Ann Gardner | Via Latina
Winston School submitted a red dot letter to City Council before the February 3 agendized closed session that included an “estimated schedule of events” regarding their ongoing lease negotiations with the City of Del Mar. Winston has leased the property and school buildings at 9th and Stratford Court for a non-profit private school for children with learning differences since 1988. In 2008 the 1.5 acre property was part of a larger 5.1 acre site that was bought by the City from the Del Mar School District and Winston School’s $3 million dollar contribution toward the purchase counts as prepaid rent to 2023. The lease agreement included the stipulation that the School submit redevelopment plans for the old buildings by last December and the rent would be increased from $197,245 to $266, 910 annually after 2023.
When the new headmaster, Dr. Dena Harris, came on board there were discussions of collaborating on joint use of both the School property and the remaining park property now occupied by DMCC and the Del Mar Foundation in the School District’s former Administration Building. The collaboration took a bump in the road when cost estimates for new school buildings as part of the collaborative plan exceeded the School’s expectations, and the School began planning for separate plans. Subsequently they initiated discussions about the 2023 increase in rent as it relates to the School’s mission and neighborhood concerns about bulk and traffic balanced with a fair market value that would preclude a “gift of public funds.”
The estimated schedule submitted by the Winston School to City Council includes the following, with a note that Winston has contacted an appraiser regarding the agreed-upon appraisal:
1. Obtain and internally review appraisal.
2. Perform internal capital investment analysis and prevailing wage assessment as it relates to current lease in light of recent discuss with City Attorney
3. Meeting(s) with City representatives regarding appraised value and economically viable development.
4. Present City with proposed lease amendment terms.
5. Prepare development plans.”
Both the School and the City have expressed the desire to achieve a positive solution and Dr. Harris has expressly offered to meet with any resident who has questions regarding progress.