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Glen Cove votes to sell Coles School to a nonprofit for $2.1M

A view through the front door of the

A view through the front door of the long-vacant Coles School in Glen Cove on Feb. 19, 2015. Credit: Barry Sloan

A nonprofit school for children with language-related disabilities will take over the shuttered Coles School in Glen Cove, under an agreement the city council recently approved.

Tiegerman schools, which currently runs an elementary school in Glen Cove and middle and high schools in Queens, will pay $2.1 million for Coles.

Before the 4-2 vote last Thursday, critics questioned the “low” sale price and the loss of a city-owned property.

The city had spent several years reviewing other proposals for the school, including apartments, a sports academy and a center for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

At the council meeting, Councilman Joseph Capobianco said he “could think of no better use” for Coles than Tiegerman, most of whose students are autistic and have difficulties communicating.

“Having gone to Coles School, I am overjoyed it’s remaining as an educational institution,” he said.

Former Councilman Steve Gonzalez, who has a son enrolled in Tiegerman’s, praised the nonprofit.

“They have been a pillar of the community, and my wife and I have truly, truly enjoyed my son’s progress,” he said.

But Drew Lawrence, a former member of the zoning board and the Community Development Agency board, said he was concerned that, by selling the school to a nonprofit, the city would not receive tax revenue for the property. He also questioned why the price “would be so low” when Nassau County assessment records list the fair market value as $8,573,300.

Mayor Reginald Spinello said Friday that, according to a city-requested appraisal, the value of the property as a school is $2.35 million, and that the county assessment figure would be for commercial and residential development that many residents would oppose.

City Attorney Charles McQuair said that in addition to buying the school, Tiegerman will have to pay for extensive renovations, such as new plumbing and asbestos removal.

“Every single system in this building needs to be replaced, and it needs to be replaced for millions and millions of dollars,” he said.

Tiegerman’s Garden City attorney, Brad Gerstman, said Friday Tiegerman estimates renovation costs at $3.1 million.

The agreement approved Thursday allows Tiegerman to cancel the sale at any time in the next year. That is to give the nonprofit time for inspections of the building and city approvals, McQuair said.

Councilmen Efraim Spagnoletti and Roderick Watson voted no, saying they wanted the school to remain in city hands.

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