No Deal – Sale of Mary Innes School falls through


The purchase of Dillon School District #10’s Mary Innes Building by a California retirement fund run by Dr. John Micha collapsed on Friday.

Micha, who had six months to inspect the building and gauge renovation costs as part of the $300,000 purchase agreement he reached late last year, informed #SD 10 he was exercising his option to negate the deal due to higher than anticipated costs to renovate and maintain the property, which was built in the 1920s.

“We have spent nearly six months thoroughly analyzing the financial viability of moving forward with the purchase of the Mary Innes School property,” Micha wrote in a June 14 letter to School District #10 Superintendant Dr. Glen Johnson, who distributed the letter to the SD #10 Board of Trustees at their Monday, June 17 meeting.

“Upon completion of our comprehensive investigation and review and evaluation, we have determined that we are not satisfied that we can generate adequate revenues to support the purchase, necessary improvements and ongoing operating expenses for this property.

“Consistent with the contingencies contained in the executed purchase agreement on this property, we respectfully inform you that we hereby cancel the purchase agreement.”

Effects of the deal’s collapse were felt almost immediately, as the SD #10 Board was forced on Monday to consider new financing options for the Cottom Street Project, which is scheduled to start next week on the roadways and sidewalks around the SD #10 campus.

Instead of using all or part of the Mary Innes proceeds as a down payment on the funds that SD #10 needs to complete the Cottom Street Project, SD #10 will now likely borrow the money, with the help of the City of Dillon, which has already set up a Special Improvement District for the project.

SD #10 will continue to lease space in the Mary Innes building to current tenants Great Divide and Stepping Stones Preschool & Drop-In Daycare.

“We are still landlords,” Johnson told the SD #10 Board.

But after appearing so imminent that the SD #10 Board spent much of its previous meeting discussing how best to use the anticipated $300,000 in proceeds from its sale, the Mary Innes seems unlikely to sell anytime soon with the pullout of Micha.

On behalf of the pension fund he set up to serve the dozens of employees of his gynecologic oncology practice, Micha has purchased several other older buildings in Dillon, including the Dillon Implement building on N. Idaho St. that now provides a home for the Mountain Springs Art Center and Andrus Plaza (aka the Dilmart building).

According to Chip Rule, the local realtor who has represented Micha in his Dillon real estate purchases, Micha established a million-dollar renovation budget for the Dillon Implement building and Andrus Plaza, parts of which had to be raised three inches to stabilize the structure.

But the prospect of renovating the Mary Innes School apparently proved too daunting and expensive, even for Micha.