The school board approved the sale of the old School 5 building on Totowa Avenue for $1 million on Wednesday night. The building, which has been vacant for a decade, was last used by the district’s food services department.
School board members approved a resolution that listed the buyer as 383-391 Totowa Ave LLC, a company registered last Friday that is owned by a Jennifer Iturralde Pina out of 19th Avenue. It’s not clear whether the building, located in the corner of Sherman and Totowa Avenues, will be converted to apartments or office spaces.
“At this point they are weighing several options,” said Linton Gaines, realtor with Nicholas Real Estate of Clifton, on Thursday morning, who arranged the sale. Any plan by the new owner has to be approved by municipal officials.
Gaines would not reveal the identity of the true buyer.
The city assessed the building at $4.5 million.
The district sought buyers for the past nine months. It wanted to sell the building for $1.77 million. One buyer submitted a bid to purchase the building in November, but that offer had to be rejected because it “failed to comply with the requirements of the sale.”
Gaines was tapped to find a buyer following the rejection. He received several offers for the building.
The district is attempting to sell three other buildings through Gaines:
- 45-51 Smith Street is listed for $1.4 million.
- 35-37 Church Street for $1.25 million.
- 31-33 Church Street for $1 million.
The old School 5 had become an eyesore in the Totowa section. The corner quickly become a dumping site. For example, in the past six months, there were toilets and mattresses dumped on the Sherman Avenue side of the building.
In 2016, a vagrant broke into the building to steal cooper wires and computers. He was tracked down by a retired police officer, who works for the district, as he attempted to sell the stolen goods at a scrap yard on East 7th Street.
The vagrant was arrested and charged.
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