Converting the Closed Schools

January 15, 2012 – In The News
The Philadelphia Inquirer

Former students of the 49 schools set to close across the Archdiocese of Philadelphia are not only mourning the loss of their alma maters, but are also looking for potential real estate and development opportunities.

As a real estate attorney, William F. Martin noted the challenges of retrofitting buildings constructed before requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act, the sparse parking at most elementary school sites, and the possible use limitations on the buildings because of their zoning.

As a 1975 graduate of St. James Catholic High in Chester, which shut in 1993 and became an assisted-living/nursing facility, Martin also has an emotional connection to the schools.

"It really takes a piece of your heart," Martin said. "In some ways you're losing the relationships. The contacts are never quite the same once the school's closed."

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