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Juvenile Welfare Board to sell Pinellas Park property to SPC

PINELLAS PARK — The Juvenile Welfare Board has a buyer for its former headquarters — about 2 1/2 years after it put the property on the market.

The buyer: St. Petersburg College.

The purchase price is about $2.5 million, which is about 42 percent less than the $4.3 million market value listed by the Pinellas County Property Appraiser's Office. The JWB bought the 3.7 acres from Chase Manhattan Bank in March 1995 for about $1.6 million.

The lack of buyer interest is a sign of the times, JWB executive director Gay Lancaster said. The property, at 6698 68th Ave. N, has simply sat on the market, she said, and the JWB has "barely had anybody look at it."

"We are very grateful (for the sale). We think they are the perfect purchaser," Lancaster said. "This couldn't come at a better time for us to offset some of the losses we're looking at."

The JWB will use the money to help plug an expected $5 million shortfall in the agency's budget for children's programs. SPC will use the property for classrooms, labs and other uses connected with its nearby Health Education Center.

"It just works out wonderfully well. We're not losing it to a public purpose, and we're translating those dollars to service," Lancaster said.

The deal was expected to be final late Friday or early this week.

When SPC takes possession, it first will do about $60,000 in minor improvements to the first floor and then lease it to National University of Health Sciences, which is in portables on the college's Pinellas Park campus, said Susan Reiter, vice president of facilities planning and institutional services. NUHS provides education in chiropractic, naturopathic and oriental medicine, acupuncture, massage therapy and biomedical science.

After that, Reiter said, the college will look at the top three floors of the 50,000-square-foot building to plan for classrooms and labs.

"We're jammed up for space in our existing health education center and have been for years. This will give us a little bit of relief," Reiter said.

Reiter said those renovations are expected to be substantial, but she could not estimate what they might cost.

Reach Anne Lindberg at alindberg@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8450.

Juvenile Welfare Board to sell Pinellas Park property to SPC 03/12/11 [Last modified: Saturday, March 12, 2011 3:30am]

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