A4 • Friday, July 19, 2019 | Seaside Signal | SeasideSignal.com SignalViewpoints For school sales, district turns to the pros SEEN FROM SEASIDE R.J. MARX 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 separately. 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 the schools? Duchek: We haven’t zeroed in. We’re looking to market it to the broadest net possible. 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 district. Popkin: Even community organizations. Q: Is that beyond Seaside? Popkin: Clatsop and beyond. Q: What is the zoning for the middle school? 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 likely scenario. Q: Do you have feelers, have you had calls? 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 zoned? 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 school. Q: Have you been in conversation with SCHOOLS FOR SALE Broadway Middle School 1120 Broadway Street Seaside Norris & Stevens Broadway Middle School, one of three properties represented for sale. Larry Popkin of Raymond Duchek, Popkin Real Estate. vice president and senior broker, Norris & Stevens. the city of Gearhart? Duchek: Yes. 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 to? Duchek: Yes. 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? Duchek: Yes. Q: Is it also being sold as-is? Duchek: Yes. 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- velopment plans? Popkin: The answer to that is that the school is not going to be prepared to move early. 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? Price: $3,600,000 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 these properties? 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? Duchek: Yes. 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 different conversation. 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 school district? 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 as needed? 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 marketing. Building size: 72,557 square feet Year built: 1949 Asking price: $3,600,000 Highlights Gross building area: ± 72,557 SF Land area: ± 235,224 SF per county, ± 5.40 AC. 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 Seaside Location Gearhart Elementary School 1002 Paciﬁ c Way Gearhart Asking price: $1,900,000 Gross building area: ± 31,666 square feet Land area: ±367,646 square feet per county ±8.44 acres 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 these properties. 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 VIEW FROM THE PORCH EVE MARX I 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 PUBLISHER EDITOR Kari Borgen R.J. Marx 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 CIRCULATION MANAGER PRODUCTION MANAGER CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Jeremy Feldman John D. Bruijn ADVERTISING SALES MANAGER SYSTEMS MANAGER Sarah Silver- Tecza Carl Earl Skyler Archibald Darren Gooch Joshua Heineman Rain Jordan Katherine Lacaze Eve Marx Cara Mico Esther Moberg who had a cat- astrophic melt down,’ Ms. Acamp- 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.” Seaside Signal Letter policy Subscriptions The Seaside Signal is published every other week by EO Media Group, 1555 N. Roosevelt, Seaside, OR 97138. 503-738-5561 seasidesignal.com Copyright © 2019 Seaside Signal. Nothing can be reprinted or copied without consent of the owners. The Seaside Signal welcomes letters to the editor. The deadline is noon Monday prior to publication. Letters must be 400 words or less and must be signed by the author and include a phone number for veriﬁ cation. We also request that submissions be limited to one letter per month. Send to 1555 N. Roosevelt Drive, Seaside, OR 97138, drop them oﬀ at 1555 N. 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