Windrush School Poised to Sell to SF-Based LLC

A letter from the trustee informed bond holders of the impending sale.

An outfit called Educational Ventures is buying Windrush School for $6.9 million, according to a letter from Wells Fargo to the holders of Windrush School’s revenue bonds.

Dated Sept. 10, the letter states that the buyer has 45 days to complete due diligence and that the purchase price will be paid in cash at closing.

According to the California Secretary of State’s office, Educational Ventures is an LLC registered in San Francisco and incorporated on August 1 of this year.

Windrush declared bankruptcy almost a year ago. In March, the bankruptcy filing was dismissed with prejudice

Lord Abbett, the investment firm that bought most of the school's $13 million in construction bonds, filed suit on July 13 seeking damages from 17 individuals identified in the suit as school board members at the time the bonds were issued in 2007.

Marty September 11, 2012 at 07:44 PM
The problem with Patch is that it is not real journalism. We don't get the story behind the story. Then again, the legacy media don't cover local issues that well anymore. A web search came up with Intuit Educational Ventures. Is this the entity buying Windrush. What are their plans? Another charter school to poach money and students from WCCUSD? Did WCCUSD consider this property for Portola, as I suggested? Paying $6.9 million would have left many tens of millions for rennovations from the money allocated for a new MS in El Cerrito.
Kathy A. September 11, 2012 at 08:07 PM
The main reporting on Windrush has been right here on EC Patch. The letter mentioned in this article was dated yesterday; the offer to buy is in progress. It seems unreasonable to expect the entire "story behind the story" for something that is pending, and won't be a done deal for some time. This is pretty prompt reporting on a local story in progress. You did suggest this site for the new Portola, and people have responded -- more than once, as I recall. First of all, the plans for the new Portola have been in progress for years, and a significant amount of district money invested. And second, if I recall correctly, this site is not large enough to accommodate Portola's population and traffic. Third, there are problems with the physical site for a public school, because there are significant safety requirements -- and the main building is unreinforced concrete, and very close to the Hayward fault. Marty, I feel your frustration, because those Portola kids need something besides the portable classrooms. But there were reasons the Portola to Windrush idea was unworkable.
Paul September 11, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Regarding use of this building as a public school - all PUBLIC school facilities must meet the most stringent of building standards. They are designed to be the safest buildings in the community. The designs are thoroughly reviewed and approved by the Division of the State Architect (DSA). Nothing gets constructed at a public school without DSA's approval. These same standards DO NOT apply to private schools. The Windrush facilities would NOT meet DSA standards unless they were essentially re-built from the ground up... and that would cost MUCH more than the $6.9 million cited in this story. Although I agree it would have been a wonderful "re-use" of the facility, it simply isn't cost effective.
Marty September 11, 2012 at 09:09 PM
The link to the CA Sec. of State gives a contact for the buyer; that person could have been asked for information on the organization and its intent for that property for this story. While the orphanage building would no doubt require extensive seismic upgrades that may or may not be feasible, the new construction probably meets DSA standards. I'm not sure what the acreage is, but the Castro site is below the state recommendation--it is obviously not a firm limit. The transportation and traffic concerns are less than Castro pressents. Unlike Castro, which is in a residential area, the WR campus is on an arterial, and is a five minute walk from BART. If the district can pay $30K to do a phone voter survey on taxes, couldn't they also do a feasibility study on the Windrush site?
Denise Sangster September 11, 2012 at 10:36 PM
I wish it could be turned into a business campus... Idea location for a tech company...! El Cerrito could use more businesses!
Local Mom September 12, 2012 at 03:43 AM
Interesting thought about how to turn it into a profit & job generating site. I hope the city is working on an economic development angle for the property and getting in touch with the new owner(s).
Barbara Hill September 12, 2012 at 05:21 AM
The main building is historic and should be made a landmark. Whatever the plans of the new owner(s) are for the rest of the property, I hope to gosh that they will preserve and protect that building, along with its Chinese art motifs, in accordance with any applicable preservation laws. The Windrush School was a good custodian of the building's history, and they seemed to appreciate its significance to El Cerrito's rather surprising history of ethnic diversity. For those who don't know, the main building was originally an orphanage for Chinese boys, the only one in the U.S., supported by the Baptist Church because state-run orphanages did not admit minorities. (A counterpart orphanage for Chinese girls was run by the Presbyterian Church down the Peninsula.) The boys attended local public schools, became good citizens, and nine of them gave their lives in defense of the U.S. during World War II. The orphanage was closed in about 1954 when state-run orphanages became integrated.
Beth Weil September 12, 2012 at 07:23 PM
What does LLC mean?
Paul September 12, 2012 at 09:56 PM
LLC = Limited Liability Company. LLP = Limited Liability Partnership.
Dorothy Coakley September 13, 2012 at 01:43 AM
A tiny quibble here. I'm not quite sure what constitutes "real" journalism but I am quite sure that Patch covers the local news as thoroughly as any of its predecessors. "Online, on time and on budget. "
Jan September 24, 2012 at 01:27 AM
The company listed as purchasing the 1800 Elm Street site has a P.O Box in Carefree, AZ. If you google that community you'll find it is a small town of a little over 2,000 people. It is a very affluent community with several movie stars living there and many movies have been filmed in the area. It is near Scottsdale, AZ. Anyone can e-mail them a message by going to their site and hitting the "contact" button. It would be interesting to see if someone gets a response. I tried it but haven't heard anything from them. I'm wondering if you can contact the Sacramento office to see who the Board of Directors of the organization is. I think that has to be listed in order to be incorporated.
Charles Burress (Editor) September 24, 2012 at 02:27 AM
Marty, I was on vacation when you posted this comment and only just saw it. I did ask the person listed as the contact on the Secretary of State's website, Kate Freeland, and she said the company that signed the purchase agreement, Educational Ventures, LLC, will not have any comment until after the sale is complete.
Charles Burress (Editor) September 24, 2012 at 02:30 AM
Jan, thanks for the information. Are you referring to Educational Ventures, LLC? Can you tell me where you found them listed with a PO Box in Carefree, AZ? Thanks
Jessie Simms November 15, 2012 at 03:42 AM
Charles - any news on who is Educational Ventures, LLC or what they intend to do with the Windrush property?
Charles Burress (Editor) November 15, 2012 at 05:22 AM
Hi Jessie, I haven't found out. I did contact the only representative of the firm that I've been able to identify, and she said the sale is now expected to close in early December and that the principals can talk after that. We published an update this past Saturday: http://patch.com/A-z0nr.
EC Mom November 15, 2012 at 05:43 AM
This is a bit off-topic, but I heard that the new Portola building at the Castro site is now estimated to be ready for students in fall 2016, another year's delay. Can anyone confirm? BTW, I think the Patch is doing a wonderful job--I get far more truly local news than I ever did by subscribing to the Contra Costa Times and other short-lived websites (remember El Cerrito Focus?). Thanks, Patch!


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