News and Updates

Adaptive Reuse Project Turns Former All Saints School Into 25 New Condos

The former All Saints School, built in 1897, at 305 Whiton Street in the Lafayette area of Jersey has recently been converted into 25 market-rate and affordable condos.

All Saints School closed in 2007, then languished empty for several years before being purchased by New Jersey Community Capital. Financing for the project was secured from City National Bank and the N.J. Housing & Mortgage Finance Agency. Devino Architects and Associates provided all site plan, construction drawings and site supervision work. Black Dog Construction completed the building in June of 2016. There are a total of 25 units including 4 affordable units funded by Jersey City’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

The conversion turned virtually each classroom into a residential apartment. The basement level, which also housed the cafeteria, had large windows on all of the walls allowing them to build 5 garden level units.

“One of the challenges was to convert the gym and auditorium into residential units,” said Dennis Devino, Principal Architect. We ended up designing 3 duplexes on the first floor. We also took advantage of the high ceilings in the former classrooms by making them loft-like by incorporating mezzanines into some of the upper floor units.”

The entire exterior of the building was restored and inside, original details were kept such as the original staircases, stained glass windows and other features including frosted glass windows, tilework on the walls and some of the flooring. In keeping with the school theme, even the apartment numbers are small chalkboards & all corridor lighting fixtures have an old school style to them evoking the late 19th century time period of the building’s construction.

The building is an Energy Star building, which to be eligible for certification, must earn an ENERGY STAR score of 75 or higher, indicating that it performs better than at least 75 percent of similar buildings nationwide. All of the units have been purchased and ranged in price from $115k – $400k.

This project is the first-of-its-kind homeownership adaptive-reuse project in the Lafayette neighborhood in decades. It wouldn’t have been possible without the foresight and financial status of New Jersey Community Capital. “It is a guiding star principal at NJCC that we seek to foster community revitalization in long-neglected neighborhoods,” said Wayne Meyer, NJCC’s President. Founded in 1987 as a Community Development Financial Institution, NJCC is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization.

Justina Hill, director of marketing at Devino Architects likes what it’s doing for the neighborhood. “All of the buyers are going to be living here. They can’t sell or flip the units. This must be their primary residence for at least 3 years before they can sell it for anything over what they paid for it. After 4 years, they can sell it for 25% more than they paid. After 7 years of ownership, they can sell it at full market rate. This contingency is put in place to help develop, grow and improve the neighborhood.”

Devino Architects and Associates is currently working on a similar project, the conversion of a vacant church, in the same neighborhood. “Devino Architects and Associates is proud to have been a part of this project and are excited to contribute to the redevelopment of the Lafayette community.”

For the original article (and photos), click here.