Proponents of the sale thought the $12.5 million would help the school district in the short term. With the property going back on the tax rolls, it was an estimated that $1 million in annual property taxes would be generated of which nearly 70 percent would benefit the district. Some residents thought the medical center would have been an asset to the community, while possibly sparking an economic revival of a troubled commercial strip in the immediate area.
“I live two blocks away and look forward to seeing the property being put back to active use instead of seeing it sit empty and deteriorate year after year while the district fights over this,” said Cedarhurst resident Annmarie Smith, who voted for the sale.
The school has been closed since March of 2009. The district hired Plainview-based Greiner-Maltz last year to market the property. They collected the bids which were reviewed by Board of Education trustees who comprised the real estate committee. The board entered into an agreement with Simone on Jan. 14 to sell the property. Should the board continue pursuing the sale of the site, the process begins all over again.
Kaufman said that Greiner-Maltz will be hired again to market the property. “We will continue to look for the best buyer and a responsible buyer,” Kaufman said, adding that the real estate committee has yet to schedule a meeting.
Benjamin Weinstock, the attorney representing Simone, said that residents’ concerns about a potential increase in traffic and loss of open space have been heard. “Despite the outcome of the referendum regarding the Number Six School property, Simone Development and the Icahn Medical School of Medicine at Mount Sinai remain committed to providing coordinated outpatient care to the residents of the Five Towns community. We will look for an alternative site within the Five Towns,” he said.