Wait and see. After Thursday, that’s all developer Ken Weinstein can do.
The Mt. Airy resident has said he is submitting a bid to buy the properties that once housed Germantown High School and nearby Robert Fulton Elementary, two of the 20 buildings the Philadelphia School District put on the auction block last month.
Monday is a flexible deadline for developers to send over their offers.
Nowhere near seven figures
The district — with the help of the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) — has listed the pair for $4.55 million.
Weinstein hopes to get them for much, much less.
He has essentially asked the district to donate Germantown High School’s four-story building. His bid is $1.
Without an anchor tenant lined up, Weinstein said the property currently has “no value.” The land itself is worth more.
“It has future value,” he told residents at a community meeting days before the district’s deadline.
Weinstein is willing to pony up more dollars for Fulton Elementary’s three-story building, which sits directly across Haines Street, though he wouldn’t disclose how much in a conversation with NewsWorks.
At 60,800 square feet, it’s less than a quarter of the size of the GHS building.
That means less daunting spaces for future tenants to fill. The building is also in better shape.
Even so, Weinstein said taking on both properties would be “a labor of love.”
The buildings sit along a struggling commercial stretch of Germantown Avenue in a neighborhood that only some would call up-and-coming.
He called renovating Germantown High School’s 355,000 square-foot campus a “high-risk” project.
“If we can find the right anchor in one year, it’s a home run. If it takes 10 years, I’ll loose my shirt,” said Weinstein.
At GHS, Weinstein said he hopes to partner with members of the Germantown High School Task Force, a grassroots group that wants to bring a voc-tech school to the site.
What the rest of the building — which he would downsize by eliminating two “structurally unsound” wings — would be used for remains undecided.
However, Weinstein said it could include storefronts facing Germantown Avenue and some type of residential development in the back.
“The site just begs for multiple uses,” said Weinstein.
At Fulton, he sees a space for an office, apartments or perhaps another educational endeavor.
It’s unclear when Weinstein will learn if he is the new owner of the GHS and Fulton. PIDC is expected to make a series of recommendations to the district in the middle of the month.
The Philadelphia School District will then make its own recommendations to the School Reform Commission, which has final say on all sales.
It remained unclear Friday morning whether Weinstein’s was the lone bid.
The SRC’s last meeting before summer break is scheduled for June 19.
Task force member Joe Budd is among those who hope Weinstein’s proposal is accepted. Others can bid past June 9, but they may or may not want to work with the community.
“If we have control of the site, we have control over what goes there,” said Budd, a GHS alum. “And that’s the most important thing right now.”