Sunrise Or Sunset For Charter Schools?

sunrise or sunsetFranklin Academy Charter Schools broke ground on a 100,000-square-foot, K-8 Charter School in Sunrise, Florida.

At full capacity, the school will accommodate over 1,300 students.  The 10-acre site was purchased on March 3, 2014 from HealthSouth Sunrise Rehabilitation Hospital, LLC.

Reese Stigliano, SVP of Brenner Real Estate Group represented HealthSouth in the $3.6 million transaction.

According to Stigliano, the property was under contract for approximately ten months prior to closing. One of the conditions to close was obtaining approval from the City of Sunrise for the site layout.

“Site plan approval is not an uncommon requirement on most land sales”, said Reese.

Unfortunately, for this approval, the drama was ratcheted up several degrees.

While the school’s development team was working with the city, the Charter School industry was experiencing a rash of bad publicity due to failing and closing schools. A month after the development application was submitted to the city, the local newspaper, the Sun Sentinel, had a front page scathing exposé on the Charter School industry.  Fortunately, Franklin Academy is an A+ operation, but that didn’t stop the City of Sunrise from scrutinizing every inch of their plan.

On the day the city commission was voting on the final site plan approval, you could have cut the tension in the air with a knife. The Franklin Academy School site plan approval was item 20 on the agenda.  Item 21 on the agenda was a new city ordinance imposing a 12-month moratorium on site plan approvals for Charter Schools.

“Dealing with city commissions is becoming more and more difficult. It takes a well oiled team of professionals that are prepared to have their project put under a microscope to get a large project approved.” said Reese.

The school is scheduled to open for business in August of this year.