A rendering of the Columbus School Apartments, which are scheduled to open in the fall.

A rendering of the Columbus School Apartments, which are scheduled to open in the fall. (Courtesy of The Woda Group LLC and Cho Benn Holback+Associates.)

Renovations of the Columbus School (also known as public school 99) began this week and the developers expect that people will be able to occupy the new affordable housing units there this fall.

The $13 million conversion of the school, in Baltimore's South Clifton Park at the northeast corner of the intersection of E. North Ave. and N. Washington St., will create 50 residences for people who make 60 percent or less of the city's area median income, according to a statement by the developers.

The school was constructed in 1891, expanded in the early 1900s and closed in the 1970s, the statement said. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

When it opens after the renovation, the landmark will be called the Columbus School Apartments.

The project is a joint effort of the Housing Services Alliance Inc., a nonprofit new to Baltimore, and The Woda Group LLC, an affordable housing developer that built the Penn Square Apartments in the Penn North neighborhood and is working on the North Avenue Gateway complex at W. North Ave. and N. Rosedale St.

One- and two-bedroom apartments will be available in the 68,000-square-foot building, the developers said. 

Financing for the project is being provided by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, Bank of America, Capital One and Hudson Housing Capital, HSA and Woda said.

The developers have "partnered with the Center for Urban Families and the Laborer's Union of North America to screen and refer Baltimore City residents for job training and hiring during construction," the statement said.

Residency requirement information for the Columbus School Apartments can be obtained by calling 410-703-9066.

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