Baynard House in Wilmington, Del., offers its residents something seldom unavailable anywhere elese.
Believed to be one of the first schools ever converted into a condominium apartment building, a 67-year-old stone landmark now provides the opportunity for residents to own a custom-designed condominium home complete with a fireplace or woodburning stove in an historic former school.
The solid granite and brownstone building, once Public School No. 30, is listed by the National Register of Historic Buildings and Places. It offers 16 one-and two-bedroom apartments, many of which have been tailored to buyer specifications.
Most of the apartments had been sold by the time the conversion of the building at 2400 Baynard Boulevard was completed recently by developer Philip G. Crifasi, Jr. and his partner, NCHP Development Corp., a subsidiary of The National Housing Partnership. Average price per unit is about $64,000.
The gymnasium and staging area on the lower level of the old school -- together with the first-floor classrooms -- were transformed into two-level "townhouses", with wrought-iron spiral staircases proving access between the floors. Second-floor classrooms became one- and two-bedroom units, and the third floor provides one-bedroom units with lofts.
Each unit has at least 1 1/2 baths, central air conditioning and a complete kitchen. The solid oak floors of the original building have been preserved as have chair rails, ornate ceilings, old windows and their wide sills that have been refurbished with specially selected moldings. The windows have been individually fitted with storm windows.
Insulation and soundproofing were added throughout. The two-foot-thick granite exterior walls were bolstered with four inches of insulation and more than two inches of plaster on the inside. While it is difficult to predict the utility bills, "We're telling people the building is tight," commented Crifasi. He's housing rehabilitation planner from Washington, D.C. He bought the building in 1979 from the city which was interested in preventing the vacant old school from deteriorating further.
The construction loan of about $525,000 for the conversion was obtained from Farmers Bank of Delaware in Wilmington. Cork Construction Corp., Ltd., Wilmington, was the construction manager.Architect for the unusual conversion was Greenhouse & Associates, Wilmington.
Equity capital and joint venture funds came from the National Housing Partnership, headquarted in Washington, D.C. It's privately owned and operated organization which either directly develops projects or enters into partnerships with builders, developers, and nonprofit and community groups at local levels for the construction of housing, either multifamily rental or single-family sales.