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Lindenhurst BOE gets new $5M offer for shuttered school

The Edward W. Bower Elementary School on Montauk

The Edward W. Bower Elementary School on Montauk Highway was closed in June 2011. Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

The Lindenhurst board of education has received an unexpected new offer to buy a shuttered elementary school less than two weeks before the board is due to decide the property's fate.

The Edward W. Bower Elementary School on Montauk Highway has been on the market for much of the past two years after being closed in 2011 because of the building's age and declining enrollment.

Last week, board president Donna Hochman received a $5 million offer, which would include demolishing the school and building a three-story, 200,000-square-foot storage facility in its place. The bidder is Simply Self Storage, a national company based in Orlando, Florida, that has 175 storage facilities nationwide, but only one in New York State, in Bayport.

Tom Attivissimo, chief executive of Greiner-Maltz, the Plainview real estate firm hired by the district to market the property, said that as part of the deal, Simply Self Storage would give back to the district the athletic fields around the school. The company would also construct two-way roads on either side of the property in place of the existing one-way streets, Pecan and Walnut. He said the facility's ingress and egress would be at the rear instead of from busy Montauk Highway. Residents who live near the school have expressed concerns about the potential loss of the fields and increased traffic.

While the facility's footprint would be similar to the school's, the storage facility would need a height variance from the village, Hochman said.

Three other offers have been received in recent months:

The Engel Burman Group, of Garden City, is offering $5.5 million to build 99 units of senior housing to be sold for about $400,000 each;

Mill Creek Residential, of Dallas, is offering $6 million for 150 multifamily rental units;

Blumenfeld Development Group, of Syosset, working for Children's Learning Adventure of Arizona, is offering $6 million to build a child care and day care center.

Attivissimo, who said his company continues to market the property, said Simply Self Storage will make a presentation to residents Wednesday at 8:15 p.m. at the McKenna Administration Building.

Hochman has said the board is divided over what to do with the school, which costs the district more than $100,000 a year to maintain. The board will vote next week on whether to sell the property and if so, to which developer. A public referendum must be held on any potential sale.

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