Landlord calls $600K school properties ‘bad investment’ for Middletown

One Middletown landlord questioned why City Council would be interested in purchasing several properties from Middletown City Schools.

Dan Tracy said instead of spending $600,000 on the four properties, the city should allocate that money to repair the streets that have “a lot more needs.” He said if there are people interested in buying the properties, the city should step aside.

“Let the investors do the investing,” Tracy said during public comments at last week’s City Council meeting. “The city doesn’t need to get back into real estate. Let the school board sell to a buyer. The city runs the city. It’s not in the real estate business.”

The district had the properties appraised at $755,000 and is selling them to the city for $155,000 less than that value, according to Susan Cohen, acting city manager. All of the property appraisals were conducted on April 29, 2019.

Tracy agreed with buying the former Vail Middle School property for $200,000, but called buying all four properties “a really bad investment” for Middletown taxpayers.

“Don’t spend that type on money on speculation,” Tracy said days after the meeting.

Over the years, the city has purchased and owned several properties, some of which have been sold, demolished, scheduled to be demolished or remain vacant.

At its Feb. 4 meting, council will consider purchasing 26.45 acres of property from the Middletown Board of Education that can be used for future redevelopment.

Cohen said the property where the former Middletown Middle School, also formerly Vail Middle School, was located on Girard Avenue is immediately usable as a part of the Oakland Historic Redevelopment Project.

The site has 10.04 acres on two tracts at 1414 Girard Ave. The site was appraised at $255,000 according to the school district. The district put the sale price at $200,000.

Cohen said the remaining properties will be offered as part of redevelopment efforts in attempt to attract additional economic development opportunities.

Those properties include:

• The former Jefferson School site at 800 Charles St., which has 2.85 acres and was appraised at $70,000. The district is asking $56,000 for the property.

• The former Garfield School site at Yankee Road and Cherry Street, which has 3.6 acres and was appraised at $90,000. The sale price was listed at $72,000.

• The former Oneida School site at 2717 Yankee Road, which has 9.96 acres and was appraised at $340,000. The sale price is $272,000.

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