After two years of silence to community requests for plans to redevelop the former Germantown High School and Fulton Elementary School buildings, the owner, Jack Azran, has agreed to meet with the Germantown community.
The newly formed Germantown and Fulton Campus Coalition will be hosting the meeting, according to an email from Germantown United CDC.
The meeting, according to a Facebook post by Germantown United and Power, will take place Monday, May 6 from 6 p.m. — 8 p.m. at Janes Memorial United Methodist Church at 47 E. Haines St.
Azran will present redevelopment project plans and take questions from the community.
“We, the Coalition, recognize this is VERY short notice but were not given much choice,” said a statement released by the new coalition on Facebook.
Germantown High School was closed in 2013 by the school district. Maryland-based Concordia Group acquired the Germantown High School after the school district unloaded the property in a controversial packaged deal for $100,000.
In 2017, Concordia then transferred ownership on the LLC to the current owner. Since then the school has continued to sit vacant, the owner silent, and over half a million in taxes and fines unpaid. The community then learned about a tax sale slated for 2 of the parcels of the property the school sits on set for May 15th.
The move signals an about-face for the owner, who has been largely unresponsive to the community, journalists, and even the City Councilwoman.
“My numerous requests and outreaches have gone unanswered.” Councilwoman Cindy Bass posted on Facebook in response to getting the owner to agree to meet.
As the community organized to demands answers for redevelopment plans for Germantown High School, the owner showed signs of life having the building doors secured with giant concrete blocks April 22nd.
After plans posted online in January by MSC Retail showing the lawn area of GHS paved over to create parking spots and commercial space for a dollar store, the community responded on March 14th with more than 250 people showing up to a community meeting.
Germantown residents gathered again April 22nd at the Janes Memorial United Methodist Church to form the Germantown and Fulton Campus Coalition. At the same time outside the church that is surrounded by the vacant campus, men hired by the owner of the property were moving giant concrete blocks in front of the doors surrounding the building’s doors of the former Germantown High School building.
With the May 15th tax sale fastly approaching, the move put into doubt on if the tax sale would proceed on the scheduled date. As of May 2nd, the owed taxes on the building were $72,282.14. It’s unclear if a deal was made for back tax payments at this time.
In a report from the Julie Stapleton Carroll, board president of Germantown United CDC, she stated that in late January of 2019, she had received a call from the legal representatives of the owner who assured her the owner was interested in engaging with the community after the site design was finished. She said she was also informed that High Top Real Estate & Development is taking the lead.
When the Info Hub reached out to High Top Real Estate & Development, they informed us that High Top was no longer involved with any redevelopment of Germantown High School.