Common Council votes to approve the sale of Malcolm X site

mps-milwaukee-public-schools-logoThe Milwaukee Common Council voted Tuesday to move forward a comprehensive redevelopment of Milwaukee Public Schools’ former Malcolm X Academy that would include a rigorous, college preparatory International Baccalaureate Middle Years school along with improved performance and athletic space for the community and a mixed use development.

The Common Council vote, which was required because the city owns MPS property, authorizes the sale under an expanded term sheet approved November 1 by the Milwaukee Board of School Directors.

The next step is to finalize the sale documents under the terms listed on the term sheet.

2760 Holdings LLC would redevelop the site as a multi-use project as envisioned by multiple community discussions, a community planning session hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and meetings held by the Milwaukee Board of School Directors.

A public-private partnership allows for the uses desired by the community including housing.

“This is a win for our students, a win for the neighborhood and a win for the city as a whole,” Milwaukee Board of School Directors president Michael Bonds said.

MPS Superintendent Gregory Thornton expressed gratitude to Common Council members “for continuing to support our strategic use of facilities to grow programs that are both academically successful and in demand.”

Under the plan as listed in the term sheet:

– MPS would sell the site to 2760 Holdings, LLC — a development company formed by James Phelps of JCP Construction, Inc. – for $2.1 million.

JCP has been involved in recent projects including a Milwaukee School of Engineering soccer field and the Moderne high-rise tower. Phelps plans to work with KBS Construction, Inc., on the project. KBS’ recent projects include the Global Water Center and multi-use developments for the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee.

– The redeveloped site would include an International Baccalaureate (IB) “Middle Years Programme” school. MPS is home to six IB schools, including top-rated Rufus King and Ronald Reagan high schools.

The school plan is consistent with MPS’ strategic use of facilities to house in-demand, successful MPS school programs. In recent years, the district has reused 10 facilities for MPS schools, leased 11 sites to charter/partnership schools and sold four schools including three to high-performing charter operators.

– Community assets including the gymnasiums and auditorium would be available to the community through partnerships with the MLK Economic Development Corporation.

– As a key component in improving the attractiveness and quality of the site and to enhance the attractiveness of the neighborhood, a mixed-use building would be developed along Center Street offering both affordable family/intergenerational housing and commercial space.

– A portion of the existing facility would be taken down to separate the school space from the mixed-use development.

– MPS would pay 2760 Holdings to lease the remodeled school space for a term that matches the financing for the full redevelopment project.

Lease payments would be based upon the amortized cost of the renovation of the school and the purchase price of the school portion of the property.

The lease terms are designed to protect taxpayers and advance a positive development.

– MPS will repurchase the school portion of the property at the conclusion of the lease or during the lease for $1 or the remaining cost of the school site purchase price and school site renovation cost.