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Auction Of Star Of The Sea School Nets Long Branch School District Over $700,000

LONG BRANCH: After several attempts, the Long Branch School District appears to have finally found a buyer for the Star of the Sea Lyceum School.

The vacant building, located on the corner of Third and Chelsea Avenue was put up for auction on July 28 with Douglas Development Corp. coming out as the highest bidder.

Long Branch School District Superintendent Michael Salvatore said the minimum bid for the property was set at $825,000, but none of the potential buyers present would bid that high of an amount. Salvatore said the district settled for a sale price of $700,000 with no contingencies as "all the zoning and environmental issues have been disclosed."

The Long Branch Board of Education voted to approve the sale of the school during its Aug. 19 meeting for $770,000, which includes the auctioneer's fee. Board member Armand Zambrano was the one not to vote in the affirmative for the sale.

Salvatore said the district could close on the sale of the school in the next 30-60 days as the developer now simple has to "tie up some financial ends."

He said the developer will likely turn the property into some form of housing, but that he was not sure exactly what it would be. Douglas Development Corp. also purchased the Church Street School under the name Jemals Church Street LLC with the intention of reusing the building for residential development.

The family behind Jemals, Salvatore has said, is associated with a 9-million-square-foot portfolio, much of which is the renovation of historic properties in the Washington, D.C. area such as the Wonder Bread Factory, Woodies Building and the Coliseum.

Douglas Jemal, currently has two historic buildings from the former Takanassee Beach Club site at his home at 900 Ocean Ave., Long Branch. He is restoring the Captain's House from the 1870s and the 1903 Port Huron House.

The Star of the Sea School previously served as an elementary school for the Star of the Sea Church, until it was closed in 1986 for lack of attendance. The Long Branch Board of Education (BOE) purchased the property in 1994. It was built in 1900 and has many modern amenities including and auditorium and gym.


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