Starting at $2,000 a month for a one bed room, the Waxwood Apartments converted the former Witherspoon School for Colored Children, located only a few minutes’ walk from the heart of downtown Princeton Borough, into 34 one-and two-bedroom apartments. The exterior was restored to its original condition and a mix of unit types, including loft apartments that frame panoramic views of the town, were created.
Located in a pocket of town within easy walking distance to public transportation and infrastructure like schools, cultural venues, community centers, restaurants, and shops, the project reinforces the town’s walkability and vibrant mix of uses.
The developer purchased the building in 2002 and named it The Waxwood in honor of the principal who oversaw the integration of the school, Howard B. Waxwood, Jr. The development strategy included restoring the school’s façade and rehabilitating the building using the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentive program. Great care was taken to preserve unique architectural features of the building that point to its original use. The school’s original brick façade was repointed; the school’s wide corridors and classroom-like floor plan were retained; the ceilings were returned to their original 12-food height. With the help of historic photographs, the oversized windows, which were partially covered for years, were restored. Other features of the project include a garden for the use of all of the building’s residents, as well as several private gardens for individual units. Historical markers tell the building’s history. Following restoration, the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.