Axis Philly just ran an article about the possibilities for reuse of Vaux High School and Reynolds Elementary School. The two schools, designed by the same Art Deco architect (Irwin T. Catharine), are ripe for development that utilizes their proximity to one another as an advantage. However, notable obstacles stand in the way.
Axis Philly writer Solomon Jones rightly points out that the $18 million dollars required to bring both buildings up to code represents a huge roadblock for development. And though the buildings could be a huge opportunity for the right developer, attempting to repair them could be a road to ruin if developers weren't able to make the project lucrative.
PennDesign's plan for the buildings was to make Reynolds elementary into a development of affordable housing units, and Vaux into a charter school with an attached medical clinic and community center. Though the community surrounding the schools could certainly use more affordable housing, medical clinics, and community centers, where might the funding come from?
Solomon Jones is hopeful that development fuelled by Temple student housing needs and gentrification will provide enough appreciation in property values to convince developers that the two buildings have potential. For now, though, they'll sit vacant.
· North Central: One Block, Two School Closures [Temple Neighborhoods]
· Why All Philly Schools Look the Same [Hidden City]
· PennDesign students develop a model for managing closed school buildings [Plan Philly]
· Can Temple expansion bring a future for Vaux and Reynolds? [Axis Philly]
· Two Historic Art Deco Schools to Close on Same Block [Curbed Philly]