A group of in-the-know friends banded together in 2019 to buy an abandoned high school for just $100,000, which they later turned into a 31-unit apartment complex — complete with fanciful amenities.
Jesse Vig, a 34-year-old real estate agent, first saw opportunity when the school — located in Homestead, Pennsylvania — was listed for sale that same year.
A 35-year-old investor, Adam Colucci, then got involved and considered several options for the building – including a wedding venue, a beer garden and even a WeWork space.
Dan Spanovich, a 41-year-old developer and multifamily property manager, decided to team up with his friends when Colucci and Vig asked for their help.
After Spanovich became involved, they eventually reached the decision to convert the building into a residential property. The Post has reached out to all three for comment.
Three years later, the building now has 27 one-bedroom homes and four two-bedroom units for up to $1,650 a month. Each modern manufactured apartment has a washer and dryer.
Vig explained, “I was informed about the school and, to be very honest, I wasn’t sure what made the most sense to do with the building.” cnbc make it, “But for that price, I had to get it and hope we can come up with a good alternative in the future.”
“We had big eyes, and after two years of spinning our wheels, all the pros told us the end of the road was going to be residential,” Colucci said.
“Replacing these old buildings can be very challenging,” Spanovich said. “We were willing to take the risk regardless of what we would use it for. We knew that at this cost, we would be able to find some use for it that would generate enough returns to satisfy everyone.
The building had been abandoned for years, and it took some time to draw up the floor plans.
What were once classrooms have been converted into apartments – and what was once the school auditorium has been converted into a shared lounge space.
On the ground floor is a state-of-the-art full gym, including a half basketball court, weights and Peloton bikes.
The partners were expected to get around 60 apartments, spread over 50,000 sq ft. But in the end, he was left with only 25,000 square feet of leasable square feet.
The large hallways, stairways, gym, and auditorium eventually took up too much space.
Colucci said of the building, “We worked very closely with the National Park Services to make sure it had historic value.” “We went out of our way to ensure that the school maintained its historic appearance.”
The partners received historic tax credits from the federal level and from Pennsylvania, but would not disclose the exact amount.
Six months after the apartment building became functional, it was fully leased out. All the profits and expenses are divided equally among the three partners.
However, the idea didn’t just stop at this one abandoned school. After acknowledging the success of his first investment, he purchased two more schools.
He bought one of them in August 2020 for just $90,000. But this building had more competition.
“When buildings look good, there are so many people bidding on them, so you almost wish they looked like haunted houses, so you have less competition,” Spanovich quipped.
His plan for the second school is to convert it into 33 residential units, mostly one-bedroom options and a few studios.
“Someone once told me that you will fail to buy beautiful buildings, so be careful,” Colucci said. “Luckily we have Dan on our team, and he was able to figure out the logistics to make it work.”
All three partners explained that they wanted residents to have full access to all amenities, including the auditorium in the first school, a double-decker parking garage, and a roof deck in the second building.
“Seeing the improvement in the community has been rewarding and rewarding,” said Vig.