Mayor David Martin announced Tuesday that the city will begin discussions with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Chambery for the potential purchase of a 10.8 acre parcel of land located at 200 Strawberry Hill Avenue.
According to a statement from the Mayor’s administration, Martin said that while he intends to use the property for a school, more information and input from the city’s elected boards and the public would be required before making a final decision. The administration expects that renovation, expansion, and additional capital investment would be necessary in order to effectively utilize the space. Martin also stated that further study and evaluation is required.
“I am committed to ensuring that all children have access to a quality public education and bringing a new school to the Strawberry Hill location is an attractive option,” Martin said in the release. “More information and discussion is required before we can say with certainty that the city should invest in a new school and I look forward to participating in that discussion,” Martin said.
The site is currently home to the Stamford Campus for The Stanwich School and was the former site of Sacred Heart Academy. The parcel includes several buildings, such as the C.J. Starr Barn and Carriage House, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. The Sisters stated in the application to the National Park Service that it is “the sole remaining structure of its kind in the city and “provides the residents of Stamford with a link to a previous era.”
“Opportunities like this come around once in a generation. The property is a chance to preserve part of Stamford’s history and character. It will protect open space in an area that has become highly developed over the years. This is truly a unique and strategic opportunity,” Martin said.
According to the statement, the Board of Education informed Martin of the potential opportunity shortly following his election to Mayor and Martin has worked with the Board to explore the opportunity. Martin recently briefed members of the city’s boards on the status of the property, which was assessed for $14.7 million in 2012.
“The bottom line is that this opportunity is presenting itself now and with urgency. If we are successful, I am certain the property will be an enormous asset and make a positive contribution to our city. Whether the property is utilized for a new school or one of several alternative public uses, it will be a historic purchase,” Martin said. “This is a low risk investment for the city to make and we will be aggressively negotiating to secure the best deal possible.”