With its former Catholic elementary school soon to be replaced with luxury apartments, Mineola’s Corpus Christi Parish is looking toward the future.
In April, the parish closed the $6.53 million sale of the school building on Searing Avenue to Mill Creek Residential Trust, a Texas-based real estate developer, the Rev. Malcolm Burns, the parish pastor, told parishioners in a letter on Sunday.
The money will allow the parish to pay off its $409,000 debt to the Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre by the end of the summer, Burns said. The church borrowed the money to support the elementary school, which closed in 2010, he said.
The rest of the money can now be used to “build up the parish in other ways,” Burns said. He plans to host a meeting in the fall to hear ideas from parishioners about the parish’s future.
“This is very much their parish, and as you know, I’m only here one year, so I pretty much trust in their judgment, their wisdom in terms of how the money should be used by the parish for the future,” Burns said in an interview.
Most of the money will be invested and the dividends and interest used to fund parish operations, Burns wrote in his letter.
Mill Creek Residential Trust announced Monday that it is ready to start construction on its two-building complex at the former school site containing 192 high-end apartments, located about half a mile from Mineola’s Long Island Rail Road station.
Mill Creek has not said when it will break ground on the project, but when finished, it will be the fourth “transit-oriented” development within the village targeted at affluent commuters.
The pair of four-story buildings will contain a mix of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, underground parking garages and 8,700 square feet of amenities, Mill Creek said in a news release. Nineteen of the apartments will be leased at affordable “workforce” rates.
“Our new community will help meet the growing demand by providing renters with apartments that are efficiently designed to maximize opportunities for urban living without sacrificing the comforts of the suburbs,” Russell Tepper, the senior managing director for Mill Creek’s Northeast division, said in a news release.
Corpus Christi is keeping one of the former school buildings, which contains seven classroom, a gymnasium, an auditorium and office spaces, Burns said.
It will be “a sad day” when Mill Creek demolishes the old school building, which nuns first occupied in 1922, Burns said. But parishioners, especially those who attended the school or saw their children or grandchildren attend, are glad the church will still use part of it, he said.
“We’re going to keep the school alive in some ways,” Burns said.
Mill Creek also developed Mineola’s first transit-oriented complex, the 275-unit Modera Mineola at 140 Old Country Road, as well as the 36-unit Hudson House, an affordable housing complex for senior citizens.
Rents at Modera Mineola range from $2,376 a month for a one-bedroom unit to $4,248 a month for two bedrooms, according to the complex’s website.
Mill Creek received property tax breaks from the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency for both Mineola apartment projects. But the Searing Avenue development will put a formerly tax-exempt site back on local tax rolls.
Burns praised Mill Creek for consistently communicating with the parish and taking steps to ensure that children who play at the remaining school building will be safe during construction.
“They’re going to be committed to it long term,” Burns said. “They’re not just going to build and then disappear.”
Mineola’s second transit-oriented apartment project, the 315-unit One Third Avenue, run by New Hyde Park-based Lalezarian Properties, opened last year. Lalezarian’s other project, the 266-unit Village Green, is currently under construction.
The apartment projects are part of Mineola’s “Master Plan” to revitalize its downtown area near the LIRR station.
The Village of Mineola and both developers have won Smart Growth Awards from Vision Long Island, an urban planning organization, for the projects.