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Long Branch Theater Agrees To Buy West End School At Reduced Price

LONG BRANCH: It now appears that the West End School will finally be sold to New Jersey Repertory Company on May 2, according to a resolution passed by the Long Branch Board of Education (BOE) at its March 23 meeting.

The school district entered into a purchase and sale agreement on March 31, 2015 for a price of $2.25 million and later amended the purchase price to $2.15 million after NJ Rep performed its due diligence.

Now the price has been reduced to $2,077,500 "based in part on the vicissitudes on the ongoing litigation."

The litigation referred to in the resolution is one brought upon the city by local attorney Scott Kelly stating that the city used "spot zoning" when creating the overlay district where the West End School is located. That lawsuit is still being decided in the courts and has clouded some of the future planned developments in the zone because it states that the city should not be allowed to approve any applications for projects in the affected zoning area and that ordinance allowing it be deemed "illegal, invalid, void, unenforceable and a nullity."

NJ Rep received approval to build a West End Performing Arts Center at the site of the West End School in December, 2015 from Long Branch Planning Board.

The resolution passed by the BOE also states that NJ Rep will also have waive all rights for any further inspection of the school. The BOE Will also determine what maintenance issues it will agree to correct at the school prior to its sale on May 2.

Long Branch School District Superintendent Michael Salvatore has said the funds from the sale of the school will be designated for tax relief and the reconstruction of the old Long Branch High School. Officials hope to use the old high school to house the district's alternative education program for 124 students with behavioral problems and learning disabilities. The district is currently holding its alternative education program at the Audrey W. Clark School after moving from rented space at Holy Trinity.

The sale of the West End School fell apart in early 2015 when Menachem Learning Institute, also known as Chabad of the Shore, and the district was told Chabad's lending institution disagreed with the property assessment. Chabad of the Shore's appraisal of the property was lower than the $3.3 million it had agreed to purchase the school for in January, officials said.

Later, the district unsuccessfully attempted to sell the school in mid-2014 after it received no bids. The district had contemplated putting the school out for auction as it did for the Church Street School, but ultimately decided to try the bidding process once again.

Read more from: Long Branch

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