The long-vacant Henry P. Archer School is being redeveloped into 89 affordable homes for seniors in Charleston, South Carolina.
Nonprofit Humanities Foundation purchased the Archer School from the Charleston County School Board in 2020 using funds from the city’s Affordable Housing Bond Fund. The CLIMB Fund also provided additional funding to assist with predevelopment costs.
“It seems like everything we have ever done has prepared us for the work we are currently doing on the Eastside,” said Tracy Doran, president of Humanities Foundation. “We look forward to providing 89 beautiful affordable apartments for seniors in a true community landmark and thank our many funding partners and team members for coming together to make Archer Apartments a reality.”
The South Carolina-based nonprofit, in a joint venture with James Doran Co., has begun construction and expects to complete the notable project in early 2024.
“We are grateful to our partner, the Humanities Foundation, for taking on the $42 million rehabilitation of the former Archer School to convert the building into affordable housing for our senior population,” said Charleston mayor John Tecklenburg. “Repurposing a building that has sat empty for more than 20 years and creating 89 affordable rental homes serving our aging population is a win-win-win for the city of Charleston.”
Preservationists fought earlier attempts to demolish the 1930s-era school, according to local news reports.
Funding partners include the city of Charleston, Red Stone Equity Partners, Sugar Creek Capital, Chase, Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust, Charleston Redevelopment Corp., South Carolina Housing, and the Housing Authority of the City of Charleston.
Chase provided $31 million in construction financing—$23 million in tax-exempt bonds and $8 million in taxable bonds.
“With the ongoing demand for affordable housing, the 89 new safe, stable, and quality homes for seniors that will result from the redevelopment of the former Henry P. Archer school will be a valuable addition to the Charleston community,” said Chase community development banking vice president Caitlin Gossens.
In addition to creating housing for seniors, the Humanities Foundation is preserving a historically significant piece of the city, added Darren T. Swanson, acquisitions managing director at Red Stone Equity Partners.
“The need for quality, affordable housing has never been greater than it is right now,” Swanson said. “At the same time, it has never been more challenging to build new communities in light of rising interest rates and rising costs due to global supply chain issues and overall inflationary pressures.”
Development partners include JDC Management, Martin Riley and Associates, Bello Garris Architects, Design Works, Forsberg Engineering and Surveying, ECS Southeast, and Trident Construction.