Principal Dave Laurance said he expects construction to start next year. "The plan is to do half of the project in the summer of 2013 and the other half in the summer of 2014," he told the Almanac.
The contract would let the city buy back the land for the purchase price if a new school "is not substantially completed" within five years, and also gives Menlo Park the right of first refusal should the school decide to sell the land for a non-educational use.
Habitat for Humanity planned to build 22 affordable homes on the parcel since 2001, but the nonprofit pulled the plug on the development after 10 years of community opposition and financial difficulties.
Councilman Rich Cline noted during the meeting that he didn't want to make a habit of selling city property, when it could be used for affordable housing, but that these were exceptional circumstances.
The final vote to approve the sale is scheduled for the April 17 council meeting to give the public a chance to protest.
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