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Sullivan West may sell both DV and Narrowsburg – to same man

By Dan Hust
JEFFERSONVILLE — September 17, 2010 — The arrival of a potential buyer of both the Narrowsburg and Delaware Valley campuses prompted Sullivan West Superintendent Ken Hilton to recommend to the board last night that the district put both buildings up for sale.
Narrowsburg actually already is for sale, but the district has developed a bidding process which would involve both campuses, which have been closed due to falling enrollment, but maintained for the past five years.
Hilton and the board had initially decided against selling DV, which sits on 68 acres along Route 97 north of Callicoon.
In fact, save for a leasing offer made by a gas drilling company, Hilton figured interest would be low.
Then, a few weeks ago, a New York City real estate developer affirmed his interest in DV and Narrowsburg.
“We were approached by a serious bidder,” Hilton explained this week. “I never dreamt it.”
The developer, Ilwon Kang, reportedly has an interest in a variety of properties in the area, but Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development President Tim McCausland – who coordinated a meeting between Kang and district officials – could not offer details, citing confidentiality.
“We’re happy to work with him on his efforts in Sullivan County,” was all McCausland would say.
Listed online as president of Gemini International and managing member of High Line Development Group in NYC, Kang could not be reached for comment, but Hilton said the information he’s seen indicates the Columbia University grad is mainly involved in developing condos, apartment houses and hotels.
Hilton did not, however, know of Kang’s plans for either campus.
Nevertheless, he planned to recommend the school board add DV to the sales roster – albeit just the building and 5-6 surrounding acres. Narrowsburg is being offered in a similar fashion – with just two acres surrounding the 82-year-old structure.
But while Narrowsburg’s 14 other acres are not adjacent to the school, DV’s remaining 62-63 acres are next door to the nearly 60-year-old building.
Hilton said the land’s value – including for potential leasing to gas drillers – means the district should hang on to the acreage.
With some amendments to retain the oil and gas mineral rights at both properties, the board voted 7-1 last night to put both buildings up for sale. John Reggero voted no, while the ninth board seat is currently vacant. (See Tuesday's edition for a full report of the meeting.)
At a Tuesday Facilities Needs and Assessment Committee meeting in Jeffersonville, board members seemed mixed on the idea.
Rose Crotty indicated she would vote for offering both campuses for sale, while Noel van Swol expressed reservations.
“I do want to see a track record [with the buyer] because these are sensitive properties,” van Swol remarked. “... We do not need to screw up.”
District officials promised to get the board the info it needed to make an intelligent decision about Kang, but last night’s vote was simply to offer DV and Narrowsburg for sale – jointly or separately, as there are more people than just Kang interested in Narrowsburg, said Hilton.
No minimum bid has been set, on the advice of local real estate agents, he explained, but the board can reject any bid. Bids are due by mid-November.
If there is more than one qualified bid in which the district is interested, an auction may be held.

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