From classrooms to condos Historic schoolhouse finds new life as high-end residences

The final bell rang long ago at 501 Adams St., but Manhattan developers R Squared Real Estate Partners believe that area homebuyers are ready to go back to school.

The five-story building, which has been renamed Adams Square, began life in 1870 as the private Kealy School and later served as Hoboken’s Public School No. 2. In 1996, it was converted to rental apartments and remained that way until R Squared acquired the property last year.

Now the building has been converted into condos, which are currently on the market.

Architecturally speaking, R Squared Principal Mitchell Rechler said the building is one of the Hoboken’s most unique. It boasts twin towers, accented with gothic arched windows and stone tracery. Inside, the lobby is highlighted by white marble and framed by dual staircases that ascend the left and right side.

The lobby flows into what used to the school’s auditorium and cafeteria. The ceiling has been removed, which has left a quiet courtyard.

The building has 59 one-, two-, and three-bedroom condos from 612 to 1,395 square feet of living space, which are currently priced from $430,000 to $800,000, according to Rechler.

Each of the condos features modern amenities such as solid hardwood floors and remote-controlled air conditioning systems. Kitchens include walnut-stained cabinets, honed Kashmir granite countertops, and stainless steel appliances, while bathrooms offer Carrera marble vanity tops, floors, and bases.

An example of adaptive reuse

Instead of demolishing the interesting old buildings, there has been a movement in urban renewal called “adaptive reuse,” in which buildings are adapted for new uses while retaining their historic features and maintaining a link to the past.

Rechler said that the building’s history as a schoolhouse and “gothic castle-like” façade made the building the perfect candidate to be adapted into condominiums.

R Squared hired Manhattan architects Beyer Blinder Belle to remodel all of the building’s interiors. That firm specializes in historic renovations and has worked on projects at Ellis Island and Grand Central Station in the New York Area and the Capital Building in Washington D.C.

“Our goal was to adapt the existing classic design into today’s world and with today’s aesthetics,” Rechler said. “All of the important architectural elements that existed in the building have been adapted beautifully.”

About the developer

Adams Square will be the first completed new project for R Squared, a firm created by cousins Mitchell and Gregg Rechler two years ago. They had already spent many years spent working for the Rechler family’s company, the Reckson Associates Realty Corporation, based on Long Island.

R Squared Real Estate Partners now owns operates over seven million square feet of property throughout the New York Metropolitan area, including one million square feet of development and redevelopment projects.


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