Saturday, July 10, 2010

East Ramapo board accepts bids on Hillcrest school; New Square among bidders 

Organizations affiliated with New Square filed the two highest bids to lease or purchase Hillcrest Elementary School from the East Ramapo Central School District.

If the Board of Education maintains the three bids, Congregation Yeshiva Avir Yakov is the likely winner with an offer to buy the property for $3.2 million, school board President Nathan Rothschild said Thursday.

The yeshiva also has placed a bid to lease the property, offering to sign a $2 million, five-year lease package that would start with $200,000 in 2010-11 and rise to $600,000 in year 2014-15, District Clerk Cathy Russell said.

Yeshiva Avir Yakov was issued several violations in April after firefighters arrived to an arson at the school and found that several of the doors had been illegally chained, temporarily trapping several students and untrained firefighters.

The other New Square group, ZD Realty of Monsey, offered to buy the property for $4.3 million, but its request for district financing likely rules out an agreement, Rothschild said.

ZD Realty is a longtime real estate holding company for New Square, dating to the 1950s before the village was incorporated in 1961. It owns the land planned for a poultry processing plant in the village off Route 45. It also owns the land for the old poultry plant.

New Square Deputy Mayor Israel Spitzer said Yeshiva Avir Yakov and ZD Realty operate independently and the village has no involvement in the school purchase, though he added that attaining Hillcrest would be beneficial for the community.

"We're always happy to see our students and residents attend schools and have all the necessary conveniences that allow them to get a good education," Spitzer said. "This is a good opportunity for the congregation and ZD."

The third bid, a $1.65 million proposal to purchase the property offered by the Pascack Valley Learning Center of Valley Stream, Long Island, was said not to be under serious consideration at this time.

Superintendent of Schools Ira Oustatcher said Thursday that he was disappointed with all of the offers, which he had hoped would be higher.


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