After a century of time, a hurricane, a tornado, and a fire, the Old Hattiesburg High School has a new mission.
Built in 1911, the school served generations of students until 1959 and then housed the school district headquarters and later an antiques mall. Beginning in 2001, the building sat vacant, beaten by Hurricane Katrina and then nearly lost to an arson fire. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987, the Mississippi Heritage Trust declared the school one of the most endangered landmarks in the state.
Attempts to rehabilitate the beloved but troubled structure never panned out until Intervest Development stepped in several years ago. The firm brought its affordable housing experience and passion for historic rehabilitation experience to adapt the building into 74 units of affordable housing for seniors.
Completed in late 2020, Preservation Crossing realizes the community’s dream of restoring the treasured building. The new development maintains the Victorian brick exterior. Inside, the team has created 56 one- and 18 two-bedroom apartment homes for seniors earning no more than 30% and 60% of the area median income, including units for residents with special needs.
“By conversion, we are giving this former landmark a second shot at serving its community,” says Pam Davenport, vice president of development. “Having this property renovated and providing additional residential living will solidly anchor this end of downtown. This is a huge step forward for this area.”
Preservation Crossing restores one of the last buildings in the downtown district that was an eyesore, says president Steve Nail, adding the project was made possible by the developers, the city of Hattiesburg, and other partners banding together.
To finance the $15.5 million development, Intervest combined low-income housing tax credits with state and federal historic tax credits.