Former Ross School Lower Campus Hits Real Estate Market for Nearly $10 Million

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The main administration building on the Ross Lower School campus on Butter Lane on Monday, 4/9/18. Michael Heller photo

The Ross School’s former Lower School campus on Butter Lane in Bridgehampton was publicly listed for sale last Thursday, priced at $9,995,000 with Compass Real Estate.

The private school announced in June of 2018 it would consolidate its lower and upper schools to its East Hampton campus on Goodfriend Drive.

According to the real estate listing, the 8.32-acre campus, located at 739 Butter Lane, “is the perfect setting for either an educational institution or an amazing single-family private residence.” The property features five buildings constructed in 2001: “The Barn Building,” which is approximately 15,858 square feet; “The Leonard Building,” approximately 5,760 square feet; “The Farmhouse Building,” approximately 3,045 square feet; the solar-powered “Green Building,” approximately 5,760 square feet, and the “Field House,” a 13,100-square-foot gymnasium. The campus also has a pool.

Also according to the listing, nationally acclaimed Martin Architects has created plans for “an exciting modern sports and entertainment residence” at the campus.

Andi O’Hearn, the Ross School’s head of advancement and operations, said the decision to sell the former Lower School campus — once home to the Hampton Day School — came out of a lack of practical use for the space.

“We’re not using it the way we did when we had the full Lower School campus there,” she said. “It’s a beautiful campus, almost idyllic. We don’t really have a lot of use for it.”

She said it had always been the vision of school founder Courtney Ross to have one campus with young children and older children learning alongside each other.

“We called it ‘one school, one community,’” said Ms. O’Hearn, who said she enjoys watching the youngest of the students walking by her office window every day. “They just make you happy. They look adorable in their uniforms and they’re always so happy. I think it’s been a really wonderful change for the East Hampton campus, having them here.”

She said she hopes the property is bought by a person or organization that maintains a community-oriented use.

“There’s a lot of nice features on the campus. I love the library area, the green building area, and the old barn house is special too,” she said.

She said there are no concrete plans for the proceeds of the sale just yet, but added, “I’m sure it will go into helping support the school into the future and its sustainability. Our buildings don’t have debt, but we also don’t have an endowment, so it would be nice to grow an endowment.”

Dennis Finnerty, chairman of the Southampton Town Planning Board, said the property could, in fact, be subdivided for residential development. On Tuesday he called it “an oversized parcel in a residential zone.”

“We’ve done a number of modifications to the school over the years, the biggest being the big athletic building,” Mr. Finnerty said. “There are a number of structures on the parcel, so I would tend to think it’s just going to be parceled out with the structures intact if someone did subdivide it. It remains to be seen. I think a lot of people agree that the best value of that property is educational or institutional use. Even beyond the town, there are state permits that were secured through the dormitory authority that would all be relinquished if they reverted it to residential use.”

Lori Schiaffino is an agent with Compass who represents the Butter Lane property. Reached by phone Friday, she said the property has been on the market for some time but that it has only been made public several days ago. Ms. Schiaffino said she is a board member of the Ross School whose relationship with the school goes back 27 years; her daughter, now 35, was among the school’s first students along with Ms. Ross’s daughter.

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