Middletown could buy former school property for redevelopment project

Middletown City Council will consider the purchase of 26.45 acres of surplus property from the Middletown Board of Education that can be used for future redevelopment.

Acting City Manager Susan Cohen in her staff report dated Jan. 12, said the city was approached by the Middletown City Schools about selling the properties for $600,000 so that they could be used for potential redevelopment projects. All of the property appraisals were conducted on April 29, 2019.

“Each tract of property has been recently appraised, and the requested sale price is less than the appraised value,” Cohen said. “We believe these prices reflect the school district’s last and best offer for sale.”

She said the property where the former Middletown Middle School, also known as the Vail Middle School, was located on Girard Avenue “is immediately usable as a part of the Oakland Historic Redevelopment Project.” The school district had to wait for the state sign off on the new school construction before it could put the property up for sale.

The former middle school site has a total of 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.

The five-phase project for the Oakland Renaissance Incentive District is designed to revitalize the entire neighborhood, attract new residents and expand the tax base.

The developers and city officials are proposing new housing that could include new three-bedroom loft homes and three-to four-bedroom townhouses, condominiums and row-houses ranging from 1,500 to 2,400 square feet on the former middle school site.

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.

Cohen said the $600,000 will need to be appropriated from previously unbudgeted funds.

Council will hear a first reading on the ordinance at its Tuesday meeting and approve the ordinance as an emergency at its Feb. 4 meeting so that it can take immediate effect and enable the city and developers to meet deadlines for Oakland Redevelopment Project, she said.

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