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Interest strong in redeveloping former Long Run Children's Learning Center in White Oak

| Monday, Nov. 24, 2014, 4:21 a.m.
The real estate agent listing the old Long Run Children’s Learning Center in White Oak says it shouldn’t take long to find a buyer for the property, which hit the market last month with list price of $1.25 million.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Trib Total Media
The real estate agent listing the old Long Run Children’s Learning Center in White Oak says it shouldn’t take long to find a buyer for the property, which hit the market last month with list price of $1.25 million.

The building that once housed Long Run Children's Learning Center in White Oak remains vacant and on the market, but the real estate agency listing the property is optimistic that it won't take long to find a buyer.

Peter Licastro of Point Bridge Realty Advisors LLC said the 17-year-old building on Long Run Road is well-maintained and would be a good fit for another educational facility or for retail, office or medical space.

The property went on the market in October and is listed for $1.25 million, a price Licastro says “is a very good deal relative what to what it would cost to replace a building like that.”

“We've had a number of inquiries and tours of the building already,” he said, adding that more prospective buyers are looking at the facility this week. “The interest has been very strong.”

Home to the learning center from 1998 until August, the building was designed for a preschool program serving regular and special-needs children.

The building is 11,540 square feet and is on a 2.25-acre lot. Licastro said it's attractive to a wide range of potential buyers because it is zoned for C-2 commercial use and is in a high-traffic area.

Two education-based groups have looked at the building. Licastro said other prospective buyers have included parties seeking investment property and groups interested in locating businesses in all or part of the building.

Long Run Children's Learning Center closed this summer due to financial issues. Center officials said the loss of funding over the years for special education programs was a factor. Less than 5 percent of the about 150 students enrolled last fall could be described as disabled.

The center was started in 1962 by Bertha Mae Chaplin with the goal of serving preschool children with special needs. The center later began admitting mainstream students and hosted a pre-K Counts program for McKeesport Area School District.

The center was having financial issues when InVision Human Services of Wexford acquired it in 2013. InVision assessed the program and determined it was not financially sustainable.

InVision's Marjie Foster said most of the furnishings, materials and equipment from the school has been sold or given away.

Foster said InVision would like to see the building restored to an educational use.

“Everybody was sad to see this facility close,” she said. “It's tailored for early childhood education.”

Realtor Robert Baum, whose agency is not involved in the marketing of the property, said there is interest in the old learning center.

“There are numerous possibilities for that building. It's too good to knock down,” Baum said. “It could be converted into doctors' offices or a professional building. It could probably even become retail.”

Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or eslagle@tribweb.com.

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