I read the news over the last two days that the grounds of what was LaSalle Military Academy and before that the then 200+ acre estate was originally owned by Frederick Gilbert Bourne. Under his stewardship, as the fifth President of The Singer Sewing Machine Company became a global brand. That built a 110 room mansion in 1897 on The Great South Bay, with 200+ acres to go with it.
The great man passes in 1919. The estate becomes a catholic / military school, LaSalle, and then in 1999 becomes part of St.Johns. Well now we hear that the property is for sale, represented by Cushman Wakefield. 170 acres! What could one do?
There is something I can tell you no one wants who loves The Great South bay — more homes and, worse, condos. We’d much rather parks, preserves, another school that would ideally study marine environments — and nothing that would further tax the bay and the local environment.
Of course, 170 acres of that kind of real estate won’t be cheap, but the cost of creating more high density construction near a bay we are trying to bring back is just too much. The bay until recently supported thousands of families from clamming and fishing. We have to start to invest in the bay rather than more sprawl, and now, if we want a bay for the future.
Please then, can we please have the right buyer step up?