Cioni deal to close soon, Kingston school district says

The Cioni Building (photo by Phyllis McCabe)

Though there hasn’t been much to report on the sale of the Cioni Building, Kingston City School District school officials said this week the process is still heading in the right direction, albeit slowly.

“Right now our attorneys and the purchaser’s attorneys are trying to schedule closing dates,” said Superintendent Paul Padalino on Wednesday, adding that he had a meeting planned later in the day to get an update. “You put it in the hands of attorneys and you know what happens. Nothing moves fast and everything gets complicated. We’re just waiting on the closing date. But the deal is still moving forward.”

Last July, the school board approved selling its current administrative headquarters to 61 Crown Street LLC, which is led by New York City-based developer Neil Bender and filed a bid as BRE Properties. The $4.25 million bid, with an eye on turning the property into a boutique hotel and spa, came during an open bidding session on the highly coveted property in booming Uptown Kingston. The next highest bid was for $1.8 million.

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In January, trustees voted to drop the sale price from $4.25 million to around $3.47 million, after an environmental review done by the purchaser found a variety of structural reasons. In April, Padalino said he hoped to close in early May, but that period passed and a date has yet to be set. But the superintendent this week cautioned the public not to read anything into that, and that the sale is still in the works.

“I think the gentleman that bought our building has bought every other vacant property in the City of Kingston,” Padalino said. “I think he’s invested in obtaining this property as part of his plans and is invested financially in making it happen.”

Voters in the district last week approved the creation of a new capital reserve fund, in part to hold the proceeds from the sale of the Cioni Building. That measure passed by a margin of 1,617-459. Using the reserve fund in the future would also require voter approval.

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