Since closing Huff Elementary in 2001, the Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) have considered a number of different options for the vacant building with the most recent being to sell it in order to generate revenue and reduce property holdings. While two previous proposals for the building’s sale—one to GRPS Board member David Allen and another to a charter school company from Atlanta—have failed, most recently the GRPS are considering selling Huff Elementary and the ten acres it is on to Redstone Group of Grand Rapids who wants to build condos on the property. According Redstone’s plans, the former school building would be converted into 30 condominiums with six additional buildings being added for a total of 84 condos.
The practice of selling old school buildings to developers seeking to build condos has become fairly common for urban school districts searching for money, with school districts in St. Louis and Cincinnati doing so recently. Developers argue that the condos, which have sold for over $300,000, add to the city tax rolls and consequently help ailing urban school districts.