Portland Public Schools issued a response tonight to the investors seeking to purchase the school system's Lloyd District headquarters for $80 million and turn the site into a baseball stadium.
The answer? PPS wants to see if it can get a better offer.
In a letter to the Portland Diamond Project tonight, PPS Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero says the district will hold a competitive bidding process for the site.
"The Board of Education and district administration are committed to any proposed real estate transaction delivering a maximum return on the BESC property to support our mission," Guerrero writes.
That announcement throws a curveball at plans by the Portland Diamond Project—investors led by a former Nike executive and a former Trail Blazers play-by-play announcer, among others—to turn purchase the Lloyd District site for a Major League Baseball stadium.
Earlier this month, the Diamond Project announced it had placed formal bids on two potential stadium sites: the PPS headquarters, and the former ESCO foundry in Industrial Northwest Portland.
The group offered PPS $80 million, well below the property's value, but also floated a land swap—offering to give the district property along Southeast 82nd Avenue for a new headquarters.
Guerrero's letter tonight sounds a wary note about that offer.
"Such a transaction would also require a significant effort to relocate PPS's CentralOffice," he writes. "Therefore, as a District, we would consider a new location based on is centrality, accessibility and one that meets continuity of services of core functions."
Update, 7:23 pm: Portland Diamond Project managing partner and spokesman Mike Barrett issued a one-sentence statement in response to the letter.
"We welcome the process," Barrett said, "and look forward to being a good partner."