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Lindenhurst school district gets 4 developers' offers for Bower Elementary

A for-sale sign is up on the Edward

A for-sale sign is up on the Edward Bower Elementary School on West Montauk Highway in Lindenhurst. The asking price is $6.499 million for the building and adjacent fields. (Oct. 31, 2013) Credit: Steve Pfost

The Lindenhurst Board of Education has received offers from developers for a shuttered elementary school.

The offers for Edward W. Bower Elementary School were unveiled during a presentation to the board last week by Jamie Winkler, whose Islip-based real estate company, Winkler Real Estate, was directed by the district in November to seek out buyers.

The 55,000-square-foot school on Montauk Highway had the district's lowest enrollment when it was closed in June 2011. Since then, a handful of groups have leased the building, but maintenance costs continue to rise, officials said. This year, the district expects to spend $210,837 on the building, while receiving $51,460 from a church and day care center using it. The nearly 5-acre property includes 2.25 acres of athletic fields used by school and community teams.

Officials did not identify the developers. The offers are: $2.8 million, with the developer converting the building to senior rentals and giving back 1 1/2 acres of the fields to the district; $3 million, with the developer converting the building to market-rate rental units and giving back a similar amount of field acreage; $3.5 million, with the developer converting the building to senior rentals and giving back 2 acres for field use; and $3 million, with the developer knocking down the building and constructing senior condos, giving back 3.22 acres. Also offered was $5.2 million for the entire parcel.

The possible sale is the third of its kind under consideration on Long Island in the past two weeks. The Island Trees school district in Levittown and the Seaford school district also are debating whether to sell vacant or underused school properties for senior housing developments.

Voter approval is necessary for the Lindenhurst sale, school officials said. The conversion of the property is also subject to village approval, and Winkler said she will meet with planning officials. Board president Donna Hochman said the board will examine how much of the field use is by school teams versus community teams. Attorneys for the district have advised placing some money from a sale into reserve funds for capital projects or repairs within the district. Money also would have to be placed into an escrow account to pay off $1.6 million in outstanding debt attached to Bower.

Some residents questioned whether seniors would want to live adjacent to athletic fields.

"I don't think this scenario has existed so far," Winkler said, adding that the need for senior rentals on Long Island is "extreme."


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