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Lindenhurst district seeks to sell or lease shuttered elementary 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

A real estate agent hired by the Lindenhurst school district to market a shuttered elementary school told residents that he's casting a wide net and is open to either leasing or selling the property.

The Edward W. Bower Elementary School on Montauk Highway was closed in June 2011 and since then has been rented out to several groups. However, revenue has decreased while building maintenance costs have increased and the district expects to spend nearly $106,000 on the building this year.

John Pujia, senior director for Plainview realtors Greiner Maltz, told residents at a workshop last week that the company has 14,000 contacts and Bower is already being marketed. "You want to get everybody, cause everybody knows somebody else," he said.

Greiner Maltz has handled several school sales on Long Island, Pujia said, including ones in Lawrence and Seaford. The company obtained buyers for a Syosset school, he said, but talks collapsed and they are no longer working for that district.

Last year, the Lindenhurst board of education hired Islip real estate agent Jamie Winkler, who received five offers for Bower ranging from $2.8 million to $5.2 million. However, when developers -- who largely wanted to use the site for senior housing -- approached village officials, there was no further progression.

Pujia, whose company replaced Winkler, estimated the value of the property at $5 million to $7 million. He said his company had consulted with the village and both are "uncommitted as to what goes there. We don't want to limit ourselves."

However, Pujia noted that senior housing or high-density housing would be a "tremendous plus for the village" by generating needed tax revenue and would be "a very good fit."

A sale needs voter approval. Pujia told residents the marketing process would likely take "nine months just to get the kind of exposure you need" and one to three years before plans are finalized.

Greiner Maltz is working on commission, said district spokeswoman Alison DeMaria. The agency will receive 5 percent of the sale price or 6 percent for each of the first three years of a lease and 3 percent for each year thereafter of the aggregate rental.

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