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St. Gabe’s sold for $15.1 million

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | A view of the entrance to St. Gabriel's Retreat Center.
REPORTER FILE PHOTO | A view of the entrance to St. Gabriel’s Retreat Center.

The St. Gabriel’s Retreat Center property, 25 acres fronting Coecles Harbor, has been sold for $15.1 million.

Owned by the Passionists Fathers, a Catholic religious order, for more than a century, the property had been on the market since 2009 until the deal closed late yesterday afternoon. The buyer is Pandion Acquisitions, LLC,  according to Gregory Hampson, chief financial officer for the Passionists.

A search for Pundion Acquisitions found it to be a corporation filed with the state of Delaware. According to the EDGAR company, a filing service for U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission information, Pandion Acquisitions lists itself as “a broker/dealer.”

Father Robert Joerger, provincial of the order based in Rye Brook, New York, said Tuesday that the LLC was one individual. He added that it was a private sale, with no real estate company involved. The buyer made the $15.1 million offer and the Passionist’s accepted.

St. Gabriel’s, long a summer retreat for youths hosted by the Passionists, had received an application about two years ago to subdivide 25 acres of property into eight residential lots, five of which are on Coecles Harbor at the end of Burns Road.

In accordance with subdivision regulations, the property allows for 21 residential lots with access to them through the creation of a road.

But Father Joerger said it was his understanding that the property would not be subdivided.

The decision to close the summer camp in 2008 was forced by a declining number of new priests coming into the order and the costs of caring for an older population of clergy, Father Joerger said Tuesday.

It was a “heartbreaking” decision but had to be done to continue to sustain other ministries, retreat houses and parishes in the U.S., Canada, Haiti, Jamaica and the West Indies, Father Joreger said.

Prudential Douglas Elliman and Sotheby’s International Realty represented the property for a while until agreements expired two years ago.

Town Supervisor Jim Dougherty had advocated using Community Preservation Fund money — a tax collected on real estate sales that goes to purchase open space to buy St. Gabriel’s and preserve it.

But the town’s Community Preservation Fund Advisory Board, the group tasked with targeting and vetting open space purchases, said the fund didn’t have the money, plus St. Gabriel’s is a developed property and can’t be classified as open space.