Renting may be cheaper than owning for schools

March 9, 2010 8:23:10 AM PST
Wake school leaders are learning it may be cheaper to rent than buy, renovate or build new office space for Administrative staff.

But they better act quickly. A Strategic Analysis report prepared by Grubb & Ellis shows that over the next 20 years it could cost WCPSS nearly $81 million to keep their current spaces as they have now. That includes some leasing, operating expenses, maintenance and repairs, and costly renovations to older buildings.

In comparison, it would likely cost nearly $54 million if they leased space instead.

The G&E report shows that all out leasing is the most cost effective because it allows the school system to expand or contract as needed as growth either increases or slows. It also points out how WCPSS could benefit from the slow economy.

"Rent landlords receive today is equivalent to the same rates as they would have received 25 years ago," the report said.

Representatives from G&E explained to the school board's facility committee that the rental market is so competitive, landlords are offering incredible deals and other perks. But this could change in 3-6 months.

WCPSS and the county could also get a lot of money for two of their existing buildings. Facilities staff member Betty Parker said the school system has already been contacted by a developer and a church that would like to buy the school system's building and land at 2302 Noble Road.

"The offers have been very competitive in a down market," she said.

One G&E representative said that site is so appealing because it's inside the beltline, close to a renovated school, and is surrounded by a new community with $700,000 homes. Parker also says offers have been made on the central office site at 3600 Wake Forest Road.

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