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May 21, 2019 11:28 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town To Purchase Hampton Bays Communtiy Center

Southampton Town Board members voted to purchase the Hampton Bays Community Center for $8.5 million on Thursday, May 16. GREG WEHNER
May 21, 2019 1:03 PM

Southampton Town Board members agreed last week to purchase the Hampton Bays Community Center for $8.5 million, nearly $3.5 million more than initially expected.

The town currently leases the space—located on the western edge of the King Kullen shopping center parking lot—where it stores records, runs a senior nutrition program and adult daycare, and acts as an annex for the town clerk’s office.

“We had been paying rent and we had an option to buy,” Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said during a special meeting last Thursday. “If we don’t exercise the option to buy, the rent actually goes up. We believe that purchasing at this point is in the best interest. The rent that we pay is more than the debt service on the money that we will bond, so that we can purchase the facility.”

The town has rented space in the building since 2004, under a 15-year lease.

Rather than enter into another 15-year lease, the town had several appraisals done on the property, and the total cost came out to $8.5 million.

Mr. Schneiderman said $5 million had already been placed in the capital budget for the purchase of the building, leaving the town $3.5 million short.

In another resolution passed during the special meeting, the town board agreed to add $4 million to the capital project in the form of a loan from the general fund until money the town bonds for is received, making the total money available for the project $9 million.

Mr. Schneiderman also said in terms of the square footage, the amount of money the town would pay is far less than if it were to construct a new building.

Town Attorney Jim Burke told board members the additional $500,000 would be used to conduct renovations to the building, including an additional 4,500 square feet of space that will become available to the town in the building, and help cover additional fees like closing costs, associated with the purchase.

“Just for clarification, this is a building that we’ve leased for a number of years and the purchase includes an additional square footage that will require some upgrades,” Town Board member John Bouvier said during the meeting.

“Considering the investments that we, the Town of Southampton, have put into this property—we’ve installed a commercial kitchen—and the fact that it is one of the centers of the community of Hampton Bays and the debt service is actually going to be lower than our rent would be, I certainly support both of these resolutions,” Town Board member Tommy John Schiavoni said.

Maria Hultz of the Hampton Bays Civic Association thanked board members for considering the purchase, just before the vote.

“On behalf of the Hampton Bays Civic Association, which uses the senior center every month, and all the citizens of Hampton Bays that use it and rely on it, we hope to be saying thank you very much for the efforts in purchasing it,” she said. “We think it will be a good addition, it will give us extra space and to do more programs for the community, which we are all in favor of. So, thank you in advance.”

The board—minus member Julie Lofstad, who was absent from the meeting—voted unanimously to approve the purchase and to move an additional $4 million to cover the costs.

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Once the Town owns this property, it will be off the tax rolls. How much in school taxes were being paid to the Hampton Bays School District and special districts that now will be paid by the Hampton Bays tax[payers?
By G.A.Lombardi (513), Hampton Bays on May 21, 19 10:01 PM
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