Longfellow School apartments win $1.8M in state historic tax credits

The vacant Longfellow school complex on the 200 block of Salem Avenue. Developers want to convert it into housing and build new apartments. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

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The vacant Longfellow school complex on the 200 block of Salem Avenue. Developers want to convert it into housing and build new apartments. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

The redevelopment of a former school property near the Gem City Market has been awarded $1.84 million in state historic tax credits, the state and the project developer have announced.

With a total project cost of $30.2 million, the redevelopment of the former school at 245 Salem Ave., in Dayton’s Grafton Hill neighborhood, will see the school complex rehabilitated into 54 senior apartments, the Ohio Department of Development said.

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Also integral to the project: A new building on an adjacent lot that will hold an additional 72 units, with performance spaces in the school that can be used by a local theater group, according to the state’s description.

“Original features of the school will be incorporated into the residential reuse such as pressed metal ceilings, terrazzo floors, and broad hallways,” the state said.

“I think it’s an exciting project. I’m more excited about the project than you can possibly imagine,” Tim Forbess, chief executive of G.F. Bailey, one of the co-developers and joint partners on the project, said Wednesday.

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Dayton Public Schools is selling the Longfellow school property at 245 Salem Ave. to an investment group, G.F. Bailey, that hopes to redevelop the site. JEREMY P. KELLEY / STAFF

Dayton Public Schools is selling the Longfellow school property at 245 Salem Ave. to an investment group, G.F. Bailey, that hopes to redevelop the site. JEREMY P. KELLEY / STAFF

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Dayton Public Schools is selling the Longfellow school property at 245 Salem Ave. to an investment group, G.F. Bailey, that hopes to redevelop the site. JEREMY P. KELLEY / STAFF

The work is in line with the neighborhood’s aspirations and concerns, the developers believe.

The campus, purchased by the G.F. Bailey Co. and partner Weyland Ventures last year, will be repurposed into a 150-unit age 55-plus residential community that will be programmed as welcoming for the LGBTQ+ community and allies, the developers said in a release.

Included in the project will be the adjacent Dolly Manor apartment complex, which raises the residential unit count to 150, Forbess said.

“United Church Homes, Inc. (UCH), the senior living community partner in the project, has a long commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusive initiatives and a focus on providing safe and secure housing for older adults,” the developers said.

“While we have been involved in the consultative process up until now, we look forward to working with the developers and United Church Homes to bring this new community into the city, “ Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein said in the release. “We are excited to work with this project and to celebrate its success.”

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