The former Archer School will be renovated into affordable housing by 2024 | Photo by Henry de Saussure Copeland on

The City of Charleston announced plans on Wednesday to renovate the long-vacant Henry P. Archer School on Nassau Street in downtown Charleston. A partnership between The Humanities Foundation and James Doran Company will make the $42 million renovation possible.

“Humanities Foundation and James Doran Company bring together their combined years of experience in urban real estate development, affordable housing and community engagement to the redevelopment of the historic Archer School,” said Humanities Foundation President Tracy T. Doran. “It seems like everything we have ever done has prepared us for the work we are currently doing on the Eastside.”

The former school will be converted into affordable housing with 89 units serving seniors at or below 60% of the area median income. Units will be one- and two-bedroom apartments.

The CLIMB Fund has also contributed to funding predevelopment costs. 

“Repurposing a building that has sat empty for more than 20 years and creating 89 affordable rental homes serving our aging population is a win-win-win for the city of Charleston,” said Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg.

The school was originally built in the 1930s during segregation and shut down in 2010 as the building was determined to be unfit to withstand an earthquake of a 5.0 magnitude or higher in 2010. It has sat empty since then.

The Humanities Foundation, a nonprofit development organization, purchased the building from the Charleston School District in 2020 with intentions of redeveloping it into affordable housing.

Now, retrofitting and construction on the project is underway and is expected to be complete by early 2024. The project will be preserved with new construction added to accommodate all 89 units. 

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