FAIRMONT – Dedicated in 1903, the building at 210 Gaston Ave. has been known as the Old Cook Hospital and more recently the old Board of Education.
Now with nearly 100 years of history behind it, people will soon begin to know the building by another name – home.
“We started in December of last year,” said Steve Sadd, of Grant Street Commons LLC/Sadd Brothers. “This is affordable housing, income restricted that is pretty much like Miller School Apartments.”
Charleston-based Grant Street Commons LCC/Sadd Brothers, a development company that has done similar renovations on a number of historic properties in West Virginia, is remodeling the old hospital to become Gaston Avenue Apartments. No stranger to Fairmont, the company remodeled an old school and transformed it into Miller School Apartments, which were completed last year.
Normally the developers use tax credits to complete construction, and although they are not using the credits for this project, Sadd said, the contractors are doing everything else as if they were. The building is also one of the oldest they have worked on.
“We’re trying to do it keeping around the historic nature of the building,” Sadd said. “The oldest property we’ve done, this is going to be close to it.”
With 20 units available in one to two bedroom layouts ranging in square footage from about 825 to 1,100, Sadd said, the units will accommodate low-income people and families, and units will be available on an income-based basis, just like Miller School Apartments are.
Sadd, whose company will be the landlords of the property, said he hopes to have tennants moving in the first week of January. Tours should begin in about a month, he said.
Fairmont Mayor Brad Merrifield said that judging by the Miller School Apartments, the Gaston Avenue Apartments will most likely be a welcomed addition to fill housing needs in the city.
“When they did the Miller School Apartments they did a real nice job, nice quality and made use of a space that otherwise might have had to be demolished,” Merrifield said. “Hopefully, it’s going to supply housing to several people.”
The construction of the building, though still ongoing, has been relatively easy due to the structure previously housing a hospital and then education offices. Sadd said the building is being worked on completely by West Virginia companies, and the change in its look already is dramatic compared to when they first began.
“This building was almost black on certain sides,” Sadd said. “Actually, this building is set up really well to lay out, because you’ve got a whole hospital with a center hallway, and all you have to do is work each side of the hallway.”
Merrifield too, is optimistic about the property, and said that the developers are keeping the historic aspects of the building intact is an extra aspect to their work.
“Housing is something that we obviously need, and everybody deserves a chance to live in a nice housing development,” Merrifield said. “I think any time you take and resurrect something from the past and put it to use for years to come and then help it benefit the citizenry it is nothing but a good thing.”
So far, with completion of the building still a few months away, the look of the building is already surpassing Sadd’s expectations. Sadd said he can’t wait to have residents experience it for themselves.
“It’s turning out a lot better than we thought it would,” Sadd said. “I do feel like when we’re done, people are going to walk in on this first floor and they’re going to feel the historic nature of the property.”
In addition to the historic nature and value of the property, Sadd said that getting up towards the top floors, the apartments offer stunning views. He believes top floor tennants will appreciate the views they get from their windows.
“There are going to be some good views out here,” Sadd said. “You don’t realize it until you get up here and look out the window.”
For more information on the Gaston Avenue Apartments, its applications or floor plan layouts, visit its website at gastonavenueapartments.com