California developer hopes to turn Roosevelt school into apartments

LIMA —In the search to build more housing units in Lima, an out-of-state developer is looking to turn what was old into something that is new.

The former Roosevelt elementary school is in the process of being transformed into 25 new apartments. The property located at 1608 W. Spring St. was built in 1923. In the early 2000s, the school closed and was purchased by David Yermian in 2009. The California property owner is working with local real estate company Hartsock Realty and designers from Brick Street Studio to turn the building into something new. Brick Street Studio met with the City Planning Commission to discuss re-zoning the property from Class I residential into a Class III residential property.

Brick Street Studio Director Jeff Krouse said the apartments will be new, modern and market-rate.

“Tenants will occupy all three levels of the building,” said Krouse. “It’s a split level construction, when you enter at street level, you’re halfway between what we’ll call the basement and the first floor — So the entire building will be repurposed. It will be sealed up tight with new windows, plumbing, heating and electric HVAC. We’re not increasing the building volume at all. We’re simply updating what’s there.”

Krouse said Hartsock Realty will manage the property.

But the possibility of new neighbors isn’t a welcome addition for some residents.

Local resident Benny Hager shared concerns of the building being transformed into housing.

“We’re really worried about our neighborhood,” said Hager. “That is 25 new apartments. That is a lot of people coming to our neighborhood. ”

Mayor Sharetta Smith said the city currently has a 95% occupancy rate for rental properties in the City of Lima.

“I do want to thank the owner for moving forward on removing not only blight in our community, but also helping us to meet the housing needs.” said Smith.

Associate Planner of the Department of community development Sophia Fisher weighed in.

“The parcel is currently surrounded primarily by single family homes,” said Fisher. “In terms of zoning impact, …the re-zoning will of course slightly increase the traffic as it stands now — However, if we compare that traffic to the traffic of the original intended use of the parcel as a school (with employees, buses and students) it will probably actually be less traffic than that what was once seen there.”

The proposal for re-zoning the property was ‘elevated’ to City Council. Although the building is in the process of re-model, it remains in the early stages.

Reach Precious Grundy at 567-242-0351.