The Chicago Bureau

by Kris Szumigalski/The Chicago Bureau

The Chicago Board of Education has made it easier for charter schools  to establish campuses in the city by easing its rules on who can bid on surplus properties it owns. Charters, which are closely watched and free from many Chicago Public School and union rules, are key to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s school reform strategy.

At a meeting of the Illinois General Assembly’s Chicago Educational Facilities Task Force, Monday, a CPS official  announced that in the third round of bidding for surplus real estate assets, restrictions have been eased so that charter schools can buy and use any of 25 properties now up for sale.

These sites are either unused buildings or vacant land that the board has owned for years.

CPS is hoping to raise approximately $15 million from the sale of these parcels.

Among them, the Board of Education previously recommended that properties at 1009 N.  Cleveland Ave., 1855 N. Sheffield Ave., and 5051 W. Polk St. be approved for sale. They have been bought by CMK 2005-3B LLC and Svigos LLC, respectively, both well-known real estate developers.

CPS officials state that the properties at 1009 N. Cleveland and 1855 N. Sheffield are expected to close by the end of the week for a price of approximately $2.2 million and $4 million, respectively. The property on Polk Street, may take another month or two to unload.  This property has a final bid offer of approximately $1 million by Chicago-based Alpha Baking Company, Inc., a national bakery products distributor.

They also confirmed that a second round of bidding included an additional three properties which the schools board is now recommending for approval of sale. Two of the confirmed locations are an unused CPS building at 2317 W.  23rd Place and a parking lot at 6739 Northwest Highway. Information for the expected sales price for the properties have not been given, but CPS leased the Northwest Highway property for $1,200 a year to the Edison Park Chamber of Commerce.

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