The idea of turning an old school into something else is a bar conversation many dreamers and developers have had, but the chances to do it with a building that isn’t too far gone are few and far between.

Today, Daily Detroit had the chance to check out the old Transfiguration School Building that opened in 1926 in Detroit’s Banglatown neighborhood.

If you’re not familiar with Banglatown, think up Mound Road, and just north of Hamtramck. It’s a neighborhood that has different demographics than most of the city of Detroit, with more than half of the 5,000 residents identified as Asian (mostly Bangladeshi), 30% as African-American, and nearly 10% as two or more races according to the last U.S. Census.

The 21,500 square foot school at 13300 Syracuse still has some of its details left and is in visually decent condition.

Here are some outdoor photos, including a detailed flag base.

The city of Detroit has partnered with the building’s owners, the Archdiocese of Detroit, to offer and RFP (Request for Proposals) to redevelop the school itself into multifamily housing. This allows for more tools to be available to a prospective developer, like incentives and grants.

Per the proposal, they’re looking for the developer to create 15 – 25 multifamily residential units, of which at least 20% shall be affordable to those households at 80% of area median income (AMI) or lower. Two-thirds of the surrounding neighborhood is at or below the poverty line.

As part of the RFP, there are additional lots that the Detroit Land Bank (for the most part) owns kitty corner to the church that could be part of the project.

Let’s step inside with some photos.

So what about a timeline? A city official shared that they’d like to have people living in the building in a couple of years.

“Bids (are) out now. It’s on the website. Then select somebody in the fall and complete negotiations with them in that same timeframe,” said Detroit’s director of housing and revitalization, Arthur Jemison. “This time next year we’d like to have a developer mobilizing to turn this into residential units.”

The lot the school sits on will be split away from the rest of what’s owned by the archdiocese, so you’re not getting a grotto as part of your project but it will be your next door neighbor along with the Blessed John Paul II Parish across the street.

As part of that setup, next door there are beautiful carvings in the fountains you’ll be able to walk out the door to enjoy.

RFP proposals are due by May 22, 2017. The exact details are all on the city website.

Plan for Banglatown to be released in 30 days

Another interesting piece of information from today’s event is that the city’s planning department is going to release a draft plan for the future of the area, so the area is getting additional attention from the city.

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