The Concordia Group, a Maryland-based development firm, now has the opportunity to buy several Philadelphia School District properties, including the former homes of Germantown High School and nearby Robert Fulton Elementary.
On Thursday night, the School Reform Commission voted to allow Concordia and the district to begin the negotiation process for the sale of five shuttered school buildings.
In addition to GHS and Fulton, Concordia is interested in Charles Carroll High School in Port Richmond and Walter Smith and Abigail Vare Elementaries in South Philadelphia. In all, 11 such sales received the SRC nod.
According to documents obtained by NewsWorks, Concordia bid $6.8 million for the portfolio.
The district — with the help of the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) — listed the five properties for $12.15 million.
Germantown and Fulton were listed for $4.55 million.
The district does not need SRC approval to sell the buildings, which could happen before the end of the year. There is a mandatory 60-day due-diligence period.
Concordia was not immediately available for comment.
Neighborhood groups caught off-guard
Thursday’s vote came as the grassroots Germantown High School Task Force continued its efforts to bring a vocational-tech school to the 99-year-old building on East High Street.
The group had hoped to team up with Mt. Airy developer Ken Weinstein, president of Philly Office Retail, who, in early June, bid on both GHS and Fulton.
At a community meeting just days beforehand, he revealed he’d seek to buy Germantown for a $1. Weinstein did not disclose how much he bid for Fulton.
Afterwards, Weinstein said he never heard a word from the district about his proposals.
“It looks like a done deal and it’s going to be sold to another party,” he said. “So, that leaves us pretty much out of this.”
He offered a mixed reaction to the prospect of an outside company redeveloping GHS and Fulton.
“On the one hand, I want and welcome outside money which is hopefully what this will produce,” said Weinstein. “On the other hand, we were partnering with the community and really have a handle on what the community needs and wants.”
Members of the Germantown High School Task Force are scheduled to meet with Concordia on Monday to talk about the future of GHS.
State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, a GHS alum who has worked closely with the task force, said the community will fight to make the four-story building an educational hub.
“We’re not going to stop until our last breath is taken away,” said Kinsey.
According to its website, Concordia “is an active participant in assembling, zoning and entitling real property that is necessary to produce housing, retail centers and mixed-use real estate developments for the expanding metropolitan area.”