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A4 • Friday, July 19, 2019 | Seaside Signal | SeasideSignal.com
For school sales, district turns to the pros
SEEN FROM SEASIDE
How do you sell a school building?
Seaside School District has three of them
on the market: Seaside High School, Broad-
way Middle School and Gearhart Elemen-
tary School. Each are scheduled for clos-
ing next summer, when students will attend
classes at the new middle and high school
in the Southeast Hills. Gearhart Elemen-
tary School students will join students at
the Heights. The buildings are being mar-
keted by Raymond Duchek of Norris & Ste-
vens in Portland in conjunction with Larry
Popkin of Popkin Real Estate in Seaside.
A fourth building, Cannon Beach
Elementary School, is being marketed
Q: How did you develop the marketing
pieces? What points you were trying to hit?
Duchek: We put that in together in col-
laboration with Larry, based on our com-
bined experience of marketing properties.
We’re trying to put together a piece that
expands the market beyond a local buyer
pool, trying to get a more regional distribu-
tion of buyers interested in Seaside and all
the beneﬁ ts that it has.
Q: What type of businesses or organiza-
tions investors are you looking at to market
Duchek: We haven’t zeroed in. We’re
looking to market it to the broadest net
We want to talk to developers, we want
to talk to people who might be interested in
using the existing structures — lots of dif-
ferent approaches. We’re trying to get as
many options on the table for the school
Popkin: Even community organizations.
Q: Is that beyond Seaside?
Popkin: Clatsop and beyond.
Q: What is the zoning for the middle
Duchek: The middle school has two
zones medium-zone residential and com-
mercial zoning on the property, and the high
school is all medium-density residential.
Q: That provides a lot of opportunities
for housing, it would seem.
Duchek: Housing would be a good ﬁ t for
the high school.
Q: You’re thinking of it as a residential
type of development?
Popkin: If a developer comes in and
brings something else, yes, that’s the most
Q: Do you have feelers, have you had
Popkin: Yes, we have we’ve had commu-
nication with different potential developers.
Q: If someone wanted to put a hotel at
the high school building site, could they?
Or would they need a zoning change?
Popkin: They’d need to get a conditional
use permit to do so.
Duchek: They couldn’t outright, the way
it’s zoned right now, so they’d have to work
with the city if that would even be allowed.
Q: Some Seaside residents have asked
the city to pursue purchase of the property
west of the high school, overlooking the
estuary on North Holladay. Is that part of
the larger high school bid package?
Duchek: That would be part of the sale.
Q: How is Gearhart Elementary School
Popkin: It’s currently zoned for a school,
and it’s our understanding it will revert to
a residential zone once it ceases to be a
Q: Have you been in conversation with
SCHOOLS FOR SALE
Broadway Middle School
1120 Broadway Street
Norris & Stevens
Broadway Middle School, one of three properties represented for sale.
Popkin Real Estate.
vice president and
senior broker, Norris
the city of Gearhart?
Q: Can you discuss the type of concerns
you might have had about the building?
Duchek: Not really. I don’t think that
would be appropriate.
Q: Could Gearhart Elementary be used
for commercial purposes?
Popkin: Not without a zone change.
Q: Are you selling the buildings as is, as
teardowns, or will you let the buyer decide?
Duchek: The market will determine that.
Q: So, if someone wants to keep a build-
ing as it is or refurbish it, they’re welcome
Q: At the Broadway Middle School
property, what are the zoning rules?
Duchek: The front portion has commer-
cial zoning, C-3, and the back half has R-2.
Q: Theoretically someone could do
mixed-use type of development?
Q: Is it also being sold as-is?
Some buyers will want them completely
demolished and make way for new stuff.
Other people will see a lot of value in what’s
in place between the kitchens, gymnasiums
and auditoriums. It’s just going to depend
on who ﬁ gures out what type of develop-
ment they want to do there and if they can
use parts of the existing structure.
Q: The new school campus won’t be
ready until the fall of 2020. Does that mean
buyers will have to wait until the new school
opens before they move forward with rede-
Popkin: The answer to that is that the
school is not going to be prepared to move
Any sale will require the school district
to maintain continued use of those struc-
tures until the end of next summer. That’s
the current plan.
Duchek: They could sell the buildings
tomorrow. They (the buyer) just won’t
occupy them until the new schools are open.
Popkin: They’ll be made aware of that.
Q: Where will you be promoting or
advertising the sale of Seaside’s schools?
Property type: Special purpose
Duchek: We will be using our traditional
marketing reaches, which include a lot of
internet-based providers, like LoopNet. We
will get local MLS (Multiple Listing Ser-
vice) and local outlets through Larry, and
we each have, from being in the business,
investors we’ve worked with in the past.
We’ll try to cast a broad net.
Q: If you were doing a pitch to get me
interested, what would you stress about
Duchek: I think as it relates to Broad-
way, you have a fantastic intersection,
Broadway and 101. You’ve got a substan-
tial piece of property that’s right in the main
corridor of the community. You’ve got lots
of trafﬁ c counts through there, it’s close for
residents, it’s got a lot of amenities, but it
will also appeal to the visitor population
that comes through there.
And the other two, you have big tracts of
land that are well located, that will provide
a lot of different opportunities for develop-
ers to reutilize those spaces.
It’s hard to ﬁ nd that much acreage con-
tiguous within the community.
Q: Have you had experience selling
institutional properties like this?
Q: Typically, how does it come out?
Duchek: I’d say there’s not a typical
result. It’s all market-driven.
Q: Whoever has the highest bid would
be the one to get these?
Popkin: It’s not all about money. It’s also
about the terms they’re offering. If there’s
more than one offer on the table, it’s a much
If there’s multiple offers on the table,
they may want to think about who the buyer
is or how the buyer is going to make use of
it. The school district may very well con-
sider this too, because they’re members of
this community, and individuals want to see
quality things happening at these locations.
Q: Who are you working with at the
Popkin: There’s a committee there. That
includes (superintendent) Sheila (Roley)
and the business manager (Justine Hill).
Q: Will you be working with them on a
day-to-day basis, or when you get a bid, or
Duchek: If a bid comes in, we’ll obvi-
ously be talking to them as soon as there’s
an offer. But we’re communicating with
them biweekly to make sure everybody’s
on the same page.
Q: Where do you go from here?
Duchek: We’ll be involved with fol-
low-up calls, direct marketing.
These are big properties. It will take time
for people to put their plans together, ideas
of what they want to do. We’ll be marketing
through the summer — as long as it takes.
We’ve got a whole school year to continue
Building size: 72,557 square feet
Year built: 1949
Asking price: $3,600,000
Gross building area: ± 72,557 SF
Land area: ± 235,224 SF per county, ±
Property type: 1-story school building
Including: Main school with 2 gyms,
cafeteria and kitchen
Zoning: ± 3.0 Acres — R-2 Residential,
± 2.4 Acres — C-3 Commercial City of
Gearhart Elementary School
1002 Paciﬁ c Way
Asking price: $1,900,000
Gross building area: ± 31,666 square
Land area: ±367,646 square feet per
Property type: 1-story school buildings
Including: Main school with gymnasi-
um, cafeteria; four modular buildings;
covered outdoor basketball courts
Zoning: PSP Public and Semi-Public,
City of Gearhart
Popkin: In these kinds of transactions,
commercial transactions rather than resi-
dential, numbers and zoning and all the dif-
ferent things have to make sense to inves-
tors. There’s a lot less emotion involved
than a residential transaction, where you
see the house you like and you go, “Honey,
we’re buying this.” It does take a bit more
time to get things in order.
Q: How does emotion, if at all, play a
role in marketing the schools? Is it hard for
the district to part with these buildings?
Popkin: That’s probably a better ques-
tion for them than us. These people have
been involved with the district for many,
many, many years, and I think we’ll see
people from the community have a hard
time at various times with these issues. I
can’t imagine it not being the case.
Q: Is there anything else you would like
to add about the process?
Popkin: To be clear, Popkin Real Estate
and Norris & Stevens are two separate
companies. We are collaborating together
and were hired together to market and sell
With my ofﬁ ce being here in Seaside,
and their ofﬁ ce in Portland, we have a local
and regional presence to try and generate as
much interest for this project.
Author Lauren Acampora crafts a spine-tingling page-turner
t’s not often that I read a book in
two sittings, but that’s exactly how I
devoured “The Paper Wasp,” a new
novel by Lauren Acampora. And it wasn’t
just me who literally ate the book up. My
husband also couldn’t put it down.
I don’t recall meeting the author in per-
son, although we’ve spoken several times
on the phone. Lauren Acampora lives in the
same small town an hour north of New York
City where we lived before migrating to the
Paciﬁ c Northwest coast. When Lauren’s ﬁ rst
book, “The Wonder Garden” was published
two years ago, I interviewed her for a New
York newspaper. I interviewed her a few
weeks ago for the new book as well.
“The Paper Wasp” is a chilling tale of
twisted ambition set against the backdrop
of contemporary Hollywood. Publisher’s
Weekly named it a “Top 10 Summer Read”
and the New York Times recommended it
for their summer reading list.
In a telephone interview from her writ-
ing studio at home, Acampora relayed she
channeled her feelings about these unset-
tling and confusing times into the novel.
“It was really cathartic to write,” she
said. “This novel is about friends who were
tight as children when they lived in an
imaginary world of their own creation, and
then they grew apart.” Festering ambition
is a major theme. “I found it interesting to
explore a relationship where one friend gar-
ners huge public acclaim, while the other
wonders what’s so special about her friend.
It’s that love and admiration and ultimately
envy and resentment that intrigued me.”
Acampora said the novel began as an
unpublished short story she wrote eleven
years ago, prompted by an idea that had its
root in a tabloid story she skimmed while
waiting on line at the supermarket checkout.
“It was a story about an actress on the rise
John D. Bruijn
who had a cat-
ora said. “The gears started
turning in my head.”
I took “The Paper Wasp” out of the Sea-
side Library and spoke to the author shortly
after. Since the characters become involved
with a cult, we talked about The Forum and
Scientology and how they draw people in.
She said early drafts of “The Paper Wasp”
were super sinister and that she ultimately
decided to dial back the darkness. I asked
how she conceived of the guru in her story,
a character she calls Perren.
“I was thinking of Julian Assange, Roman
Polanski, and David Lynch,” she said.
Acampora’s writing style could be consid-
ered a challenge for some readers. She ref-
erences the work of Carl Jung, for example,
and uses words that even I had to look up.
It’s unclear in the story whether the narrator
is romantically in love with her friend or just
pathologically jealous. My husband used to
be a screenwriter and for a few years we lived
in L.A. I was amazed at Acampora’s brilliant
rendering of the nihilistic nature of the ﬁ lm
community, and how everyone attached to it
is forced into the role of seeker. The author
has created a truly transcendent, multidimen-
sional novel that cracks the New Age wall to
make guided imagery a reality on the page.
That said, “The Paper Wasp” is one of
the best books I’ve read this year.
Lauren Acampora will be doing a book-
signing event and conversation with Oregon
Book Award winner Cari Luna on Monday,
Aug. 26, at Powell’s in Portland.
“Cari was in my MFA program,” she
said. “I’m looking forward to seeing her.”
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