D-11 sells old Bristol; residential use seen

       The old Bristol school at 730 N. Walnut St. - vacant since 2009 - has been sold by District 11.
       The Board of Education approved a cash purchase of $140,000 in February.

The former gymnasium and classroom building are all that remain of the one-time Bristol School at 730 N. Walnut St. District 11 recently sold the 1.1-acre property; the new owner has said she plans to build residential units. The dumpster was recently brought onto the property, with some cleanup occurring, a neighbor said. A previous D-11 clean-up removed temporary buildings that the Bijou School had used until 2009.
Westside Pioneer photo

       The buyer's name is Jennifer Elliott, with the formal listing by the County Assessor showing the ownership as Bristol Properties LLC.
       Elliott “intends to build residential units on the property,” according to the board minutes for the Feb. 22 meeting. However, any details are not yet known, Kris Odom, D-11 procurement director, said in a recent interview.
       Elliott herself could not be reached for comment before this week's press deadline.
       A 20-year covenant/use restriction on the sale disallows the property from being “repurposed as a school (traditional or private), an MMJ dispensary, an adult store, or a bar that serves alcohol,” the board minutes state.
       The district had been trying to sell the 1.1-acre property since the end of the 2008-09 school year, when, as part of a multi-step “consolidation” that particularly affected the Westside, the Bijou School was relocated to its current home in the former Whittier Elementary building.
       The district's early asking price for 730 N. Walnut had been $315,000. But “the market has been dropping all this time,” Odom said. A local contractor with commercial and residential redevelopment plans had a contract on it for $280,000 in 2011, but could not obtain bank lending.
       Odom explained that the $140,000 sale price is still seen as favorable by D-11 because a market analysis for making it “usable space again” came to nearly $225,000.
       She added that the sale happened quickly. At a time when staff was considering how best to market the site, “we had someone call in, and ask if it was still available,” Odom said. “It was a cash offer, and it was done within two weeks.”
       The original Bristol Elementary was erected at 730 N. Walnut over a century ago, with additions later. The main building was torn down in 1973. The current buildings are what's left - the one-time gymnasium and classroom space.
       The school relocated in '73 to the current Bristol property, two blocks to the north. Bijou (an alternative high school) had been at the original site most of the years since then.

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