Model apartment to open at former Bath school

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BATH — The company redeveloping the former John E.L. Huse Memorial School will showcase its first completed apartment Wednesday, March 15.

Nathan Szanton of Portland-based Szanton Co., which acquired the 39 Andrews Road building from the city last August, is working with fellow developer Robert Monks to develop 59 mixed-income apartments, nearly half of which are in a new northeast wing.

Construction of Huse School Apartments is scheduled for July. But Szanton will open a model unit from 4-6 p.m. March 15.

“We’re going to really ramp up our leasing process and actually be able to start signing leases in about May,” project manager Andy Jackson said in an interview March 2.

Sixteen of the 59 apartments will be rented at market rate while the remaining 43 will be reserved for households that earn at or below 50 or 60 percent of the area’s median income.

Monthly rent for studio apartments, one-bedroom units and two-bedroom units respectively, at 50-60 percent of the area’s median income, would be $582-$707, $621-$755, and $742-$903, according to Jackson. Market rates for those three categories, respectively, would be $850, $995 and $1,250.

The one-bedroom units will be an average of 600 square feet, and the two-bedroom apartments will average 865 square feet. Heat and hot water, a dedicated parking space, Wi-Fi, and unlimited access to a community room and fitness center are included in the rent.

The existing building, built in 1942 with a 1949 addition, will include units with 10.5-foot ceilings, original hardwood floors and new historic reproduction windows, according to a recent Szanton Co. press release. The apartments are located near the Bath Area Family YMCA, Whiskeag Trail and downtown Bath.

Despite the work being done at and around the building, including rock blasting last August, Szanton has not received any complaints from neighbors, Jackson said.

“We have a lot of trucks coming back and forth through the neighborhood,” he noted. “I’m sure that the residents would love to see the end of construction.”

Jackson praised Zachau Construction for “running the project in a very professional way.”

He called the introduction of the model unit “very exciting,” adding that “it’s invigorating to finally have tangible results, and to be getting good feedback.”

The property has been subdivided into a municipal band building and ball fields, which the city will retain, and the 2.49-acre Huse School lot, which Szanton owns.

The federal government built the school as a means of attracting shipbuilders to the area during World War II. The 1949 addition increased the size of the building to more than 33,000 square fee, and the new wing adds another 30,000.

The city had always owned the building, which was occupied by the Regional School Unit 1 central office until 2010.

Despite its future as a residential building, Huse School Apartments will retain its traditional school vibe. Many artifacts will be on display from the years the structure operated as a school, including a scoreboard, clocks, intercom speakers and chalk boards.

Jackson said an “interest list” for potential renters has more than 40 people. Anyone who wants to get on the list can call Szanton’s leasing agent, Saco Falls Management, at 245-6427. 

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

The first model unit at the Huse School Apartments complex in Bath will open on Wednesday, March 15.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.