Bidders will meet on June 16 at the Hilton Philadelphia City Line Avenue for an auction of approximately 40,000 square feet of buildings at 4807 Germantown Ave. The site includes two school buildings, an administration building and a former convent that houses New Directions, Inc., an alternative correctional facility for women.

    The education wing of Germantown Settlement (GGEDC) filed for bankruptcy in March 2010 to avoid foreclosure on the school property. It was the first bankruptcy action in a string of separate cases that eventually led to the official dissolution of the 125-year old Germantown Settlement social service agency.

    Though U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Stephen Raslavich has ordered all the wings of Settlement to liquidate, a hearing set for June 9 seeks to clarify just what the bankrupt parent agency’s assets really are. At issue are some 16 land-holding companies with apparent ties to Settlement or its executive director Emanuel Freeman, some of which still appear to be collecting cash from properties developed using millions in tax-payer funds.

    In October Raslavich dismissed the GGEDC case, which allowed for the mortgage holder, Prudential Insurance, to carry out the foreclosure.

    The sale later this month will seek to pay off a $2,105,016 debt on an original $3.5 million loan and likely put the property in private hands. That’s a small part of parent company Germantown Settlement’s overall $16 million in debt. It should also end business relating to the education wing of Settlement, but it raises questions about the fate of the 25-bed New Directions, which had previously considered moving to a new site at 4969 Wakefield St.

    That proposed move initially upset some neighbors who said they did not want a correctional facility in a residential neighborhood.

    Carolyn Stewart, New Directions’ executive director, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

    In a recent interview, Wakefield Street developer Stan Smith said the project was going forward.

     

    Contact Amy Z. Quinn at azquinn@planphilly.com

    Some reporting in this story provided by Patrick Cobbs.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.