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Philadelphia School District challenges denial of building sale

3/25/2016 | Real Estate Blog

When it comes to land use in Pennsylvania, interested parties are not always on the same page. When one party opposes the proposed actions of another, there are multiple ways the matter might be addressed. When other methods are not effective, it is possible litigation could be employed to address the issue. This recently occurred in Philadelphia.

The case involves the School District of Philadelphia and a real estate developer from another state. The school district attempted to sell Concordia Group five buildings previously used as schools. In exchange for the former high school and elementary schools, the school district was slated to receive $6.8 million.

Residents in the community where one of the buildings was located objected to the sale. They hoped that it would instead be used by a charter school. Accordingly, the group, called Point Breeze Community Development Coalition, mounted a challenge to the sale. Specifically it alleged that by not selling each piece of real estate separately, the school district violated its own rules for open bids.

In response, the school district said that because the properties were not being put to bid but instead being sold privately, no violation had occurred. Rather than the open bid, instead it was required the transaction be approved by a judge. When the matter was put before a Common Pleas Court Judge, she denied the petition to complete the sale. The reason for the denial was unclear but the school district recently filed an appeal.

How the case will ultimately be decided is unclear. We will provide updates as they become available.