The redevelopment of a Northside neighborhood is underway.
Washington, D.C-based Community Preservation and Development Corp. began work last week at the old Highland Park Public School building at 1221 E. Brookland Park Blvd., where the developer plans to spend about $11.5 million to add 77 low-income apartment units for seniors.
The 106-year-old school property is the first of three phases the nonprofit developer has planned in the area with the ultimate goal of adding at least 200 new apartments to the city and relocating residents from the Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s Frederick A. Fay Towers in Jackson Ward.
The broader plan revolves around the city and Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority revitalizing the Six Points area, so named for the six-armed intersection in the Highland Park neighborhood – where Meadowbridge Road, East Brookland Park Boulevard, Second Avenue and Dill Avenue meet.
Richmond City Councilwoman Ellen Robertson spoke Thursday at a groundbreaking ceremony at the school site. She said within 30 days construction will start on a $2.5 million roundabout at that intersection, funded by the city. She also said 250 new apartments in the nearby Dove Court are part of the Six Points revitalization.
“We’re also standing strong and steadfast that we’re going to build a new school in Highland Park,” she said.
The nonprofit purchased the school property in late 2013 for $600,000. It later purchased two buildings across the street that it also plans to redevelop, but those plans have not been finalized.
“We first saw the Highland Park Public School over two years ago,” Chris LoPiano, senior vice president of real estate development for CPDC, said at Thursday’s event. “It was a foreclosed property owned by Wells Fargo. It was open to the elements, many of the windows open and the roof leaking. It was filled with mold and was rapidly deteriorating. Yet what we saw, because we’re developers, was a beautiful building and a beautiful place to put senior apartments.”
The school project is likely to wrap up around July 2016, with residents moving in shortly thereafter. KBS is the general contractor, and Grimm and Parker is designing the project.
CPDC has multiple levels of financing for the project, including low-income housing tax credits, federal and state historic tax credits, a $3 million loan from Capital One, and a $900,000 commitment from the city.
The next two phases of CPDC’s project will take it to Jackson Ward. There it plans to redevelop the Baker School at 100 W. Baker St. into 48 apartments. Another phase still in the planning stages would include the construction of 75 new units as part of a mixed-use development near Second Street.
CPDC was founded in 1989 and specializes in the acquisition, redevelopment and operation of low-income housing in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. The organization owns 4,500 low- and moderate-income housing units in more than 25 communities, serving upwards of 9,000 residents.