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Vacant Lemoyne Middle School sold for $450K to CAEDC affiliate

This article was published on CPBJ.com on February 16, 2017.

School directors in the West Shore School District on Thursday voted 7-0 to sell its former Lemoyne Middle School building.

The buyer is the Real Estate Collaborative LLC, an affiliate set up last year by the Cumberland Area Economic Development Corp. to help private developers break down barriers to redevelopment, including demolition and rezoning of underused, vacant and brownfield sites.

The collaborative, known as REC, submitted a letter of intent to take control of the Market Street property from the school district. The sale price is $450,000.

The district closed the school at the end of the 2012-13 school year in an effort to cut costs.

Jonathan Bowser, CEO at CAEDC, said the plan is to acquire the site for future mixed-use redevelopment. CAEDC has talked to multiple investors who are interested in the site for a mix of retail, office and market-rate rental housing, he said.

But the REC would have to persuade the borough to rezone the property to accommodate a large number of apartments, Bowser said. The current ordinance only permits four units per building.

He believes the site could probably house four or five buildings and up to 100 apartments, along with other uses.

The former school facility would likely be demolished, he said, but a feasibility study would need to be done to determine the best plan for the site. The organization would look to apply for state economic development programs to help offset remediation costs.

Bowser said he is hopeful the REC will close on the property by the end of the year. Construction would depend on the partnership arrangement with a developer, the funding package and local approvals of a plan.

Ideally, Bowser said he would like to see site work begin by the end of 2018 and have vertical construction on new buildings going by 2019 or 2020.

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