The Lebanon School District has an agreement to sell the old Northwest Elementary building at 9th & Maple Streets to a developer, and is seeking court approval to finalize the $900,000 deal.

The 40 year-old building and grounds, actually two separate tracts totaling 3.6 acres, have been vacant since the end of the 2017-18 school year, when the district opened a new Northwest Elementary school at 1315 Old Forge Road.

The old Northwest pictured along N. 9th St/Route 72 through Lebanon. (Will Trostel)

Read More: Northwest Elementary School served many in its 42-year history

In a petition filed with the Lebanon County Court of Common Pleas on Feb.9, the school district identified Quartz Creek Holdings, LLC., of Manheim as the buyer. The parties signed an agreement of sale on Apr. 20, 2020.

Quartz Creek has plans for a “reconstruction” of the school building into 60,000 square feet of commercial and office space, plus underground parking and a two story parking garage, which would be the city’s first.

Aerial view of proposed development by Quartz Creek Holdings on old Northwest Elementary School property purchased from Lebanon School District

Read More: Developer plans commercial reconstruction for to-be-acquired Northwest elementary building

A public notice issued by the school district says that a court hearing is scheduled for Mar. 2 at 1:30 p.m. in the Lebanon Municipal Building, where “all persons interested may appear and show cause , if any they have, why the [$900,000 sale] should not be granted.”

Pennsylvania law requires court approval of the private sale of a school, based upon a showing that the sale price is at least market value and that the private purchase price is more than what a public auction would likely bring.

The school district’s court filing says that Quartz Creek’s was the only purchase offer received for the old school, and includes an appraisal finding that the property’s fair market value is $800,000.

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Chris Coyle writes primarily on government, the courts, and business. He retired as an attorney at the end of 2018, after concentrating for nearly four decades on civil and criminal litigation and trials. A career highlight was successfully defending a retired Pennsylvania state trooper who was accused,...