From School to Surplus Property
All planned program closures that are part of the 21st Century Schools Initiative were announced in 2013, along with a planned date of closure between 2013 and 2024. Each December, BCPS reviews its 10-year enrollment projections report and makes recommendations for revisions to the program closure schedule, if needed, based on evolving needs of the School District.
Before site control of a school can be turned over to the City, the Board of Public Works, a State Agency, must approve the surplus of the site and that it will no longer be used as an educational facility. After BCPS has received approval from the State, it can officially declare the property surplus.
From Surplus Property to Re-Use
Once a property is declared surplus, the City officially begins its process of identifying a responsible agency for the site. The property is assigned to an agency for use or disposition through the Space Utilization Committee. Per the City Charter, the Space Utilization Committee, chaired by the Comptroller’s Real Estate Office, is responsible for assigning properties to the appropriate agencies.
Based on stakeholder engagement, market assessment, and expressions of interest in the property, the City will determine the appropriate re-use path for each property. In many cases, the property will be offered for sale through a request for proposals by Baltimore Housing or Baltimore Development Corporation. Other properties may be re-used directly by City agencies, other government entities, or have other special re-use considerations. Properties in weaker markets may need a different approach. This approach might be offering the property with subsidy, demolishing the building and offering a cleared site, demolishing the building and creating open space, leasing the property, etc. If the initial re-use path identified for a property is not successful in identifying a long term viable re-use for the property, another re-use path will be identified.
The City is committed to conducting stakeholder engagement so that the City (and any potential future users of the facilities) can understand community desires and concerns. This might include desires and concerns about uses, the site, or access. Stakeholders may identify particular uses that they would like to see in their neighborhood that are not currently available elsewhere. The City will gather and document stakeholder desires and concerns and make them available to prospective developers to set the stage for redevelopment. Preference can be given to proposals that respond to community desires and concerns.
While the City is committed to stakeholder engagement, for a reuse to come to fruition, an appropriate organization must have both the interest and capacity to improve the building and operate the facility and programs. The process does not provide a guarantee that stakeholder desires can be filled, but an opportunity for desires to be shared, known, and considered by potential building users.