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Whittier Elementary

Whittier Elementary is shown in this 2013 file photo. A Sioux City developer is planning to renovate the 114-year-old building into a 30-unit apartment complex. 

Dawn J. Sagert, Sioux City Journal

SIOUX CITY | A local company has plans in the works to transform a 114-year-old Sioux City school building into the city's newest apartment complex. 

Old School Properties LLC, of Sioux City, is planning on renovating the former Whittier Elementary School building at 4820 Fourth Ave. into a 30-unit apartment complex.

The city's Planning and Zoning Commission voted 6-0 Tuesday to approve rezoning of the former school property from public institutional to general residential, a designation that would allow for an apartment complex on the site. Committee vice chairman Jason Geary was absent from the meeting.

Whittier Elementary, which was built in 1902, closed in the spring of 2015. It was the second-oldest building in the district behind Bryant Elementary, which was built in 1890 and closed after the 2015-16 school year.

"The exterior of the building is rock-solid," developer Tony Derrick said Monday of the vacant Whittier building. "The roof is also in excellent condition."

Derrick said Old School Properties plans include a complete renovation of the inside of the building, which the company bought from the Sioux City School District for approximately $102,000. He said he and business partner Todd Jager both live in Morningside and wanted to be involved with the building's renovation.

Old School Properties is currently completing a renovation of the former Joy Elementary School, 3409 Indiana Ave., into a 21-unit apartment complex. Fourteen of the units are currently complete. 

"They are beautiful old buildings, and there's a lot of architecture in them," Derrick said of the former schools. "Without finding a purpose for them, they deteriorate."

Derrick said once finished, apartments at Whittier will run around $800 per month for a two-bedroom apartment and around $950 for a three-bedroom. 

Derrick said the apartment company is working with Bacon Creek Design, Inc., also of Sioux City, on both apartment projects. They will begin at Whittier once Joy Apartments is finished. 

During Tuesday's meeting, multiple residents of the neighborhood brought forth concerns about parking overloading the sides of residential streets at the apartment complex. City staff assured them that the residence would need to include 75 on-site parking stalls for residents. 

Commission member Ryan Ross said the site appeared to have plenty of room for that number of stalls. 

"I think just looking at the site again, of many sites I've looked at, this site has lots of space for parking," Ross said. "I think it's going to be less than a problem than some others that we've probably approved."

The rezoning will now go before the council during its Sept. 26 meeting. City staff will later need to approve the number of parking stalls on the design.  

In other action Tuesday, the Planning and Zoning Commission voted 5-1 in favor of the final plat of a six-lot commercial subdivision located at 5400, 5450 and 5500 Sergeant Road, directly west of the BioLife Plasma Services building. 

The commission also approved a site plan for construction of a Powerwash at 5915 and 5915 ½ Gordon Drive. 

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