If you’ve lived in Orange for a long time, or if you’ve driven down Derby Avenue, believe it or not, you are familiar with 393 Derby Ave. Although you may not know anything about it.
Many of you know it as the mysterious Legionaries of Christ with a long driveway leading up to a very large white building.
A Real Estate listing was as mysterious as the property itself with no photos of the building, only a photo of a paper map, a satellite image of the land, from which the house could be seen. But not much more.
The description was brief, “Superb subdivision opportunity Almost 25 acres with a large existing single family home and several other residential structures on the site as well as a stunning pond. Land is generally level to gently rolling. A beautiful parcel in great location. Sale as is.”
A web search revealed that the property was used as a school for seminarians studying for the priesthood, and that about 20 people lived (or worked) there when it was serving that purpose.
The property went on the market in April 2010 when the Legionaries of Christ moved out.
According to a story in the New Haven Register, “Robert Benedetto, property manager for ERA Property World, who is overseeing the renovation of the parcels promised Tuesday the town will be “very pleased” when ‘The Preserve’ is completed.”
It continued, “Benedetto said the property will be restored to its once natural beauty. He plans to renovate three existing structures. No new building or clear-cutting is planned.”
Even with that information, residents are curious, “What is the Preserve?”
Will it be open to the public? Will someone move into the home? Will it become a museum? Will the secrets of the Legionaries be revealed?
Those questions may go unanswered for some time, since as of Monday, even town officials hadn’t been briefed about the plans for “The Preserve.”