The former Hattiesburg High School building on Main Street is only a couple of months from being transformed into Preservation Crossing, a new facility that will feature approximately 75 to 80 age-restricted apartment units.
Pam Davenport, the vice president of Intervest, the Jackson-based company who bought the property, said workers did run into delays because of COVID-19 and the weather, but all in all the project is making good progress.
Construction on the facility is set to be completed in August or September.
“It’s looking good, and all in all it’s been a wonderful project,” Davenport said. “Most of the interior has been done; now as far as the exterior, we’ve had some delays with rain the past couple of weeks.
“We’ve got to put the appliances in – they’ve been ordered, but there’s little things that they have to go in behind and fix up. Then of course the exterior – that’s the biggest part, because they’ve been working in the inside mostly.”
The facility, which was acquired by Intervest in April 2018, is being constructed by Harris Construction Services for residents 55 years of age or older. The $15.5 million development will offer apartments that are 575 to 800 square feet per unit, including 56 one-bedroom units and 18 two-bedroom units with a full kitchen, full bath and an on-site manager.
Other amenities will include a community courtyard, a gazebo and sitting area, a business room, a fitness room and a community room. Officials plan to keep rent between $200 and $600 per unit to provide affordable living to residents.
Applications are now being accepted for potential tenants.
“Tax credit property, I believe it’s either 100 or 90 days we can take applications prior to the tenant moving into the unit,” Davenport. “For the past month, we’ve been seeing a list of all the potential tenants, to get them to move in.
“I’m super excited; it makes my heart smile. I love this one, and I can’t wait to see more. It’s just been a pleasant experience to deal with everybody in Hattiesburg. And the response that we’ve seen from the residents of the Hattiesburg area has been overwhelming, and it’s been a very quality development to be involved with.”
To help fund the $10 million project, officials received gap funding and federal historic tax credits from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.
Hunt Capital Partners of Los Angeles, California, committed $13.2 million in federal low-income housing tax credit, federal historic tax credit and state historic tax credit equity financing for the project.
To celebrate the start of construction, officials held a groundbreaking at the site back in April.
Construction on the original multiple-story building at 846 North Main Street began in 1911. The facility was used as a school until 1959, after which it served as a headquarters for Hattiesburg Public School District and was home to an antiques mall until 2001. The building, which has remained vacant since then, was heavily damaged in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina and again in 2007 by arson.
The facility was named a Mississippi Landmark in 1986 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. The historic aspect of the building will continue during renovation, as officials have kept the frame intact and built around it.
“I’m so excited,” said Andrea Saffle, executive director of the Downtown Hattiesburg Association. “It’s very exciting to have additional residential housing in downtown.
“It’s a positive thing for downtown to have the high school actually back in operation and to have that building fixed and occupied and breathing again. From a preservation standpoint, it’s very exciting. Just to know that we were able to play some part in saving that building is a sense of pride for the downtown association, but it should be a point of pride for the whole community.”