Interest brewing in old district headquarters
Despite recent interest, Putnam County School District officials said there are still no formal offers to purchase the Campbell building.
School board members voted in December to hire Coldwell Banker Commercial Benchmark of Ormond Beach to manage the sale of the former school district headquarters, 200 S. Seventh St. in Palatka.
According to the real estate agency’s website, the Campbell building is listed at $995,000.
Last week, a company interested in purchasing the building asked to meet individually with school board members, Superintendent Rick Surrency confirmed, but no offer was made as of Tuesday.
School board attorney Charlie Douglas said a perspective buyer could legally meet with individual board members.
“But a formal offer would have to be brought before the whole board,” Douglas added.
Last year, a presentation from a mental health and addiction service provider interested in purchasing the property sparked outrage from Campbell building neighbors from Palatka’s South Historic District.
Another perspective buyer’s idea to renovate the building to accommodate an assisted living facility also did not sit well with neighbors.
“I think this group wanted to alleviate any concerns we might have about what would go in there,” school board Chairwoman Jane Crawford said, adding she only spoke briefly on the phone with the perspective buyer while traveling last week.
Board member Nikki Cummings, who has served on the school board since 2010, said it was the first time she met individually with a potential buyer for the Campbell building.
“They were just trying to see what our vision was in our community,” Cummings said. “I think they’re just trying to cover all the bases before they come forward with something formal.”
Board member Kathy Jorgensen said she didn’t want to hinder any potential sale by talking about the details of her meeting with the perspective buyer, but said she “walked away with a positive impression.”
Douglas and Surrency said they were not a part of any meetings with the perspective buyer and individual board members.
Although the school board agreed to hire the real estate agency, Douglas said he still receives inquiries about the Campbell building.
The building has been on the market since March 2015, when school district officials moved their offices to the new district headquarters at 200 Reid St. in Palatka.
Officials said they were facing pressure from the state to sell the building because it exceeds the limit for ancillary property owned by the school district. Surrency said he doesn’t think the district would face repercussions as long as it is in the process of selling the building.