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Dec 31, 2018 10:25 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

With CDCH Building, East Hampton Sees Opportunity And Challenges

East Hampton Town will purhcase the former Child Development Center of the Hamptons building this winter is now trying to find a new
Dec 31, 2018 12:58 PM

The East Hampton Town Board last week approved an $800,000 bond to purchase the former Child Development Center of the Hamptons building in Wainscott.

Now, the board just has to figure out what to do with it.

At 22,000 square feet, the former school building will soon be one of the largest the town owns—which presents both a grand opportunity and a potentially costly and complicated burden.

The town will borrow the $800,000 it is paying to buy the former school building for students with special needs out of foreclosure, paying back the loan over the next 25 years. Town officials have highlighted that they are getting a great deal, paying only about a third of what the building was appraised at just two years ago.

But they have also said that they are eager to find a “cornerstone” tenant who will be able to offset the costs of paying off the loan and any improvements that need to be made to the structure before it is occupied again, as well as to be able to manage what is foreseen to be a multi-faceted use of the building going forward.

Because the building sits on public land, any use of the building will have to be of a not-for-profit or community-oriented nature. With 25 years to pay off the loans, the annual debt service will be less than $50,000 a year, so rent at the building will not be expensive. But there are also likely some structural improvements that will need to be made to the 18-year-old building, both before it is occupied again, for the first time in three years, and in the foreseeable future.

Town Board members have said they think there are a number of nonprofit groups that would be eager to make use of space in the building and would be willing to cover some of the capital expenses and debt service in exchange for a new home.

“The building lends itself to a very broad number of uses,” Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said at a recent board discussion of the building’s future. “It has a day care center … with a playground and a fenced area. It has classrooms. It’s a freestanding steel structure with modular partitions that can pretty easily be reassembled in different configurations.

“I think it will be better to have an organization that would independently manage that building for greater public benefit,” he added. “One that has the strength and wherewithal to be able to manage it.”

Councilman David Lys pointed to the Montauk Playhouse, which is owned by the town and run by a nonprofit group while leasing space out for a broad variety of activities, as a model for how the CDCH building could be utilized.

“There’s a shared kitchen, day care, senior day care, physiotherapy, open gym space, a clerk’s annex,” he said of the Playhouse. “That’s a busy building right now.”

Councilman Jeff Bragman agreed, adding that he thinks the town should consider keeping control of at least a portion of the building to possibly expand town-sponsored activities for senior citizens and youths.

To kick off the search for new tenants, the town will put out a request for proposals from the public later this month. Councilwoman Sylvia Overby noted that how that RFP is worded will be an important steering mechanism.

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How about the food pantry? They're a non-profit who should have some money in the budget after occupying town offices rent free for years. Some of our Senior services should move in there as well and it will all tie in nicely.
By BonacPlague (11), Gansett on Dec 31, 18 12:29 PM
I believe the Town investigating purchasing this property as the new Senior Center but determined the cost of modifications and the location of the building were not a good fit which is why they are supposedly going to remodel and add on to the existing Senior Center on Springs Fireplace Road.
By Rich Morey (368), East Hampton on Dec 31, 18 3:12 PM
A non profit
Hospice facility is needed and would work there.
By jameshoge (6), Southampton on Dec 31, 18 4:47 PM
1 member liked this comment
How about adding a kidney dialysis center. There are literally NONE past Southampton hospital.
By localEH (418), East Hampton on Dec 31, 18 7:37 PM
Wait, you spend almost a million bucks on a a property and then have no idea what you are doing with it? No plan. No reason; just spend money. What a way to waste tax payer money, time and again demonstrate the incompetence and gross ineptitude of the East Hampton Town Board. "$800,000 bucks...no problem...it isn't our money". Clowns.
By Preliator Lives (423), Obamavillie on Jan 3, 19 1:08 PM
The Hampton Classic, Horse Show, Bridgehampton