Frizlen Group Architects has nearly completed its transformation of the former St. Rose of Lima School building in North Buffalo into their latest batch of luxury loft apartments, The School Lofts @ Parkside.
The three-story, 26,000 square foot Collegiate Gothic style school building was built in 1926 as part of the St. Lima Roman Catholic Church Complex, which consists of five buildings and has served the surrounding community for 90 years. The school building is located on the corner of Parkside Avenue and Winston Road in a predominantly residential neighborhood. While the church is still very active, the school closed eight years ago and has sat vacant since.
The Frizlen Group was drawn to the opportunity to add to their roster of historic conversion projects, while providing new residential opportunities. According to Jason Frizlen, property manager, the influx of young professional residents at The School Lofts will provide an economic boost to North Buffalo, particularly for businesses along Hertel Avenue, which is a mere two blocks from the site. Hertel is also home to another of Frizlen’s buildings – an infill project that became the Lofts @ 1685 Hertel.
After a $4 million, 14-month conversion project, the St. Rose of Lima School building is now home to 21 apartments – a mix of one and two-bedroom lofts, including four two-bedroom/two-bathroom apartments. Rents range from $750-$950 for a one-bedroom; $1,000-$1,150 for a two-bedroom; and $1,225-$1,325 for a two-bedroom/two-bathroom loft. All apartments have high-efficiency heating, hardwood flooring throughout, twelve-foot ceilings, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. Tenants also will have amenities such as bike storage, laundry facilities in the building (some apartments have machines in the unit), intercom system, on-site maintenance, and reserved parking in the lot adjacent to the building.
Frizlen worked with Preservation Studios to obtain historic tax credits for the conversion, maintaining several of the school’s original features. Nearly all of the building’s large windows and woodwork have been refurbished in their original state, and you’ll find original chalkboards from the former classroom spaces in several of the apartments. One can also find ‘Bethlehem Steel’ stamped into the steelwork on the staircases at the North and South ends of the building. Preservation Studios has also submitted for the St. Rose of Lima complex to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, noting its significance “for the highly intact examples of Collegiate Gothic and Neo-Formalist style buildings that give it a unique feel from similar parish campuses around the city.”
Renovations of the classrooms on the top two floors is complete and the lofts are nearly fully leased. The final piece to be completed is the main floor, which contains a former gymnasium and auditorium with the original stage still intact. The Frizlen Group is exploring creative ways to re-purpose these larger spaces to provide additional tenant amenities. A full commercial kitchen also exists on this floor and will be leased out.
Frizlen Group has also taken on the conversion of two other church schools purchased from the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo – St. Thomas Aquinas School and St. Teresa’s in South Buffalo. The St. Thomas School, originally built in 1926, will house 32 luxury loft apartments (The School Lofts @ Abbott), slated for leasing in February 2017. St. Teresa’s, built in 1906, will become The School Lofts @ Mineral Springs, with a total of 37 luxury lofts. That project is slated to open in April 2017.
Feature image provided by Preservation Studios. Interior photos provided by Frizlen Group Architects.