When Jesse Wig was given a home in an off-market transaction, he thought it was a chance too good to pass up.
But this was no average property.
It was a run-down high school. He was raised in Homestead, Pennsylvania, and the sight of an abandoned school was not unfamiliar to him as someone who had frequented the region.
Wig chose to go forward with the massive expenditure.
But, given the size of the school and the finances required to get the remodeling project off the ground, he realized he’d need a lot of support.
He contacted Adam Colucci, 35, a real estate investor and owner of an audio-video company, and Dan Spanovich, 42, a real estate developer and lawyer.
The three bought Bowtie High, an abandoned school, for $100,000 in May 2019 and converted it into a 31-unit apartment complex.
Their estimates were a little off. Initially, they believed that Bowtie High would easily devour $2 million in work.
But difficulties rapidly emerged as the cost soared to $3.3 million.
Furthermore, the trio had to comply with the city’s desire to save the building’s famous characteristics, such as the façade and halls.
Colucci says that their main worry was the amount of money required to transform the space, which got even more pressing when the partners had a bank yank its funding at the last minute.
Wig, Colucci, and Spanovich went to a different bank and obtained a $2 million mortgage, which they are paying down at a rate of roughly $12,000 per month.
The idea was gradually realized when they pooled their own funds as well.
The partners transformed the auditorium of the former high school into a resident’s lounge. They kept the layout and the hardwood floors. They utilized the shelves they discovered on the site as thresholds to separate the communal room into smaller parts.
They also kept the gymnasium and split it into two halves. The first portion features free weights, while the other side is a basketball half-court.
They also converted the bleacher sections into storage rooms.
The ancient structure also has “historic” benefits.
Because the project included the renovation of an existing high school, it qualified for historic tax credits from both the state of Pennsylvania and the federal government.
However, it also meant that they had to preserve the historical value of the structure and its corridors.
They kept the terrazzo tiles from the halls, as well as the doors, windows, plumbing, and even the chalkboards.
Leasing began in October 2021, before the improvements were even finished. Bowtie High began leasing in October 2021, and the previous high school was fully occupied within six months.
The building has 31 units, with one-bedroom apartments beginning at $1,400 and two-bedroom apartments starting at $1,600 a month.
The one-bedroom apartment is stunning.
The 12-foot high ceiling, which allows for more natural light, is something you’ll notice right away.
The Vanderbilt, their biggest one-bedroom apartment, has an L-shaped kitchen for more space, a bedroom with a walk-in closet and laundry area, and a spacious living area.
@jessewig Bowtie High. Before/After. #realestate #realtor #realestateinvesting #beforeandafter ♬ Inspiring Emotional Piano – Metrow Ar
Profits are being reinvested in a second abandoned school by Wig, Colucci, and Spanovich.
When Colucci discovered that the school just across the street from their home was for sale, it was already under contract with another investor.
However, the sale fell through, and the partners purchased it for $90,000 in 2020, with a $3.25 million mortgage.
He realized they required it in their portfolio since that’s what one sees when one looks out the front windows, so they could control what they see, Colucci said.
Watch the video below to see this incredible refurbishment of an ancient school!
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