The first half of apartments at the former West Philadelphia High School should be ready for residents in a year, according to the developer who gave locals an update on the project at last night's Walnut Hill Community meeting.
Andrew Bank of Brooklyn-based Strong Place Partners told residents that interior demolition of half of the historic property was completed in the summer. And despite running into "some things we didn't expect"—the school experienced vandalism and theft during the demo phase—the plan is to continue construction so that the first half of apartments can be move-in ready in 2017.
The update comes after the announcement earlier this month that the project received a $24 million loan. Although Bank proposed turning the 442,200-square-foot property into 268 apartments back in 2012, it took awhile for the loan to come through given that it was the developer's first Philly project.
At a June 2015 meeting, Bank told Garden Court residents that the first phase of the project would include 130 apartments, followed by construction on the center and western half of the building, which will have another 150 units. Commercial space is also planned along Locust Street.
A 2014 document with the City of Philadelphia's Office of Economic Opportunity reveals that the gyms and auditoriums will be rehabbed at a later phase and used for commercial space as tenants come through. It also says that resident amenities will include a gym, game room, laundry rooms, and a marketing office.