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Developer plans apartment project at former Everett school

The 129-year-old former home of Sioux City's Everett Elementary would become a 20-unit apartment complex under renovation plans by a Woodbine, Iowa-based developer.

Arch Icon Development, which specializes in historic renovation projects, has requested a rezoning of the former Everett Elementary property at 1314 W. Third St., which it purchased last year, to re-purpose the building.

The rezoning passed by a vote of 5-0 during Tuesday's Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. A separate vote for the city to vacate an alley in the area also passed. Both items will head to the Sioux City Council Sept. 25.

Based on some community feedback, the commission stipulated that a site plan must also be approved by the commission at a later date.

This Arch Icon project will be in addition to another Sioux City project to renovate the former Central High School annex on Jackson Street into 46 apartments ranging from one to four bedrooms. Rent there is projected to range from $375 to $800 per month.

The project received a boost from an award of over $688,000 in tax credits from the Iowa Finance Authority in March. The project is an $11 million investment.

An Arch Icon representative was not available for comment Wednesday.

Everett Elementary opened in 1888 as the "Davis Addition School," named for the subdivision in which it was built. The school board renamed the school "Everett" in February 1889 -- possibly after Edward Everett, a U.S. senator from Massachusetts who gave the main speech the day Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address.

The original four-room structure originally cost $12,500 to build. In 1917, the district added more rooms and a gymnasium. It underwent subsequent modernization projects, and an auditorium was added in 1940.

The school celebrated the building's centennial in 1988 and kept it in use for 23 more years. The building closed in 2011 along with Smith Elementary, with the students from the two schools going to the new Liberty Elementary, 1623 Rebecca St.

Arch Icon Development purchased the building from the Sioux City school district in October for $67,500.

Everett joins several former schools that are undergoing renovations into housing. Fourteen years ago, the renovated Central High School building across the street re-opened as Castle on the Hill apartments.

Sioux City-based Old School Properties is renovating the former Joy Elementary School, 3409 Indiana Ave., into a 21-unit apartment complex. It is planning to do the same to the former Whittier Elementary School, 4820 Fourth Ave.