Gellar: District 'Still Seeking Tenants' for Kirdahy, Westbrook

Board of Ed favors leasing out the buildings rather than selling.

The West Islip Board of Education said Tuesday night the district has yet to strike a deal with tenants for the former Kirdahy and Westbrook schools.

"The status is that we are seeking tenants," said President Steve Gellar, in response to a resident's inquiry regarding the status of the situation during the July Board of Education meeting. 

It appears the district is looking to lease the properties rather than sell, at least for the time being. When asked if the BOE is in favor of selling either building, all members shook their heads "no" with BOE Vice President Annemarie LaRosa adding, "Not at this point."

Kirdahy and Westbrook Elementary schools , following the in order to cut costs.

The properties are currently listed by West Islip-based broker Jamie Winkler, of Winkler Real Estate.

Superintendent Richard Simon was unable to provide a specific amount that Winkler would be paid if and when she secures a tenant for either property, though he did note the amount depends on several factors listed in her contract, including the length of the lease.


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Geoff Matherson July 13, 2012 at 07:29 PM
The more fiscally responsible act would be to sell one of the schools and put $Millions in the District treasury. In addition to the initial funds generated from a sale, placing the property on the tax rolls would mean additional $Milliions for the District as the property went from land value to improved value and the taxes increased accordingly. A suggestion for the property would be to sell to a developer with the caveat that the property would be used to build senior condos or apartments, or a combination, thus killing two birds with one stone...a revenue stream for the District and the ability of our seniors to stay in the town where they raised their families and have long established ties. If additional classrooms were needed in the future, beyond the one remaining school, any of the schools could be added onto, as they have in the past.
Rich July 13, 2012 at 08:38 PM
And remember with the sale of a school, the community can never get it back. That amount of land for another school will never be available again. There is no going back in 5-10 years like there is with a lease if we need the space. The school will gone, ALL of its athletic fields will be gone. And if you build onto one of the remaining schools, we will loose even more of our athletic fields. It was bad enough to close these schools and lease them for a few years. Once we sell them, they will be gone forever and the money from the sale will be gone almost as quickly.
Rich July 13, 2012 at 08:53 PM
If you want to build senior housing which is a great idea, there are more than enough vaccant decaying building around to choose from. But our schools are precious and once they are gone they can never be replaced. These two ES were just being actively used by our students only one ago. How can we assume that they wont be needed again very soon. In fact from the looks of what going on at Oquenok, we may need one of these schools very soon. Lease yes, sell NEVER.
Geoff Matherson July 13, 2012 at 09:07 PM
Please conisider the fact that there is still the Masera School, which comes off lease in 5-6 years...and I'm not sure of your reasoning that "the money from the sale will be gone almost as quickly", since there could be in excess of $7 Million from the sale of one school and the tax revenue begins year one.
Rich July 14, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Geoff Matherson, please look at the BOE past several years of spending money that we didn't have. The result was closing schools and programs that we really wanted to keep. ust ask any parent whose child went to Westbrook or Kirdahy, or a parent whose child was involved in the BOCES program, the Special Ed program st Westbrook, or the Dance program. All of these were closed due to the BOE not managing their budget correctly. The 7 million dollars from a sale of a school would burn through the BOE pockets in the blink of an eye. To lease the building means that the community received a regular annual lease rent every year with no chance to blow for the BOE to waste all the money at once. And the community can always take back the schools when needed. Lastly and we have access to the athletic fields during the lease period. Any child and coach will tell you that athletic fields are always in short supply and we can't afford to loose any.
Wendy Regan July 14, 2012 at 05:38 PM
"The properties are currently listed by West Islip-based broker Jamie Winkler, of Winkler Real Estate." "The status is that we are seeking tenants." From where are the potential tenants being sought? I've searched the Winkler RE website and MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and couldn't find a sale or lease listing for either property. There are no FOR SALE OR LEASE signs on the Westbrook property or the Kirdahy property. Common sense would lead a person to ask...How is the public (potential tenants) supposed to know that both of these buildings are available for lease?
Rich July 14, 2012 at 07:30 PM
I think that we, the West Islip Community and the owners of these two ES, give Winkler 6 months at the most to lease these two schools. If they are not leased within 6 months, the exclusion agreement with Winkler Realty is finished. At that pont every reator in the area would access to leasing of the schools through MLS and whichever realtor leases the school would get the fee. Of course Winkler would still get the listing fee. This is how real estate works both for residential and for commercial property. If the Realtor you choose is not working hard enough or being successful, you move on to the many other Realtor who would love the business.
Geoff Matherson July 14, 2012 at 11:56 PM
So Rich, you give the impression that you are well versed in real estate matters. What is your last name so we can know who we are having a dialogue with? And maybe you can explain to us how you conclude that the population of our schools will increase by 75% in the coming years. We now have 4 schools, with Kirdahy, Westbrook and Masera on the back burner and available for future use. If we increase from 4 schools to 7, where will all of these children come from?
Rich July 15, 2012 at 01:03 AM
No Geoff, I'm no expert, just common sense. Masera has been with BOCES for many years. Just one look at the condition of building would tell you or anyone else that to reclaim Masera would be an expensive undertaking. The school has not been updated in many years. But both Kirdahy and Westbrook were used by our students this past year. They are both up to date and ready to be used again. Heck the BOE sank millions ino both over the 2 years. There was big disagreement among the community on the importance of saving money vs. smaller class sizes and better teacher to student ratios. Already we are seeing classes of 24 at Oquenok. Should enrollment increase only slightly we will need one of these schools. Should we find that test scores decrease or that the educational experience of our students drops significantly, the West Isip community also may want to reopen one or more of these two ES. That's why I say lease but NEVER sell. There is no going back from a sale. Plus we would also loose our access to the athletic fields at these ES. Just drive by on any school day and you will notice that the athletic fields at ALL 7 Elementary Schools.
Rich July 15, 2012 at 01:03 AM
As far Jamie Winker Real Estate, I am sure that he is excellent. But if he can't lease the schools in 6 months, it is time to open up the process to the other Realors in the area. Common sense suggests that if Winkler can't lease the buildings in 6 months it's time for MLS and non exclusive listing that gets all the Realtors in on the process.
Geoff Matherson July 15, 2012 at 11:47 AM
Not sure where to begin "Rich" or is it "Mary"? If we knew your real name, we would know your agenda, Come on "Rich", you can tell me...I won't tell anyone. You don't have to hide! And...You didn't answer my question and tell us all where the 75% increase in the student population will come from, or the 50% increase if only one of the 3 schools is sold. Let's have some info here. You are a wealth of misinformation. Masera has had millions in capital improvements by BOCES in recent years...that is why they won't move to Westbrook and have to start all over again. Masera has the advantage over other schools for disposition or lease because of it's potential for commercial use, but the District will have to wait. You really lose more credibility with WI residents with your below comment about Winkler Real Estate: "He" is a "she" and, by the way, MLS is not the major source for commercial real estate tenants and buyers. You really have to get out more, which gets me back to the question, are you "Rich" or "Mary?" I'm still believing the sale of one school for senior condos or apartments is the most fiscally responsible direction for the District.and the WI community. $Millions on the sale, $millions in needed tax revenue forever, and a way for our seniors to stay local.
ed July 15, 2012 at 11:58 AM
Rich, after reading your latest entry, I must say without a doubt that you do not have the intellectual ability to understand what Geoff Mattherson is saying. (by the way thats Goeff Mattherson who has been a realtor and west Islip community member for at least 40 years correct Geoff?) We have THREE excess properties!! The community will NEVER need all of these schools. Population data across the region all points to CONTINUED decline or consistency. Now, leasing them is fine, if you can find tenants, gives the school district some money and helps the taxpayer keep taxes down.... but really... Geoff is correct, to benefit the community as a whole and help strngthen our schools, selling one property that would be suitable for a senior housing complex would be a win win. Also Rich, please check your facts, Masera was recently updated the same as the other buildings were, with the last bond, Jamie Winkler is in fact a she not a he (also long time WI community member) and I am no teacher, but 24 kids in a class is not too many, and by the looks of the enrollement projections at the 4 remaining buildings, consolidation was inevitable, fiscally responsible, and necessary. your arguments tying student achievement to the number of buildings is just too ridiculous to even respond to. What else? field space? everyone can adjust. what about utilizing more of the town facilities like the beach fields and cassamento park?
ed July 15, 2012 at 12:03 PM
oh, and by the way, Jamie Winkler was the only realtor who agreed to a lease only option. ALL of the other realtors listed on the BOE report wanted a sale as part of their options. so by all means keep criticizing the one realtor who is willing to find tenants as opposed to selling, which is what you want.
Rich July 15, 2012 at 12:17 PM
Then I guess that all the research suggesting small class size improves student learning are wrong. And that the common sense of better teacher to student ratios make no sense to you especially with our borderline students. And if signs were placed in front of Kirdahy and Westbrook that both were available for lease, this would not help. And lastly if both schools were listed for lease availability by any Realtor on MLS, no other Realtor would show them. Yes I guess I don't understand.
Rich July 15, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Since according to Ed, Jaime Winkler Realty is doing West Islip a big "favor" by trying to lease our two Elementary Schools rather than trying to sell them. I would like to ask everyone in the community who works for a Realtor, knows a Realtor, or is possibly has a Realtor in the family who would be interested in only leasing our two ES, to please contact our BOE immediately. This way Winkler Realty no longer is "stuck" with the leasing job that no other Realtor wanted.
Wendy Regan July 15, 2012 at 02:23 PM
@ed: May I ask from where your information came that Winkler RE was the only realtor who agreed to a "lease-only" option?
Rich July 16, 2012 at 09:51 AM
Has anyone yet notice a Winkler Realty signs indicating that either Kirdahy or Westbrook are available for lease on these properties. I just checked the Winkler Realty site and these properties are still not listed here. I think that this is unusual way to lease properties for an agency that has an "exclusive" agreement to list these schools. Maybe we should take them "off the hook"and open up the leasing process to other realtors.
Wendy Regan July 16, 2012 at 12:20 PM
Rich---no offense intended---as I know your motives are pure, but I've noticed that on more than one occasion you've taken my points and observations (verbatim) from other threads and signed your name to them as if they were your own points and observations. As I said, no offense intended....merely an observation on my part.
Rich July 16, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Wendy no offense taken. But I think that you raise interesting points. Do the two properties have signs indicating that they are available for lease. Why are the properties not listed as available for lease on the Winkler Real Estate site? Has the properties been advertised as available for lease in Newsday or other papers? Is the BOE planning on coming back to the community and tell us that the properties couldn't be leased without any obvious effort from the realtor? Just some thoughts Wendy, but no I don't offend easily.
Robert grimaldi July 16, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Just a thought, take one of the schools, the one with the most property and tare down the school, and build a sports park for the community! Like real baseball fields or soccer fields, a skateboard park or just somewhere for the children to play there sports. Now we are spread out among 4 schools and now we are building soccer fields in another town! Just a thought!
Rich July 17, 2012 at 01:19 AM
Great thought, but I thought that we had no money which why we closed two Elementary Schools and packed the students into the remaining fours schools.
Wendy Regan July 17, 2012 at 03:09 PM
@Geoff Matherson: Thank you for weighing into this discussion and using your real name. I agree with you and feel the sale of one of these properties for senior housing would be a win-win for all. I floated the idea last winter and used the Town of Oyster Bay’s Whitewood Landing Senior Housing in Massapequa as a model. Can you see something along those lines happening here in WI or is it just our pie-in-the-sky dreams? Geoff, having been in the real estate profession for many years perhaps you can answer a question that has baffled me for months: Why would a professional real estate company NOT advertise property (in this case two properties) is available for lease or sale? On a personal note, 14 years ago my husband and I purchased our home through your real estate office…small world.
Wendy Regan July 17, 2012 at 03:10 PM
@”ed”: I knew you wouldn’t respond to my question. However, you were lightning-quick with posting your insults and slamming another poster’s intelligence weren’t you? Print the 2012 WIHS commencement address given by the BOE President…..think it’s about you?
Geoff Matherson July 17, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Hi Wendy, glad you are still enjoying your home...great home on a great block! I can't comment on another Realtor's methods as that would not be ethical...Jamie Winkler actually started her RE career at my company, mannnnnnnnnny years ago, and we have a pleasant, professional relationship. As to the issue of Senior Housing in WI, my presentation to the BOE was a culmination of visiting all of the schools with a Commercial Broker that our firm has an ongoing relationship with, and we both came up with the same conclusion. That was that the highest and best use of the properties and the schools was to sell to a developer and the most desirable locations were Kirdahy and Westbrook. My presentation to the BOE therefore only focused on that aspect, as I see litle benefit, if any, to leasing the schools. My recommendation was that Senior condos or apartments would be the most benefit to WI residents, having lived here since 1955 and having been involved in Real Estate for a great majority of that time. My opinion remains that and I still believe that selling one of the schools is in the best interests of the WI community, providing $Millions on the sale and $Million perpetually in real estate taxes. Enjoy the Summer!
Rich July 17, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Agreed, we will make millions on the sale and millions on the taxes. But don't forget that two of three schools were just in use this past year. Also Oquenok is already full to capacity for September, any increase in the enrollment would be difficult to manage. Both Westbrook and Kirdahy are also both completely updated and ready to be used by students if we need them. This is definitely not the case with Mesera which would take a lot more money and time before it could be used again by our students. Has anyone even considered what would happen if Our Lady of Lourdes ES closed. We "dodged the bullet" when the Diceses closed other ES but we may not be as lucky next time . If this school closed it would really bury our remaining four ES. If we MUST sell a school it should be Mesera and it should be for Senior Apartments. But we if we sell a school, we will still loose a couple of really great athletic fields with the sale.
Rich July 17, 2012 at 09:05 PM
These are 6 Catholic Schools that closed just this past year. Numerous others have closed over the past several years. Which schools are we planning to reopen if something like this happens in West Islip. NASSAU CLOSINGS: 1) St. John Baptist De LaSalle Regional School in Farmingdale 2) St. Catherine of Sienna School in Franklin Square 3) St. Ignatius Loyola School in Hicksville 4) Sacred Heart School in North Merrick SUFFOLK CLOSINGS: 5) Prince of Peace Regional School in Sayville 6) Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in Lindenhurst Something to think about and certainly some to plan for. Which Elementary School do you want your children to go to if we out grow Oquenok or the other three ES.
john July 24, 2012 at 03:11 AM
Rich you are 100% correct.I went to Southgate.Not many people heard of that school.It was at the end of Pine where anna ct and carol ann ct are today.The school closed around 1980.It stayed vacant for about 10 years.The grounds were always used even though the school was closed.The district sold it and houses were built.About 10-15 years ago the district built on the remaining elementary schools because they were running out of room.They spent all this money to expand when they could have used southgate and reopen it.What ever money they made off southgate they had to use later to expand the remaining schools,and southgate is gone forever.I have been in this distrcit for 35 years I have experienced this first hand as a student and resident of this town.This BOE should not even entertain the thought about selling.Larosa should educate herself about what has happened in this district in the past and not make the same mistake twice.
Rich July 25, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Thanks for the insight John. It always great to have someone from the community who has lived through a school closing and sale tell us how it feels to loose a school. The Realtors will tell us how much money we will make but I guess that because they will be getting a big commission on the sale. But when the school is sold like Southgate, the community looses something that can't ever be replaced. The schools are part of our community. Our children play on the playgrounds, use the athletic fields, and use the gyms. They can't ever be replaced for 7 million dollars. When the fiields are gone, they are gone forever. And if we run out of space again in our schools, and we have many times in the past. Captree had to be reopened, Bellew had to have extensions built, it will cost a lot more than we will have left over from the sale of a school to build extensions. At least with lease, we have regular money coming in, we have use of the fields, and we have the schools when we need them. But in order to lease them, the Realtor has to list them, advertise them, and work at trying to lease them...or let another Realtor take a shot. Maybe MLS.
Rich August 21, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Any updates on the leasing of either Kirdahy or Westbrook? Does anyone know if BOCES a has been contacted? They had leased Kirdahy/Captree in the past. Are there any signs in front of the schools indicating that they are available for lease? Are our two schools listed on the Winkler web site indicating that they are available for lease? Should the district expand the search to lease the buildings to include other Realtors if Winkler is not having any luck with the lease? Just some questions for the readers of this blog.
Rich September 05, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Something must be wrong. Is Winkler Real Estate "really " try to lease our two schools for the district? Their other commercial properties have signs out in front of the buildings for lease indicating that they are available for lease and who to call for information. Our two schools have no signs. Winkler's other commercial properties are listed for lease with pictures and other information on their web site. Our two schools are not listed any where. Is this a "secret lease"? I thought the idea was to advertise that buildings were available if you truly wanted to lease the buildings. I just hope this is not some plan by our BOE not to lease the schools so that they can tell us that they were "unable" to lease the schools do now they have to sell the schools. Lease -YES. Sell - NO


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