CPDC to Commence Preservation of Historic Richmond School Building into New, Affordable Senior Apartments
More than a century ago, Highland Park Public school was erected at Brookland Park Boulevard and Second Avenue, near a thriving commercial corridor, as a symbol of neighborhood progress, success and stability. CPDC intends to bring that history full circle by restoring the historic building as 77 affordable, apartment homes to serve area seniors.
By: Trevor Smith
CPDC recently announced it will begin revitalization and historic preservation of a century-old school building in a prime area of Richmond’s Highland Park, VA community. The building—which has stood on the corner of Brookland Park Boulevard and Second Avenue for generations—will soon reopen as Highland Park Senior Apartments, offering 77 new and affordable apartments for seniors currently housed at the Richmond Redevelopment & Housing Authority’s Fredrick A. Fay Towers.
Originally Highland Park Public School, CPDC’s new acquisition was built in 1909 and served thousands of students in Richmond’s Six Points neighborhood for sixty years until its closure in the 1970s. Listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register on account of its Mediterranean Revival style architecture, the building is also recognized as a symbol of the evolution of Richmond’s public education system.
Following decades of vacancy, in 1990 Highland Park Public School was converted into a residential apartment complex for seniors and renamed Brookland Park Plaza Senior Apartments. That project ultimately failed and the building was once again abandoned and subject to deterioration, break-ins and vandalism.
With the scheduled 2016 opening of Highland Park Senior Apartments, CPDC is not only redeveloping a historic property in a vital section of the Six Points community, but is also working with local community leaders and groups with a mission to revitalize the neighborhood and its commercial corridor. The organization plans to assist the revitalization effort by helping connect residents—especially older adults and seniors—to resources currently lacking in the immediate neighborhood including healthcare, reliable transportation and healthy food options.
“The building—which has stood on the corner of Brookland Park Boulevard and Second Avenue for generations—will soon reopen as Highland Park Senior Apartments, offering 77 new and affordable apartments for seniors currently housed at the Richmond Redevelopment & Housing Authority’s Fredrick A. Fay Towers.”
CPDC brings more than 25 years of expertise in affordable housing, including adaptive reuse, historic preservation, resident relocation during renovation and senior resident engagement and services. Also integral to the organization’s mission is a long-term commitment to economically and socially strengthening neighborhoods surrounding its communities.
CPDC’s resident services team members who focus specifically on senior services have already met with future Highland Park Senior Apartments residents in the area to determine their needs. Resident input is necessary as the organization transitions residents into the Highland Park Apartments as smoothly as possible.
“We are currently in the process of building a senior services network that will maximize independence for seniors living in CPDC communities by connecting them to critical supportive services,” said Pamela Lyons, CPDC Senior Vice President, Community Development Programs. “Highland Park has a large contingent of senior residents who can benefit from these resources.”
In addition to Highland Park Senior Apartments, CPDC has purchased the Nehemiah House Community Center, a vacant church on a half-acre lot directly across from the new apartments. With input and direction from the Richmond and Six Points community, the developer plans to replace the vacant church with a newly constructed, mixed-use, community-serving project to benefit Highland Park residents.