Homestead, Pennsylvania Trio Transform Abandoned Schools into Apartments

In 2019, three ambitious partners, Jesse Wig, Adam Colucci and Dan Spanovich, embarked on a unique project in Homestead, Pennsylvania. The trio purchased an abandoned high school called Bowtie High for $100,000 and converted it into a 31-unit apartment building.

A Second Chance

During the renovation of Bowtie High, the school across the street went up for sale. The partners excitingly jumped into a second venture and purchased the Schwab School for $90,000 in October 2020. This second building also became an apartment complex.

Reviving Neglected Buildings

Spanovich expressed his satisfaction with the transformation process, saying, “My partners and I really enjoy taking these buildings from nothing into something. Schwab was a building that a lot of people in the community had looked at and had come to the conclusion that it just couldn’t be done. That challenge is really what drives my partners and I.”

A Historical Renovation

The Schwab School, a former manual training school named after the American steel magnate Charles M. Schwab, had been left abandoned since its closure in 1980. The partners had to overcome massive cosmetic and structural challenges to transform it into a residential building.

Challenges and Rewards

The renovation of the Schwab building was a bigger challenge as compared to Bowtie High. It took 18 months to complete and involved a hefty budget of $4.5 million. The partners also had to take advantage of state and federal tax credits to fund the project.

Present Success and Future Plans

Since leasing started, the buildings are enjoying 85% occupancy and are turning a profit. Residents can enjoy amenities such as a double-decker garage, a rooftop deck, a basketball court, and a gym in both of the sister buildings.

Though there are no immediate plans for new projects, the partners are not ruling out the possibility of more ambitious ventures. Spanovich highlighted the satisfaction and fulfillment they get from bringing old buildings back to life. “The feeling that you get when you walk into this building, knowing what it looked like before and knowing that people said it just couldn’t be done, and seeing life in the building… It’s the best feeling in the world,” he said.