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September 20, 2019Cart

Business

by Westchester County Business Journal
by WCBJ

French-American School puts one-third of its White Plains property up for sale

The French-American School of New York (FASNY) today announced that it is intends to sell about one-third of the approximately 127-acre former Ridgeway Country Club in White Plains where it still plans to build a new secondary school for grades 6 through 12. The land selected for sale totals 47.9 acres. FASNY would keep the 28-acre portion of the property designated for the school and playing fields and also the 51-acre section of the property where a nature conservancy would be maintained.

“The school is looking for a (single) buyer for the three parcels,” FASNY spokesman Geoff Thompson told the Business Journal. He said that no price had been set.

“At this point, the school has evaluated what the long-term future is. They still are definitely committed to building the secondary school, which is the 6-12 school that’s approved and they’re committed to the 51-acre conservancy,” Thompson said.

FASNY has retained the commercial real estate services firm CBRE to handle the offering, and names CBRE executives William Cuddy and Budd Wiesenberg as the contacts at the firm.

FASNY’s plan to build in White Plains has been controversial since it was originally presented. There was an outcry from many residents, with opposition led by the Gedney Association. Many opponents also criticized the city itself for not having bought the country club for use as a municipal golf course while the city still had the right of first refusal at a price below what FASNY paid.

In November 2017, the White Plains Common Council on a 5-2 vote approved revised plans for a school designed for 640 students. By that time, the review process had been underway for more than six years. The Gedney Association challenged the action in court and subsequently appealed a judge’s ruling that the Common Council had acted properly in issuing its approvals. The appeal has yet to be decided.

FASNY proposes to sell two parcels at the site. They are identified as B and C. It also plans to sell a portion of Parcel D. Parcel B consists of 14 acres between Gedney Esplanade and Heatherbloom Road. The 15.5-acre Parcel C is between Heatherbloom and Bryant Avenue. The 18.4-acre section of Parcel D being offered for sale starts at Hathaway Lane and runs toward Ridgeway. The property is zoned for single-family houses on three-quarters of an acre.

In its announcement, FASNY said that its board of trustees “remains committed to the vision of a future permanent campus for the school and is working to create the best conditions to fulfill this vision.”

John Sheehan, president of the Gedney Association, told the Business Journal that FASNY had promised not to do additional development on the land beyond the school for 15 years and selling part of the property contradicts that representation.

“In my opinion, not only do they flip-flop constantly in what their intentions were, but they deliberately misled the Common Council and the citizens of White Plains by saying they would not be doing any development for 15 years.”

“After adjusting for roads, steep slopes, wetlands, water courses, etc., we’ll see how many homes they can get. Not easy to develop,” Sheehan said of the land.