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Schools-Turned-Apartment Communities: A Growing Trend

Student Housing

Digested from “IIT Landmark Main Building — Built in 1893 — Will Be Converted to Housing” (2/15/16) Cholke, Sam

The Main Building at the Illinois Institute of Technology, in Chicago, has been vacant since 2012, but it’s about to get some new residents. The historic structure, which was built in 1893 and was designated a landmark in 2004, will be converted into 84 apartment homes.

Ohio-based developer MCM Company is working with the university, originally founded as the Armour Institute of Technology, to save the crumbling building. The project will require rezoning for residential use and will likely cost millions to repair.

Schools across the country are receiving similar treatments. The historic West Philadelphia High School has received $24 million in financing to convert the Gothic revival building into a 442,500-square-foot, 298-unit apartment community, with renovation expected to begin in 2017; Draper High School, in Rotterdam, N.Y., is being converted into lofts; and Philip Livingston Magnet Academy has been redeveloped as a senior apartment community.

Other comparable developments include New Orleans’ Sacred Heart Apartments, a former convent that’s been turned into housing for homeless veterans.

Although they can be costly, as proved by the Main Building and West Philadelphia High School projects, such redevelopments help preserve beloved buildings, classic architecture, character and history in the communities.

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