Pembroke Village School site slated to become 55-plus residential community

Monitor staff
Published: 10/13/2019 9:15:09 PM

Seven months after residents voted to close Pembroke Village School on High Street rather than refurbish it for an estimated $8 million, the building and property have been sold to a local company that plans to open a residential community for adults 55 and older.

The winning bidder was Cornerstone Realty Holdings of Concord. Brenda Litchfield of Concord Commercial, who teamed with Jeff Keeler of Keeler Family Realtors to market and close the deal, said Thursday there was a lot of interest in the sale.

“We received strong activity,” Litchfield said. “We received attention from local developers and local business owners, and the (school) board made its decision based on multiple offers.”

The selling price was $151,000. Pembroke Village School, which catered to children in kindergarten and first grade, closed in June, and its students are now being taught at Pembroke Hill School, which traditionally served grades two through four.

There are currently 139 students in kindergarten and first grade at the newly created school, and 207 students in grades two through four, Patty Sherman, the school superintendent, wrote in an email.

Cornerstone Realty Holdings, located on Manchester Street, is owned by Sarandis Karathanasis, Anesti Karathanasis and Pedro Geodoi, none of whom were available for comment.

Litchfield said she and Keeler tried to bring the best fit to the 28,000-square-foot property, and the Pembroke School Board favored the idea of an older-adult community.

“Jeff and I analyzed the market so we would understand who would want to buy 28,000 square feet,” Litchfield said. “We vetted that with the school board before launching the bid process.”

School Board Chairman Dan Driscoll was unavailable for comment. Email messages and phone calls to the other four board members were also not returned.

Sherman said by email that the school closed after an engineering study revealed there would be a high price to bring it up to code. A committee was created last fall to study space needs in the district and that research led to a unanimous recommendation that the two schools merge.

Since then, a committee to decide what to do with the old Village School building now has its answer.

“It’s not that Village is bad or that it isn’t safe,” Sherman told the Monitor last October, “but to come up to today’s standards and the millions of dollars we would need to spend just didn’t make sense for the community.”

Another committee is studying possible renovations and expansion to Hill School, and Sherman wrote in her email that a decision in this area is due sometime this year.

Declining enrollment and funding in schools across the state have become commonplace in recent years. For example, the Pembroke School District once featured five teachers for each grade, but through the years that number has dropped to four teachers, while administrators have tried to keep classes at between 15 and 18 students.

Sherman noted that Hill School can presently handle the influx of new students, but there isn’t enough room at this time to add another classroom if enrollment increases.

Meanwhile, Litchfield said the process involved in securing a deal was made easier by the school board.

“Dan and the whole board were great to work with,” Litchfield said, referring to board chairman Dan Driscoll. “The whole board was great to work with, and they worked hard to make the right decision, not just for the school board but for the town as a whole.”

It was not clear at press time when construction will start on the facility for adults 55 and older. A Facebook post connected to Litchfield and Concord Commercial Real Estate included a comment from someone asking if she could get on a waiting list.

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