Bensalem SD strikes $6.25 million deal for Armstrong, no use determined yet

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Bensalem Township School District entered into an agreement of sale for the Neil A. Armstrong Middle School property on Monday, but it’s unclear what the developers will do with the property.

The purchaser of the 30-acre property on is a company called 2201 Street Road, LLC, which is the address for property, along the township’s busy business corridor. The agreement is  for a sale of $6.25 million, just north of the previously appraised value of $6 million.

The property has been mostly vacant for the last decade, with the gymnasium still in use for district sporting events and other parts of the property used for community activities, like the Bensalem Lions Club Flea Market in the large parking lot next to the building. The flea market has since moved to Cecelia Snyder Middle School on Hulmeville Road.

The company has 60 days to “inspect, survey and test the property in order to determine the feasibility of its proceeding with the purchase,” according to district spokeswoman Susan Phy.

Presumably, developers will hash out an appropriate use with the township during that timeframe. Last winter, the board received a pair of offers over $8 million for the property, but one of the developers backed out and the other decreased its offer to $4 million with contingencies based on feedback from the township regarding zoning.

The property is currently zoned for residential single houses, which may not be the final use.

“Mixed use seems to have the most interest in the market,” District Superintendent Sam Lee said after a meeting last January, when the board rejected another offer below the appraisal.

Zoning for development is in the township’s jurisdiction, and the school board would not be able to change the use for potential buyers. That issue created frustration among some school board members looking to finalize the sale during the 2015-2016 school year.

When a sale looked imminent last year, Bensalem Mayor Joe DiGirolamo said he would not allow any more apartments in the township, which already has 38 apartment complexes. He also said that, when the time came, the township would have input for the developers.

A request for comment from DiGirolamo was not immediately returned.

But if all goes as planned, the school district will save thousands by getting Armstrong off the district’s tax rolls, funds that could go into the capital improvement fund set aside for district-wide repairs.

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