Milw. Board of School Directors votes to authorize sale of building

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The Milwaukee Board of School Directors on Monday evening, October 14th authorized the administration to request the City of Milwaukee sell the former Malcolm X Academy building to 2760 Holdings, LLC. MPS buildings are owned by the City of Milwaukee, so the sale must be approved by the Milwaukee Common Council.

The building is being sold to 2760 Holdings, LLC for the purchase price of $2.1 million. 2760 Holdings would develop the space. There is an option for Milwaukee Public Schools to lease back any space used for MPS educational purposes. The sale marks the completion of a multi-year process that will result in a multi-purpose facility that includes an MPS school.

In August 2012, the Board of School Directors authorized the administration to explore the option of community centers for several unused Milwaukee Public Schools buildings. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning sponsored a design event this summer for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive Economic Development Corp. where use for of the former Malcolm X building as a community center was affirmed.

Earlier Monday, St. Marcus Lutheran School Superintendent Henry Tyson said he was still holding out hope that St. Marcus would be able to obtain the Malcolm X building, though it was looking very unlikely.

"Clearly, we remain disappointed," Tyson said.

Tyson had high hopes of expanding St. Marcus Lutheran, which is currently at capacity.

"Engaged the city and MPS in numerous conversations and made it clear what we would like to do and when we would do it. Those attempts have all been rejected," Tyson said.

To Tyson's dismay, MPS seems to have taken another route as far as the vacant building is concerned.

"The board decided that over a 90-day period it would enter in discussions with 2760 Holdings to be able to take a look at possible sale of the building," MPS spokeswoman Denise Callaway said.

Records show 2760 Holdings LLC. was just created at the end of August -- but the registered agent has ties to JCP Construction. FOX6 News asked the JCP president about the possible agreement, but were told the company had no comment for fear of hindering a possible negotiation.

However, it seems JCP didn't have a problem posting a video online for its supporters to see worldwide.

In the past, MPS has said it would consider the building for educational and recreational programs.

"As early as August of 2012 our board took at a look and actually passed a resolution that said we look at any unused buildings we had to possibly be used as community centers," Callaway said.

With Tyson's plan to expand St. Marcus now on the back burner, he says he believes MPS' seemingly quick choice has brought widespread skepticism and disappointment.

"We like JCP. We think they are good guys -- a local company, but what is absolutely missing is the transparent process. It is a blatant attempt to not go through an open, fair process and to move it really quickly so the building is off the table," Tyson said.

Tyson says he is encouraging community members to speak out on this issue -- even urging folks to call Mayor Barrett.

Meanwhile, MPS says three other facilities were offered to St. Marcus, but says the school's leaders declined the opportunity.