The front of the Hawthorne School Apartments in McPherson

Apartments in old Dayton school house could become condos

CityWide wants to renovate and convert about 20 apartments in an old school building into condos in the McPherson Town neighborhood, just north of downtown, according to city of Dayton documents.

The Hawthorne School Apartments, on the 200 block of McDaniel St., are being targeted for conversion by CityWide, which is a private nonprofit group that focuses on economic development in the Dayton area.

The building, formerly an elementary school, was converted into rental housing in the late 1990s.

CityWide needs the city to restructure a debt agreement on the property for the conversion project to move forward, said Brian Heitkamp, president of CityWide.

“We’re still finalizing the deal itself, but we needed to get the debt piece in line if we are to go forward this way,” he said. “We are preparing to turn these into condos, but this is the first step.”

The Hawthorne School Apartments feature 14-foot ceilings with pressed tin and Victorian woodwork. Some have school blackboards and the original classroom and gym wood floors.

The city, CityWide and McPherson Town Neighborhood Development Corp. worked together to convert the vacant, 110-year-old school into housing.

The apartment project cost about $1.57 million, which was paid for with federal block grants, HOME funds, a city loan and historic tax credits.

McPherson Town NDC and CityWide owned the building.

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The city of Dayton is looking at modifying a loan owed to it by CityWide that would support the conversion project.

Under the proposed loan agreement, CityWide plans to renovate and convert the apartments into condos, the sale of which are projected to bring in about $1.4 million.

Some of the money would go toward repaying city for the original $750,000 loan CityWide took out to help make the school into apartments. The remaining balance is nearly $681,600.

Local officials have said the greater downtown area needs more housing product that is for sale.

“The market is primed for this type of conversion and doing so promote sproperty ownership,” according to the city manager’s report for the contract modification agreement. City commissioners will vote on the request on Wednesday.

In 2014, CityWide converted the McCormick loft apartments near Fifth Third Field into 10 condos.

The McPherson neighborhood, named after one of the early family settlers, spans a handful of blocks, north of downtown and the river, south of Interstate 75.

MORE: What it costs to buy 13 homes and condos downtown

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