Former DeSisto school site for sale

Tuesday June 5, 2012

STOCKBRIDGE -- The former DeSisto School is back on the market with a price tag of nearly $9 million.

Owner Patrick Sheehan is looking to sell the 320-acre site across from the Stockbridge Bowl. Lance Vermeulen Real Estate has listed the property for $8,995,000, and is advertising it on its website as an "opportunity to own one of the few remaining Berkshire cottages."

Sheehan bought the building at auction in 2009 for nearly $1.4 million. The property has been vacant since shortly after the death of DeSisto School founder A. Michael DeSisto in November 2003. The property was being offered for $4.5 million at the time of the auction.

Sheehan, who lives in Dalton, said it wasn't his intention to use the property to add to his stable of rehabilitation centers and assisted-living facilities, including Craneville Place in Dalton and Springside Rehabilitation and Skilled Care Center in Pittsfield. And while he didn't provide specifics on what his original plans for the property were, Sheehan said it's the right time to put it on the market.

"It's just a lot of work to maintain that type of property, and I'm just busy doing other things," said Sheehan.

While the asking price is roughly double what it was advertised for when he purchased it, Sheehan added, "I've done a lot with the property. I think the price is reflective of where the market is today."

Since purchasing the site, Sheehan basically prepared it for a complete renovation. Lance Vermeulen, whose agency has offices in Egre mont, Great Barrington, Lenox and Pittsfield, said the entire property was in disrepair prior to Sheehan's acquisition. Vermeulen said Sheehan has spent "substantial money" stabilizing the existing buildings and removing some of the old dormitories.

Many of the walls of the 18,000-square-foot cottage have been taken down to the studs, while the original molding, staircases, fireplaces and some flooring have been retained. The property in cludes several other buildings, an apple orchard and hundreds of acres of woodlands.

Vermeulen said the building is in some ways just a shell now, though much of its original details remain.

"Although it's in need of total renovation, at least it's a starting point," said Vermeulen. "It's just a sensational property."

Vermeulen said the property is being marketed as a single residential property, and he acknowledged it could cost between $3 million and $5 million to fully renovate.

To reach Trevor Jones:,
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