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Fourth Street School Building in Newport Finds Residential Developer

A school building in Newport is slated to become residential, possibly high-end rental and condos.

The Newport Board of Education decided on Monday to accept the bid from Carmel, IN-based CRG Residential in an amount of $2,625,000 for the Newport Intermediate School on Fourth Street.

The building currently houses grades 3, 4, and 5. When the Board announced its intention to sell the property in January, Superintendent Kelly Middleton said that he hoped to get at least $2 million for it.

A $100,000 deposit will be made within ten business days of an executed purchase agreement which could take place this week, with the deal expected to close by August of next year.

CRG Residential beat out locally-based Towne Properties, which developed the neighboring Monmouth Row apartment community in Newport. The two firms were the only bids and both had previously submitted an offer of $2.2 million. The property was then re-bid, and according to the school board, Towne's bid came in $200,000 less than CRG's. However, Towne had requested a smaller tax break than CRG.

"I think the money up front mattered more to the board than the extra tax money," said Board Superintendent Kelly Middleton after an executive session held on Monday night at the end of the regular board meeting.

The offer is contingent on the City of Newport issuing an Industrial Revenue Bond for the project. Middleton said they have worked with the city on projects before, so he feels sure the city will take care of the bond. Chief Financial officer Tete Turner said that both the city and Campbell County have to pass resolutions to issue the bond, but since they have a good working relationship, he sees no problem and expects the bond to be issued within the next month. The Industrial Revenue bond is a financial instrument that allows the property title to be held, in this case, by the city until the bond is paid off by the company, which is usually 20 to 30 years.

In the meantime, the company will pay 4.25 percent per $1000 of valued property every year.

"We don't know exactly what the finished renovation of the property will be, but the estimate is that once it is renovated, the property will be worth about $11 million," said Turner. "That could mean taxes up to $46,000 coming to the board once it is done."

Middleton said he thought the plans for the property included high end residential condos and rentals. Turner agreed that that was the plan, and said it was pretty much a done deal at this point.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor

Photo: Newport Intermediate School