Editor's note: This article has been updated to include Johnstone's estimated costs of repair to the property she wants to buy.
Alyssa Johnstone’s dream of opening an early learning center on the Key Peninsula faced a temporary setback at the KP Fire District Board of Commissioners meeting Jan. 23.
The five commissioners unanimously rejected an undisclosed offer from Johnstone, a local mother and daycare manager who wants to buy the vacant O’Callahan’s building in Key Center to turn it into an early learning and daycare center.
Board chairman Randy Takehara said the reasoning was to ensure getting a fair market value price for the property, emphasizing the board’s responsibility to make decisions that align with the best interest of taxpayers. He said the amount offered is confidential.
The KP Fire District bought the parcel in 2021 for $950,000 with the intent of using it and the land behind it (purchased separately) for a new headquarters, training facility, community rooms, and a health clinic.
Johnstone was not surprised and called it “all part of negotiations and is the regular of trajectory of things when buying commercial real estate.” She hopes to finish negotiations within the next month and remains determined to bring her vision for the building to life.
“I’m very hopeful and will continue to pursue this property,” Johnstone said. “(Regardless of the outcome) I will absolutely be bringing childcare to the Key Peninsula.”
Johnstone gave a PowerPoint presentation during Tuesday’s board meeting detailing her vision for the program, her qualifications, and her estimated costs of repairing the building. This included $150,000 for roof repair, $50,000 for the alarm and fire systems, $15,000 for HVAC, $7,000 for septic, and what she called "a facelift and parking lot overhaul."
The commissioners went into a 15-minute closed-door executive session to discuss the offer. Her proposal was voted down in the public forum immediately after.
Takehara clarified the board’s decision was not a reflection of Johnstone personally, praising her presentation and suitability for the community. The district remains open to other offers, and the commissioners have yet to decide when or if they will sell the building on the open market.
Johnstone does not know whether she will make another offer in the next 30 days but made it clear the commissioners have not seen the last of her.
“The amount of outreach I have received (from the KP community) only solidified in my heart that this is where my efforts are meant to be spent.”
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