The former Monacacy School at 1816 Main St. in Bethlehem is under agreement with a buyer who plans to convert the property into residential use, said Christopher Baj, senior adviser for Sperry Van Ness Imperial Realty in Hanover Township, Lehigh County.
The Bethlehem Area School District last week agreed to sell the property, which has been vacant for several years. Baj represented the district in the sale and is also working directly with the buyer.
The property, zoned residential with permitted uses as a church or educational facility, is under contract for $395,000, Baj said.
BethApp Properties LLP of Hellertown is the buyer.
“Our goal is to make it into luxury apartments or condos,” said Eve Metzger, president of BethApp Properties. “The details aren’t there, yet.”
She noted that the company is in the beginning stages of the project and has to acquire a use variance from the city before moving forward.
“It’s a neat old building with lots of character; we would love to keep its character,” Metzger said.
With vacant properties, school districts might be looking to get rid of them, but often have to hold onto them just in case they are needed, said Mark Stein, director of facilities and operations for Bethlehem Area School District.
“I think it’s a great fit for the four to five residential units,” Stein said. The property’s most recent use was administrative offices for a child care facility, he added.
Baj said the school district was interested in seeing that the property be put to good use and that its new use fits well with the community.
“The real win here is for the neighborhood; it’s very residential, quiet,” Stein said. “I think the neighbors are happy to see it put back to use and repurposed for residential.”