ShareThis Page
Real Estate

Old school has new use in Mt. Washington

| Saturday, May 23, 2015, 9:00 p.m.
The main living room and kitchen of the two bedroom apartments available at the Lofts of Mount Washington, a new apartment and townhouse site developed by A.M. Rodriguez Associates Inc. at the former Prospect School in Mt. Washington on Monday, May 4, 2015. The plan holds studio, one, two, and three bedroom apartments, as well as one and two bedroom townhouses.
Stephanie Strasburg | Trib Total Media
The main living room and kitchen of the two bedroom apartments available at the Lofts of Mount Washington, a new apartment and townhouse site developed by A.M. Rodriguez Associates Inc. at the former Prospect School in Mt. Washington on Monday, May 4, 2015. The plan holds studio, one, two, and three bedroom apartments, as well as one and two bedroom townhouses.
The exterior of the Lofts of Mount Washington, a new apartment and townhouse site developed by A.M. Rodriguez Associates Inc. at the former Prospect School in Mt. Washington on Monday, May 4, 2015.
Stephanie Strasburg | Trib Total Media
The exterior of the Lofts of Mount Washington, a new apartment and townhouse site developed by A.M. Rodriguez Associates Inc. at the former Prospect School in Mt. Washington on Monday, May 4, 2015.
The view of Downtown from the rooftop terrace at the Lofts of Mount Washington, a new apartment and town home site developed by A.M. Rodriguez Associates Inc. at the former Prospect School in Mt. Washington on Monday, May 4, 2015.
Stephanie Strasburg | Trib Total Media
The view of Downtown from the rooftop terrace at the Lofts of Mount Washington, a new apartment and town home site developed by A.M. Rodriguez Associates Inc. at the former Prospect School in Mt. Washington on Monday, May 4, 2015.
A common-space lounge off rooftop terrace at the Lofts of Mount Washington hosts Art Deco-inspired decoration on Monday, May 4, 2015. The art is a nod to the time that the former school was built in 1931.
Stephanie Strasburg | Trib Total Media
A common-space lounge off rooftop terrace at the Lofts of Mount Washington hosts Art Deco-inspired decoration on Monday, May 4, 2015. The art is a nod to the time that the former school was built in 1931.
The lounge of the Lofts of Mount Washington, a new apartment and townhouse site developed by A.M. Rodriguez Associates Inc. at the former Prospect School in Mt. Washington on Monday, May 4, 2015.
Stephanie Strasburg | Trib Total Media
The lounge of the Lofts of Mount Washington, a new apartment and townhouse site developed by A.M. Rodriguez Associates Inc. at the former Prospect School in Mt. Washington on Monday, May 4, 2015.
One of the bedrooms with an adjoining bath in one of the two bedroom apartments available at the Lofts of Mount Washington, a new apartment and townhouse site at the former Prospect School in Mt. Washington on Monday, May 4, 2015. The plan holds studio, one, two, and three bedroom apartments, as well as one and two bedroom townhouses.
Stephanie Strasburg | Trib Total Media
One of the bedrooms with an adjoining bath in one of the two bedroom apartments available at the Lofts of Mount Washington, a new apartment and townhouse site at the former Prospect School in Mt. Washington on Monday, May 4, 2015. The plan holds studio, one, two, and three bedroom apartments, as well as one and two bedroom townhouses.
The Joe Negri Auditorium in the Lofts of Mount Washington, a new apartment and townhouse site developed by A.M. Rodriguez Associates Inc. at the former Prospect School in Mt. Washington on Monday, May 4, 2015.
Stephanie Strasburg | Trib Total Media
The Joe Negri Auditorium in the Lofts of Mount Washington, a new apartment and townhouse site developed by A.M. Rodriguez Associates Inc. at the former Prospect School in Mt. Washington on Monday, May 4, 2015.
A detail of some of the metalwork in the Art-Deco style metalwork around the stage at the Joe Negri Auditorium in the Lofts of Mount Washington, a new apartment and townhouse site developed by A.M. Rodriguez Associates Inc. at the former Prospect School in Mt. Washington on Monday, May 4, 2015.
Stephanie Strasburg | Trib Total Media
A detail of some of the metalwork in the Art-Deco style metalwork around the stage at the Joe Negri Auditorium in the Lofts of Mount Washington, a new apartment and townhouse site developed by A.M. Rodriguez Associates Inc. at the former Prospect School in Mt. Washington on Monday, May 4, 2015.
A mural from the days of the former Prospect School still adorns the stairwell at the Lofts of Mount Washington on Monday, May 4, 2015.
Stephanie Strasburg | Trib Total Media
A mural from the days of the former Prospect School still adorns the stairwell at the Lofts of Mount Washington on Monday, May 4, 2015.
The kitchen of the two bedroom apartments available at the Lofts of Mount Washington, a new apartment and townhouse site developed by A.M. Rodriguez Associates Inc. at the former Prospect School in Mt. Washington on Monday, May 4, 2015. The plan holds studio, one, two, and three bedroom apartments, as well as one and two bedroom townhouses.
Stephanie Strasburg | Trib Total Media
The kitchen of the two bedroom apartments available at the Lofts of Mount Washington, a new apartment and townhouse site developed by A.M. Rodriguez Associates Inc. at the former Prospect School in Mt. Washington on Monday, May 4, 2015. The plan holds studio, one, two, and three bedroom apartments, as well as one and two bedroom townhouses.
Original artwork divides townhouses from the lounge at the Lofts of Mount Washington, a new apartment and townhouse site developed by A.M. Rodriguez Associates Inc. at the former Prospect School in Mt. Washington on Monday, May 4, 2015.
Stephanie Strasburg | Trib Total Media
Original artwork divides townhouses from the lounge at the Lofts of Mount Washington, a new apartment and townhouse site developed by A.M. Rodriguez Associates Inc. at the former Prospect School in Mt. Washington on Monday, May 4, 2015.
The lounge of the Lofts of Mount Washington, a new apartment and townhouse site developed by A.M. Rodriguez Associates Inc. at the former Prospect School in Mt. Washington on Monday, May 4, 2015.
Stephanie Strasburg | Trib Total Media
The lounge of the Lofts of Mount Washington, a new apartment and townhouse site developed by A.M. Rodriguez Associates Inc. at the former Prospect School in Mt. Washington on Monday, May 4, 2015.

Lesson plans have changed at what once was the Prospect School in Mt. Washington.

Hallways that took students to math classes now take residents to apartments. A stage that once featured young performers now is the setting for community gatherings.

Prospect School has become the Lofts of Mount Washington, a 67-unit apartment complex giving new life to a city school built in 1931 and closed in 2006.

“It really helps the community,” said Ilyssa Manspeizer, executive director of the Mt. Washington Community Development Corporation. “When a building sits there empty, it can really hurt the neighborhood.”

Victor Rodriguez, president of A.M. Rodriguez Associates, said his firm did the development of the site with the surrounding area in mind.

“We talked to neighborhood groups to find out their thinking and to let them know what we were doing,” he said.

The school for elementary and junior-high students had two auditoriums. The smaller one, which seats 150, has been maintained as a site for concerts, movies and meetings. It will be open for community use. Its placement in the building made it accessible to outsiders without entering the apartment area.

It has been named the Joe Negri Auditorium in honor of the guitarist and TV figure who attended Prospect between 1935 and 1942.

“That school was really special,” Negri said. “It was in that auditorium where I was introduced to the music of Stephen Foster.”

The stage area of the larger performance space has been made into a pair of two-story townhouses. The wooden floor has been refinished and is the base of both units. The large auditorium has a common area for residents that features a bar, furniture for lounging and electronic charging stations.

The gym is going to be made into a fitness club, Rodriguez said, and will be open to the public. It is too big of a room for apartment residents alone, he said.

The neighborhood does not have a fitness facility.

His company, founded by his father, Anthony, has converted a number of schools into retirement facilities, so this kind of project is not new. But it is the first time the company has made one into apartments.

Rodriguez said his company began work on the $13 million redevelopment in March 2013.

The site offers studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units, including two-story townhouses. Rents range from $850 to $2,200. A week after the site opened in May, 50 of the 67 units were leased.

The pet-friendly apartments are equipped with kitchen appliances and a washer and dryer, but the building does not have storage facilities.

The apartments are illuminated by the big windows that are typical of buildings of this type, Rodriguez said, but in some cases, the top glass panels had been covered to block out some of the heat and sunlight.

“But the light only came through to about here,” he said, standing at the edge of a kitchen area in one of the apartments. “So we had to open them up to let more light in.”

The buildings sit near the top of Mt. Washington, and some of the apartments have good views of the Downtown area and the hilly neighborhood.

The developer said his company added a City View Terrace “to make sure everyone has a view.”

That common area has an indoor social room and an outdoor area on a rooftop that “will be big on any fireworks night,” Rodriguez said.

Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at bkarlovits@tribweb.com or 412-320-7852.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me