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Property Lines - Scott Olson

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Education / School funding / Real Estate & Retail

School acquires remainder of former Herron Art Institute

November 18, 2010

Herron High School original proposalHerron High School has acquired the parts of the former Herron Art Institute it did not already control, including the historic Fessler Building and a parking lot, from Minkis Builders for about $500,000. Workers have removed a foundation where Minkis had planned to build live-work units and are putting the finishing touches on a new roof for a structure known as the Main Building. A roughly $1 million renovation of the Fesler Building, which sits along Pennsylvania Street just north of 16th Street, is slated to begin in the next few weeks, said Joanna Taft, who chairs the Herron High School board. The acquisition and renovation work are being funded by school improvement bonds that are part of the federal stimulus and through a $500,000 grant from the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation. The original plan for the former art institute campus, unveiled in 2006, called for Minkis to renovate the Fesler building into seven condos, construct new live-work units next door and sell three single-family home sites. The residential portion stalled as the housing market plummeted but the charter school, operating out of the Musuem Building, has thrived. The next phase, still a few years out, calls for a new building on the land where the live-work units had been proposed, school spokeswoman Karen Lalioff said. IBJ first reported on the school's desire to take over the entire Herron Art Institute campus in an October 2009 story. (Click for a larger version of the photo above, which shows the original 2006 proposal.)

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