Former Jackson Elementary School Could Become $ 7.5 Million Apartment and Office


JACKSON, MI – A former Jackson School building may become residential and commercial space in the future.

Detroit Rock Solid, Inc., with help from the Jackson Anchor Initiative, partners with a Jackson medical practice to transform Allen Elementary School, 900 Pearl St., into a mixed-use residential and commercial space in $ 7.5 million.

The plan would create 50 one-bedroom apartments and studios at market price, as well as public spaces and professional offices.

“We’re sticking to the smaller spaces because in the area you have a lot of houses and duplexes with three or four bedrooms,” said Martin Herz, owner / CEO of Detroit Rock Solid.

Detroit Rock Solid Inc. had previously sought to purchase the Vermeulen and Masonic Temple buildings from the city of Jackson in December 2020. But Jackson City Council instead chose to sell the Vermeulen building to the Jackson School of the Arts.

Related: Jackson School of the Arts abandons Masonic temple and purchases Vermeulen building instead

So, Detroit Rock Solid, Inc. switched to Allen School, which was built in 1927 and was an elementary school when it was closed by Jackson Public Schools at the end of the 2002-03 school year due to the decline in registrations.

In 2010, the building was acquired by a group of doctors as a support office for a Nigerian medical school run by Bowen University. Medical school failed due to funding issues, said Scott Fleming, CEO of the Jackson Anchor Initiative.

The group of doctors, however, still own the building, which has been vacant for more than 15 years, and is partnering with Detroit Rock Solid to turn it into apartments, Fleming said.

“This project continues the success of the reallocation and restoration of historic buildings into new opportunities for residents and businesses of Jackson,” said Fleming. “Developer investment will continue to build the community through partnerships with local entrepreneurs.”

The two-story building covers 53,000 square feet and is located next to Henry Ford Allegiance Health. One-bedroom apartments are expected to average 650 square feet and studios will cover 500 square feet. About 15% of the space would be used for professional offices and 5% for public space.

The plans are to keep some aspects of the classrooms when the building is redeveloped, Herz said. This includes keeping chalkboards on apartment walls and placing classy furniture in common areas, he said.

Apartment rental prices are currently unknown, but are expected to be determined in the near future, Fleming said.

Fleming is also working with the city to potentially receive funding through its Ready Redevelopment Communities funds, as well as a tax rebate through the Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act. Additionally, the city’s help is being requested to add incentives, such as historic tax credits and brownfield redevelopment incentives, officials said.

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