Compass Academy building under contract, off auction block

An Aiken County building intended for a private school was taken off the auction block after a buyer was found.

Compass Academy, a 53,000-square-foot building that sits on 30 acres on Toolebeck Road, was placed under contract late Thursday night, said Dan Bracken, the broker-in-charge for Leonardi Bracken Real Estate.

The auction was scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday.

The undisclosed buyer asked Bracken to keep confidential the terms of the sale, including the purchase price and intended use for the site, Bracken said.

“It will be something that will be an asset for the community,” he said, adding that it was not sold to an investor but to a buyer with a specific use in mind.

The project was under construction by Jonathan “Jay” Brooks, who was arrested in July and accused of taking money for a fictional entity called the Charles Howell Trust. It was not clear whether his arrest was connected to civil complaints filed against Compass Academy.

In March, a restraining order filed in the 5th District of South Carolina Court of Common Pleas froze the accounts belonging to Brooks, J. Brooks Financial Inc., Brooks Real Estate Holdings and Compass Academy.

Court-appointed receiver Sherri Lydon, a Columbia lawyer, selected Greenville-based Leonardi Bracken Real Estate to market the property.

The school was about 70 percent complete, and about $4.5 million was spent on construction. The auction bidding was to start at $500,000.

According to the real estate firm’s Web site, potential uses for the building included a nursing home, church, apartments, research facility, day care and meeting center. It was designed for 420 students and has 35 classrooms, four labs, a gymnasium and a grand atrium.

Bracken said several buyers made offers for the property.

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