Kingman school program may have to move out of new home

Online learning program enrollment increased to 30 students in new home

AHRON SHERMAN/Miner<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->It was once a JC Penney. Then, for a time being, it housed the Kingman Development Services Department. Now it’s home to the Kingman Online Learning Academy. What’s next for this city-owned property?

AHRON SHERMAN/Miner<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->It was once a JC Penney. Then, for a time being, it housed the Kingman Development Services Department. Now it’s home to the Kingman Online Learning Academy. What’s next for this city-owned property?

KINGMAN - It's been about two months since the city and the Kingman Unified School District entered into an agreement that allows the district to use the old development services building for the Kingman Online Learning Academy.

But today, City Council will consider whether or not to start a process that will ultimately end up in the building being sold and KUSD needing to find another place for its online academy.

"We're flexible enough to choose another location if that's what we have to do," said Roger Jacks, KUSD's superintendent. "We couldn't ask for better cooperation from the city."

Jacks said city officials made it clear during negotiations that there was a possibility they would be looking to sell the building in the near future. They also made it known that Swiss businessman Werner Fleischmann, who owns Hotel Brunswick, had expressed interest in the property, which sits on the corner of Fourth and Beale streets.

The program had been housed at the Kingman Unified district offices, but once it moved to the old development services building, enrollment jumped. There were 13 students in the program prior to the move. Today there are 30.

Additionally, the district spent less than $2,000 getting the building ready for use.

The city purchased the property in 2009 for $875,000 from MJB Investments, according to the Mohave County Assessor's Office. It was used to house the city's development services department until the summer of 2011.

The city planned to sell or lease the property.

But the state's government property lease excise tax makes it difficult and expensive for the city to lease the building as retail space. An annual tax of $2.51 per square foot would be levied if the city leased the property as retail space, according to state documents.

The property is 8,741 square feet, which means a tax just short of $22,000 a year would need to be paid if the city leased it.

"As a part of the downtown revitalization effort, the building should be used for commercial purposes," according to the agenda.

City staff recommends the city begin a process to sell the building, which starts with getting the property appraised.

Downing Appraisals has agreed to appraise the property for $3,000 and can have it done by mid-January.

Once it's appraised, the value of the property determines what happens next.

If it's worth $500,000 or more, the city must get voter approval to sell it.

A special election could be held as early as March 2013, according to a memorandum written by City Attorney Carl Cooper.

If it's worth less than $500,000, the city can sell the property, but it must do so by soliciting sealed bids or holding an auction.

In other business, the parties interested in developing the Kingman Crossing Interchange and surrounding commercial properties are asking the city for a six-month extension.

The groups negotiating include the city, Ledcor Construction, Kingman Hospital Inc., W. Holding and Flair Industries.

The agreement is set to expire Dec. 31. Formal negotiating started in September.

In addition to extending the agreement's deadline, city staff is also wants Council direction regarding a potential cost-sharing agreement between the parties to fund the completion of the design plans, which are expected to cost $1.2 million.

Council meets at 5:30 p.m. today at 310 N. Fourth St.