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Condo Proposal Pitched For Seaford Avenue School Property

The Engel Burman Group makes $3.4 million offer for 5.6 acre land.

The first formal offer to purchase the former Seaford Avenue School property has been made.

The Engel Burman Group has offered to buy the 5.6-acre property for $3.4 million and construct 113 condo units. Scott Burman, a partner for the Garden City-based developer, delivered a short presentation about its vision for the property at Thursday evening’s Board of Education meeting at .

Burman said the multi-family housing proposal would generate roughly $800,000 a year in taxes including around $500,000 for the Seaford School District. He said the property is more ideal for multi-family housing than assisted living since it is not located in a commercial area.

"When we build assisted living we typically like to look for very high-traffic locations almost like a retail location and I'm just not quite sure this fits that profile," Burman said. "I do though think its perfect for some multi-family housing."

The developer’s Seasons at East Meadow project currently under construction, which is designed for homeowners age 55 and older, was described by Burman as being similar to what they envision for Seaford.

The former elementary school is being marketed for sale by Woodbury-based Greiner-Maltz, which was this past June by the Seaford Board of Education as the commercial real estate firm best suited to help determine the property's future. After closing in 1981, the 1939-built Seaford Avenue School building served as the home of Five Towns College and most recently Nassau BOCES until its lease expired last year. The property was last appraised at $4 million in 2005.

Any proposal for the Seaford Avenue School would need to be approved by voters in a referendum. Seaford Board of Education president Brian Fagan said after Thursday’s meeting there is no timetable for making a recommendation on a plan to head to voters.

Late last year, the Seaford School District issued a community input that 643 district residents responded to on what to do with the former elementary school. The survey showed strong opposition to many options for the property, but did indicate support for maintaining the three youth baseball fields on the land.

Joe January 06, 2012 at 04:36 PM
OK split it down the middle, 3.7 mil, over 55 housing. SOLD!
Chris Wendt January 06, 2012 at 05:42 PM
The sale of this property is vital to the Seaford School District. Time is of the essence to accomplish a meaningful transaction. I am amazed at the paucity of public information about this process, however. The only thing for certain is the sale must be approved by voters. Being zoned for a school there are almost no options for future use that do not require re-zoning, and some options would require additional special permits. Re-zoning is neither quick nor a simple process, but affords due process for neighbors of the property. Allowable uses of the proceeds (money) from the sale should also be discussed by the school board so everyone is aware of the options and the potential or limits of the economic benefit, especially to taxpayers. There needs to be a timetable, with the next date to be a closing date to submit proposals. Seaford really needs cash from this property, so that date should not be too far in the future. Proposals should include concepts and monetary offers, but should be sequestered until the closing date. Stirring-up the community by piecemeal release of one proposal at a time is poor marketing in my opinion. It is also akin to bid-rigging, and could easily be misconstrued.
Lorraine DeVita January 07, 2012 at 04:55 AM
Chris, You really recommend and expect open disclosure, planning, forsight and due dilligence.?. Did you forget you ARE talking about Seaford? As for the discussion by the board regarding financial options. lmao..ANY discussion regarding financials is extremly "entertaining: for lack of a better word.and directed to.our Asst Sup of business who has a way wth words that defies logic and borders on comedic. You should attend THAT meeting ( IF it ever happens) people need to see it first hand to appreciate it. While you drive home to Wantagh you can and will say" there by the grace of god, a few blocks and another zip code etc etc. "
Chris Wendt January 08, 2012 at 01:40 AM
Concerning the admittedly non-scientific poll: In this instance, what will be eventually develop there will be what a developer with funding intends to build. Exactly what it will be limited of course by zoning laws, which presently only allow its use as a school. Changing zoning will require some degree of acceding to the development plan by the immediate neighbors of the property. For a developer to put his capital at risk, there will have to be an expected return on investment (ROI), as could be reasonably expected from housing, including an assisted living facility. An athletic facility would not profer a good ROI, and there is a glut of vacant office space all over the Island, so not much ROI potential in that. Single family homes, while in character with the neighborhood, will likely increase the enrollment and future costs to the district to educate additional children. Condos could be age-restricted (55+) to reduce future cost impact on the district, and because of higher density have the highest potential ROI among the realistic choices presented. Leasing the building would be folly. You've been there, done that, twice already. The building is seriously advanced in its age now, a huge potential for future costs to the district.
Wayne Smith January 08, 2012 at 10:17 AM
For whatever this is worth, I didn't walk away from this presentation with the impression that the intention was to impose a residency age restriction. Not that that's necessarily off the table of course, but I don't know that it's a given. They did make a reference to the Bristol facility, and they actuallly had renderings of those buildings, but I took that reference to be an indication of the type of physical structures they would be building and not anything else. It should be noted that this was a quick, informal presentation - no handouts, no opportunities for direct questioning from the audience - so opportunities for misinterpretation abound.
Chris Wendt January 08, 2012 at 11:41 AM
You have touched on some reasons why such proposals should be sequestered until a fixed date and time. Lack of complete scope, potential for misinterpretation, and no opportunity for questions from the public. There appear to be two potential conflicts with NYS Public Officers Law and other regulations going on. If the reason questions were not allowed is because the Board had not seen the proposal before the meeting, then it might be understandable. The likelihood of that being the case is probably nil. I mentioned the piecemeal revelation of proposals being akin to bid rigging. Look at what is happening. "The property was last appraised at $4 million in 2005" (ibid). Most recently, Greiner-Maltz' senior director valued the potential sale at $5 Million. (http://wantagh.patch.com/articles/real-estate-firm-selected-to-help-market-seaford-avenue-school-property). Yet the first "offer" came in at only $3.4 million (ibid). Going public with a sub-par offer makes it possible for any other contender to beat both the appraised and estimated value of the sale, by lowering the bar from $5 million or $4 million, to $3.4 million! In my opinion, that is foolish, if not outright illegal. Paragraph h. of Section 105 of Article 7 of the Public Officers Law recognizes the need for confidentiality to be applied to "h. the proposed acquisition, sale or lease of real property". Where is the Request for Proposals for this property with a due date and an upset price?
Lorraine DeVita January 08, 2012 at 11:59 AM
My question is this? Where are the esteemed attornys for the district in all this and if what you say is true and applicable in this instance then why arent the SD's attorneys advising the how to proceed. Preventing both the Admin & Board from following down a path that may prove to be either litigious or cause the district to be unable to obtain optimum value for the property. Once again, when you dont know something you better damn well make sure the people working for you do.. so let me ask this again, WHERE are the attoreys for the district and why arent they advising them.. AND BTW Chris , the Board VERY rarely reviews information prior to a workshop meeting.. they are usually hit cold with it ,which is why there are typically no comments solicited from the audience.. becasue they dont have answers..VERY unproductive and unfortunately the NORM. THIS is how it is done in Seaford and has been done fo years. I doubt very strongly any of them know proper protocol
Wayne Smith January 08, 2012 at 12:41 PM
This did truly seem to be an impromptu presentation. In other words, I got the sense that the Board was hearing much of this for the first time themselves, particularly with regard to the fact that the development company was not moving in the direction of an assisted living facility. I would emphasize that this is purely my own inference.
Chris Wendt January 08, 2012 at 01:51 PM
That is possible. However and to my question, where is the RFP with a closing date for proposals and an upset price? If there is an RFP, then the Board would have known about it and its details, and would/should have stopped any impromptu presentation from happening at a public meeting. "We have an RFP which specifies the date, time, and place for submitting all proposals, along with the upset price. Please submit your proposal in accordance with the RFP. It would not be proper for us to receive any proposal at a public meeting." Of course, the place for submitting proposals should be to the attention of the Director of the Greiner-Maltz office in Plainview, not to the Board of Education at the Manor School in Seaford. The consultant, Greiner-Maltz, should be qualifying any proposal received, and they should brief the Board once all proposals have been opened, after the specified due date. It would then be up to the Board to select one or more valid, qualified proposals and schedule a public vetting after the RFP submission/closing date has passed. The Board could also reject all proposals, if none met the upset price or any realistic re-zoning outcome.
Lorraine DeVita January 08, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Chris, typically in commerical RE there are no RFP's and much like residential RE, unless there is a specified date where multiple BIDs will be entertained it is usually "does the seller want to entertain and counter the buyers offer." GM was only hired to promote the property NOT to negotiate or handle any of the typical "sales cycle & negotiation etc" this is being done by the esteemed attorneys for the district. GM was basically hired to advertise the property to the commerical buyers. This was AT the recommendation and direction of the legal firm for the district if i am not mistaken. when asked what their experience was etc, what fee is being charged if any etc. I was firmly and robustly rebuffed and told that is not my concern.. so be it.. MY concern is for the percentage of monies we are paying GM THEY should have been the sellers AGENT not JUST the properties Ad agency.. Again, why would the attorneys for the district interceed and take over negotiations etc, while they may be licensed (?) i was just wondering what their level of experience and success was. However apparently WE DO NOT QUESTION .. bad bad bad bad bad.
Chris Wendt January 08, 2012 at 07:49 PM
My perspective is on the Board's fiduciary responsibility to safeguard the confidentiality of offers tendered, especially the price, regardless of who is the "broker" or agent on the district's side of the transaction. This is neither a residential nor a commercial deal when viewed from that perspective: it is a very sensitive municipal function. If, as you put it, Ingerman, Smith, et al, is managing the deal, then they should know how to handle an RFP, set an upset price, and manage the submission details properly. Did I not understand from your earlier post that Ingerman Smith (Chris Venator or any other attorney) was not even at the subject Board meeting?
Lorraine DeVita January 09, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Chris, I didnt say they or he wasnt there, i dont know if they were. I addressed my question MANY months ago when this was first discussed and got rebuked for bringing it up. I havent been to a board meeting in awhile due to scheduling conflicts with prior commitments. However I have been closely following what has been going on, have been reading the board minutes when posted and discussing in depth with people who have attended.. Ironically I just read an article on the Mineola patch where the Board and Admin has done a prelim 2012-2013 budget and have assured the community they will not go over the 2% cap. This is counterpoint to Seaford Administration telling the Board "we cant give you the numbers to work with until feb" which i mentioned previously. If districts on LI can start looking at 2012-2013 and responsibly putting numbers together i wouild appreciate if someone would ENLIGHTEN Me and the rest of the community as to WHy it is OUT of the realm of possibility that Seafords Admin and Business Sup cant do the same? .This board and the next need to take a HARD ,unbiased,educated look at the people they have and make some decisions as to whether or not the people employed by the district in key positions are the people THIS community needs to move forward successfully.
Lorraine DeVita January 09, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Perhaps i missed it but when was the last time Seaford heard fromthe board a statment of goals and action plans. We hear from the Superintendent what the educational goals are, but we havent heard from Board itself what ITS formalized goals are with action plans and time frames . What areas are THEY targeting and addressing what goals do they have , how do they plan on acheiving those goals, within what specific time frames.. The board needs to regain control, start thinking like business OWNERS and start running this District instead of the other way around.
Wayne Smith January 09, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Lorraine - I agree with the idea that there should be both short-term and medium-terms goals that are clear and quantifiable. In this regard, from time to time, I've nagged the Board for some kind of multi-year year budget forecast - something they have not wanted to do, but something that I think taxpayers deserve. Part of their hesitancy about doing something like this is for reasons I understand. Nevertheless, goals, action plans and budgets all have to be in congruence, and so starting with a multiyear budget roadmap seemed to me to be a sensible way to start the process of defining goals and creating an action plan. But what do I know? I did take note of the fact the idea of having a muti-year perspective on the budget was brought up by the Budget Advisory Committee, so maybe there's hope yet. Part of the problem is that we lurch from crisis to crisis in a reactive mode. A lot of that really can't be blamed on the board per se, but I do think you have to find a way to manage around that.
Lorraine DeVita January 10, 2012 at 11:59 AM
I can understand the reluctance of the Board to establish mid term financial goals due to the fluctuation of funding. however there is absolutely no rational reason why the Board has not and does not establish goals for the District to acheive within the realm of Management . ie Facilities- HR& Personnel-Contractual revisions and review- Technology- As the Board THEY need to establish a set of goals for Administration- One area would be consolidation of efforts and job responssibilities to reduce overall costs by a certain percentage- Holding the Administration responsible for implementation within a specific timeframe. Bascially this is what we need to accomplish, develop an action plan to implement this within x amount of time. Listing priorities ,target dates, contigencies and then hold people accountable for implementing them.. Not hard to do.. Just takes some forethought and planning .. one item that should be looked at and one which i find highly amusing is asking employees to write their own job descriptions if they evenHAVe a job description, shouldnt We be telling them what their job descriptions & responsibilities are not visa versa? Yet another example of the cart leading the blindfolded horse.
Chris Wendt January 10, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Respectfully, we, myself included, should make an effort to remain on-topic (Condo Proposal Pitched For Seaford Avenue School Property - in this case). Goals, goal-setting, board evaluations are a great topic, and a sore spot for me, too. However, that is not the topic of this thread. These threads generally have keywords associated with them as part of the posting process by the author or editor, making them easy to search or research. Changing topics is not helpful to continuity or connection with similar discussions elsewhere in time or place on Patch or on the blog-sphere.
Lorraine DeVita January 10, 2012 at 12:27 PM
point taken- so back on course- the community needs to be briefed by the Board on the process and how it is going to proceed to prevent any misinformation or incorrect conclusions from being disseminated or formed as it pertains to the sale of the Seaford Ave Property.
Wayne Smith January 10, 2012 at 12:42 PM
Chris - I don't disagree - the problem is that there are a huge number of issues bubbling away (or maybe they're festering). The editorial perogative to limit discussions is always there - and I guess the Patch has the option of doing that - doesn't mean those issues go away. By the same token, inmho, not having a venue to reasonably express what is on peoples' minds can render any thread a lot less relevant and any online publication a lot appealing to its readers and bloggers.
Wayne Smith January 10, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Just to amend my prior ocmment - the last sentence should read "...and any online publication a lot LESS appealing to its readers and bloggers."

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