A little over a year ago, we told you to put in an offer on the former Walter Smith School building in Point Breeze, at the corner of 19th & Wharton. The school was part of a group of twenty shuttered schools being offered for sale by PIDC, and represented an interesting opportunity with the combination of a large reusable building and a sizable lot seemingly ready for development. By September, it was reported by Newsworks that the Concordia Group, a developer based in Maryland, was negotiating for the right to purchase Smith and several other former schools.
Clearly, the sale has gone through. It has came to our attention that the developers, in partnership with HOW Properties, have pulled a zoning permit to convert the school building into apartments with 45 units and a roof deck. We hear they'll be rentals, and that they'll be market-rate units. We're pretty confident that this is a by-right development by the way.
The permit doesn't mention the large lot on the south side of the property which we imagine will get redeveloped sooner than later. By our calculations, given the huge size of the parcel, 50,2000 sqft, the developers can build 105 units by right with no parking requirement. With 45 units spoken for, they could build townhomes, duplexes, or triplexes, creating up to 60 additional units.
With Concordia recently presenting plans to redevelop the former Vare School in Pennsport, it seems likely that their final plans for the Smith School will soon come into focus. And considering that they paid $6.8M for Smith, Vare, and three other former schools, we suspect we'll be hearing more from these developers in the coming months and years.