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Self-storage facility proposed for old Lindenhurst school site

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

Representatives for a self-storage company received mixed reactions from residents Wednesday night after making their pitch for developing a shuttered elementary school in Lindenhurst.

Simply Self Storage, an Orlando, Fla.-based company, was the fourth development offer made for the Edward W. Bower Elementary School on Montauk Highway, which was closed in 2011 because of the building's age and declining enrollment. The property costs the district more than $100,000 a year to maintain.

The company is proposing to demolish the school and in its place build a three-story, 200,000-square-foot self-storage facility on 21/2 acres for $5 million. There would be roughly 1,400 interior units in the building, averaging 100 square feet each, according to company district manager John Hirschfeld.

The company has offered to give back to the school district 11/2 acres of athletic fields on the property. It has also proposed giving back land to make the two one-way streets on either side of the property two-way. The board has said that two or three teams would be displaced if the fields are redeveloped, and nearby residents have said two-way streets are necessary for any redevelopment.

"What we tried to do is have it be a little similar to what you're used to," Hirschfeld said. "We want to be a part of the community."

The district has received three other offers for the property ranging from $5.5 million to $6 million: senior condo units, multifamily rental units and a day care center.

Several residents said they favored Simply Self Storage because of the four offers, it would have the least impact on the school district, emergency services and other community resources. However others questioned whether the company would get the variances it needs, such as for the height, and whether the village could afford to make the side streets two-way. Hirschfeld said that without the height variance, they would build out and only give three-quarters of an acre of fields back. He said the company could operate with the existing one-way streets. Village officials said each of the four proposals would need some kind of variance.

On Wednesday, the board of education will vote on whether to sell the property and if so, to whom. A future public referendum will be held on any potential sale. The vote by the board will take place at 8 p.m. at the Lindenhurst High School.

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