Historic Dothan building repurposed into affordable senior housing

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The Dothan native and Howell School senior apartment architect Joseph Donofro says this project has been a labor of love over the past 20 years, but the historic adaptive reuse project is finally open.

“So this was the first school in Dothan,” started architect Joseph Donofro. “I got enamored with this building when I graduated from college in 1978, and really started an effort to try and save this building in 2000.”

The old Howell building built-in 1898 used to be a school, the Salvation Amy’s Red Shield Club during WWII and then an industrial property where they made pajamas and socks. With the help of Banyan Foundation, Donofro was able to figure out how they could re-purpose it.

“There are certain ways of repointing brick and certain methods of putting new windows in historic structures and you have to follow their rules and regulations because at the end of the day they want this building to look just like it was built in 1903,” Donofro said.

The historical building has been repurposed into beautiful apartment homes for those above 62 years old. The project was approved in 2017 as a 9% low-income housing tax credit project. It was also approved for federal historic tax credits and state historic tax credits.

Residents are loving this new community.

“It was an improvement from where I was living and you know we are always trying to do better than where we are,” said Howell School Senior Apartment resident, Clara Bradford.

Bradford refers to the Howell School Senior Apartments as paradise.

“I realize this is like paradise for a lot of people that probably wouldn’t have been able to afford it on their own or without subsidy. To be able to come from below standard to a virtual paradise is something unique for people,” Bradford said.

The senior apartment community is completely filled to capacity at this time. For those interested, the apartments range from $550 to $650. Management welcomes anyone to come in and view the property.

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