The historic Central School building’s halls and rooms are no longer vacant — crews recently started renovating the building into residential lofts that are now on the market.
“There’s great one bedrooms, really cool two bedrooms, and duplexes with three bedrooms,” John McLinden, School Street developer said of the building’s plans. “And the show stopper is the 3,000-square-foot penthouse unit. It’s an awesome space up there with 15-foot high ceilings, a great room, and an outdoor terrace with a fireplace.”
The SchoolStreet’s experienced team is renovating the old school into 15 loft units. Six of them, opened first to Libertyville residents, have been priced under $230,000 in an effort to make owning a piece of the SchoolStreet property attainable to the community. The excitement is already growing. According to McLinden, four units have already been reserved.
“It’s a different buyer,” McLinden says of the lofts’ interested clients. “It’s somebody that recognizes the wow factor of the school. Who realizes that this doesn’t exist in the suburbs, to have this space and this light and all of the things that School Street has to offer.”
“The exterior is pretty much going to be intact,” he explains. “For the most part it’s going to have the historic school look.”
He says there will be changes to the interior to make the units more practical as living spaces. The hallways will be narrower, adding the extra space to the individual units. The chalkboards and lockers, though McLinden recognizes the romance of keeping them, will be taken down.
Currently, the construction crew is expediting a model unit so that buyers will have an idea what the finished product will look like.
The SchoolStreet project, a New Urbanism development focused on the front porch revival, has been successful, with homes selling quickly despite the current housing market.
Its popularity grew in the fall of 2010 when renowned architect and author of The Not So Big House, Sarah Susanka, announced she would design a show home for the
Crews broke ground on Susanka’s home in late April, the same week the first closing took place for the first sold home. McLinden says that only two lots for the original 26 homes are still available.
The SchoolStreet team is excited for their next big event, a block party, scheduled for May 30.
“By that time, Sarah’s house will be framed and the windows will be in. We’ll take people on tours, “McLinden says. “The fire department is scheduled to come. You know all of the regular block party stuff but in the setting of School Street and opened to everybody.”