Well, another school year has come to a close and the property that we have been hoping to purchase for Narnia Elementary School is still in the hands of the city. You might think we are frustrated or that maybe we are getting impatient. Not exactly. It’s perfectly good news that the property has not been sold yet because it means that no one else has bought it.
Three Rounds of Bidding
So far there have been three rounds of public bidding for the property. During the first round the minimum price was set at the official estimate. If you weren’t willing to make a minimum bid of 2.1 million Euros then you couldn’t bid. We weren’t willing to pay that much so we had to sit out the first round and hope that no one else was either. In the meantime, we heard rumors that the owner of a private business school was looking for property for his school to expand and that he was looking at our campus.
It turns out that was hearsay and no one placed a bid during the first round.
During the second round of bidding the city set the minimum price to what we had said we thought we could and would be willing to pay for the property in our preliminary talks with the city. That was about 1.4 million Euros for the property minus the track and mini soccer field (that was our idea). Unfortunately, we were unable to come up with the finances to cover that purchase price and were unable to enter the second round of bidding. All we could do was wait and hope that no one else would bid.
No one did.
Then came the third round of bidding. This time the city decided they wanted to keep not just the track and mini soccer field but also the gymnasium. They said they would rent the gymnasium to us. There was no minimum price set but we heard that the city would accept no less than 1.1 million Euros, no matter what bids came in (they have the right to do that, of course). We didn’t feel good about no gymnasium and we still weren’t sure we could come up with the money. So we waited and again we hoped that no one else would bid.
No one did.
So you see that having everything drag out means no one else has bought the property (yeah!), and the price is coming down (yeah!). Also, since the school year is over, we’ve signed a lease with the city for the entire next school year. As long as no one else purchases the property, we’ve got a place for school.
At this point we’re not exactly sure what’s next. That’s nothing new. The city council won’t meet again until September so nothing will happen until then “for sure.”
In the meantime, our congregation (and the bank) has approved the purchase of the building without the gymnasium for 900,000 Euros. It’s not the ideal solution but the city has expressed that they would keep the rent low (close to what we currently pay) and in fact it appears we couldn’t come up with the funding for a larger purchase.
It’s been a long drawn out process but we appreciate your prayers. In our congregation we’ve had a fasting chain going all through the school year. Someone in our congregation has fasted and prayed every day since September 1, 2013. Thanks for joining us in that prayer vigil. Even though we still haven’t purchased the property we can certainly see the fruit of those prayers!