Pine Ridge School hires realtor (10/1/09)

Oct. 1, 2009

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

A Burlington-based realtor is now working with the Pine Ridge School’s board of trustees, which has been unable to find a buyer for the academic facility’s property.

The school’s 136-acre campus on French Hill has been on the market since the summer. The board recently decided to work with V/T Commercial for wider exposure, board chairman Mitch Roman said.

The initial asking price for the campus was $4.5 million. Roman said the board recently reinvestigated its finances, debts and lines of credit and was able to reduce the asking price to $4.3 million. V/T Commercial is advertising the property as being significantly below market value.

Tony Blake, a realtor at V/T Commercial, said finding a buyer for the Pine Ridge School and campus will be challenging, especially in regards to Williston’s strict zoning regulations and the down economy.

“The obvious highest and best use is that of another private school, or an executive retreat,” Blake wrote in an e-mail to the Observer. “However, the timing and the financial climate suggest otherwise.”

There has been interest, Blake added. Roman said he’s heard of six interested parties that have toured the campus and its educational buildings, dormitories and athletic field.

“Basically, the (interested parties) are very similar to what we had on site before,” Roman said.

The Pine Ridge School formed in 1968 as an alternative learning center for middle and high school students with dyslexia. After several years of financial struggles, the school closed its doors in June when the academic year finished.