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Smithtown school district building sale delayed, attorney says

The Smithtown school district's headquarters on New York

The Smithtown school district's headquarters on New York Avenue in Smithtown, Nov. 1, 2016. Credit: Ed Betz

A lawyer for the Nashville developer in a deal to buy Smithtown Central School District’s administrative offices says the purchase has been delayed for technical reasons, but the “deal is very much alive.”

Southern Land Co.’s local attorney, Anthony Guardino, wrote in an email last week that the company had asked for and received a 30-day extension on the due diligence period during which it can back out of the agreement to buy the 13-acre New York Avenue site in downtown Smithtown.

That period would have expired Monday. Company officials requested the extension because they did not receive a property survey from the school district until just a few weeks ago, delaying verification of title.

Southern Land Co. has proposed building as many as 252 one- and two-bedroom apartments at the site, in a deal that would pay the district $14.8 million or $71,000 for each apartment. Guardino wrote that the company remains “committed to redeveloping the New York Avenue School site with luxury multi-family rental housing.”

The district is trying to consolidate its real estate in the face of falling student enrollment, officials have said. It would move its headquarters to the Nesconset Elementary School, which closed in 2012. But New York Avenue neighbors of the administrative offices have complained that the proposal is outsized for a suburban neighborhood, and about a sewer treatment plant called for in two of the developer’s preliminary site plans.

Guardino, a land use specialist with the Hauppauge law firm Farrell Fritz, said the company would host several community meetings to discuss concept plans developed “based on feedback it received from the first community meeting and meetings with the Town.”

Southern Land Co. is unlikely to file a formal site plan for several months, he said.


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