Apartment project takes Garfield School from students to seniors

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Moline aldermen will learn more Tuesday about an $11.5 million project to transform Garfield School into senior housing.

There would be 57 affordable apartments for older residents to enjoy by Fall 2018.

"Providing safe, secure and modern housing for seniors," said Ray Forsythe, Moline's planning and development director.  "I think it's a great opportunity."

Developer Gorman & Company is seeking federal and state tax credits to help finance the project.

Moline, which is collaborating with the school district to market the building, should give its official endorsement next week.

"It really is a neat and special sort of process," said Illinois Market President Andre Blakley.  "Historic repurposing is really just in our DNA."

Gorman & Company is a familiar developer in Moline.  Past projects include the Moline Enterprise Lofts and Moline High School Lofts.

Each of those locations is fully occupied.

Garfield School closed this year after more than a century of education.  Students and staff will move to the renovated Hamilton School.

By providing senior housing, it prevents a vacant school from sitting unoccupied for years to come.

"As our population ages, we need to have opportunities for residential, kind of across the gamut," Forsythe said.  "We think this is a good fit."

The developer will transform classrooms into apartments.  They will also build a new addition.  There will be community spaces for the neighborhood to enjoy.

"We see this project as just adding to the life and vibrancy that's already in the community," Blakeley said.

A Moline neighborhood that's finding innovative ways to change with the times.