3 Renovators Turned an Old High School into a 31-Unit Apartment Building
Would you go back to high school again? If your answer is yes, there’s good news! Technically, you can. Just ask the three millennials who turned an abandoned high school that had been closed for over a decade into a 27,000-square-foot, 31-unit apartment building.
In an interview for CNBC’s Make It, the trio of investors — real estate professionals Jesse Wig, Adam Colucci, and Dan Spanovich — explained that they originally purchased the building, located seven miles from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for $100,000. From there, they spent $3.3 million on renovations, which started in early 2020 and took roughly 18 months.
Because the building was an older high school, the renovation received historic tax credits from the federal government and the state of Pennsylvania. The catch? They had to adhere to some guidelines for preserving the building’s history.
“The main things were to keep the historical significance of the exterior of the building, and the hallways of the building,” Colucci told CNBC.
The trio decided to call the apartment complex Bowtie High, the same name as the original high school. They began renting out apartments in October of 2021. Of the apartments, 27 are one-bedrooms available to rent for $1,400 per month and four are two-bedrooms available to rent for $1,600 per month.
While the building looks drastically different from the abandoned school it used to be, Wig, Colucci, and Spanovich were eager to lean into the building’s unique offerings, such as its 12-foot-high ceilings, original terrazzo floors, porcelain crown molding, and its 10-foot-wide hallways.
The school’s main auditorium was restored “pretty much from ruin” into the apartment building lounge, with an original bookshelf from the space fitting in well alongside more modern art and furniture. While the trio added netting to divide the gymnasium in two and make it seem less large, the original basketball court is still intact for tenants to enjoy.
Apartment units are also styled with more modern elements, such as a white subway tile backsplash and open kitchen shelving. One unique feature? The back wall of the living room is made up of chalkboards from the school’s classrooms, making it customizable for residents.
To learn more and get a closer peek at what life in a former high school is like, you can visit Bowtie High’s official website here.