|Pre-leasing to begin as historic renovation housing projects wrap up|
A year ago, a pair of buildings that are part of the foundation of Gastonia's history were housing nothing more than dust and decay.
A brighter future awaits in 2013 for the former City Hospital on Highland Street, and the Armstrong Apartments on Marietta Street and Second Avenue downtown. Both historic structures have been undergoing striking transitions aimed at fulfilling housing needs and revitalizing their surrounding communities.
The sprawling hospital, built in the early 1920s and later added onto, is being converted into 75 apartments for low-income seniors and disabled residents. The Armstrong Apartments, constructed in 1918 to house unmarried teachers at a nearby school, are being converted into 18 market rate, one- and two-bedroom apartments.
Both projects represent triumphant breakthroughs for the city, which had watched the properties languish in recent years.
"I think Highland is very, very important because that hospital was a great source of community pride to a lot of people here when it was built in 1920," said Jack Kiser, Gastonia's executive director of special projects.
The Armstrong Apartments are significant because they were built by textile magnate and philanthropist Charles Armstrong, who also served as Gastonia's mayor and the local school board president. Their proximity to Main Avenue makes them key to the city's downtown revitalization plans.
"It absolutely brings another opportunity for downtown living," Kiser said.
(The Gaston Gazette, 12/24/2012)