The Lincoln Independent Business Association appreciates the efforts Lincoln Public Schools has made in reviewing possible sites for the new District Office. We also believe the public should be commended for their willingness to provide suggestions for possible sites.
LIBA has reviewed the four finalist sites, and we feel strongly that the 5901 O Street site is a valuable commercial site that should be sold and placed back on the tax rolls. We would also encourage the District to explore whether a restriction could be placed on the property so that the new owner would not qualify for TIF.
Even if a buyer for the O Street site does not currently exist, the location of this site directly across the street from a major regional mall would seem to be attractive to commercial developers, increasing the market value and providing additional tax dollars to the District through its property tax levy.
With improvements to the remaining sites, the District should still have a net gain from the sale of the O Street property of at least $1 million and as much as $3 million. The District should not ignore this latent value in the O Street site, especially since it is facing very difficult budgets ahead and an increase in building needs.
We encourage the District to consider the overall costs to develop each site and the potential benefits that each site may present to the community. We strongly recommend returning the old site to the tax rolls, which would increase annual property tax revenue to fund other significant needs for schools.