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Hobby shop proposed for former school

A Hamburg resident has offered to buy the former Washington School in Lackawanna with the intent of converting much of it into a game and hobby business.

By a unanimous vote Wednesday night, the School Board authorized the execution of a letter of intent for the deal. The price was set at $80,000.

John Pearcy, the would-be buyer, spoke to the board in a public comment period before the board's vote.

"We are very hopeful to be able to get the property," Pearcy said, adding that approximately one-third of the building would be used for a game and hobby store and another third as activity space related to the business.

"I am hoping to create something that will be very enjoyable, fun," Pearcy said.

Though he didn't mention it in his comments to the board, the letter of intent includes apartments and office space as additional uses.

Pearcy and his wife had to leave the meeting before the vote because of a family commitment.

The former school, at 30 Johnson St., was built in 1903 and most recently housed the district's administrative offices. It was declared surplus in 2003, with a $146,000 asking price.

Because of the school's deteriorating condition, school officials once considered condemning it. During the recent citywide reassessment, the 34,960-square-foot building was assessed at $100,000, according to city records.

In January 2005, the board accepted a $25,000 purchase offer from a former resident who intended to return to Lackawanna from Oregon. But months later, the buyer exercised his option to cancel the deal, and the board voted to readvertise its availability.


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