Skip to Content
CityRealty Logo


These schools are rich in original architectural details, but the interiors are top residential (17 Monitor Street - Nooklyn) These schools are rich in original architectural details, but the interiors are top residential (17 Monitor Street - Nooklyn)
After years of remote learning, Thursday, September 8 marks the first day of school for New York City public schools. There is an air of nervous excitement among the students, but their parents are concerned about city budget cuts and student safety, both from the pandemic and the risk of an active shooter. The city has been working to address that: Students are returning to campus with new school safety agents on staff and new Covid protocol: Masks are now optional, but at-home tests are being provided for students; those with symptoms are being advised to stay home and learn remotely if they feel up to it. The mayor has not mandated vaccinations for schools, but they are required to participate in certain activities.
Back-to-school season has been on the minds of many parents and students in recent weeks, but some developers and designers have their eye on schools all year long. School buildings are often located in highly coveted neighborhoods and date back to the late nineteenth to early twentieth century. While the interiors may be unfit for an academic environment anymore, developers and designers find that these serve as excellent bones for a residential setting. The result is expansive apartments with high ceilings located in a historic setting.

Below, see the most masterful transformations of city schools into luxurious residences with high-end finishes and amenities. A small handful of units are on the market, but between the in-demand addresses, eye-catching architecture, top-of-the-line interiors, and rich histories, it's no surprise that availabilities in these buildings are few and far between.

Turtle Bay Towers, Turtle Bay

310 East 46th Street
Built in 1929 | Converted in 1979
11 availabilities from $635K

310-East-46th-Street-01 Turtle Bay Towers (Compass)
Turtle Bay Towers dates back to 1929, when it was built as a design school. When it was converted to residential use, the careful restoration and conversion was honored with the First Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects. A 24-hour doorman and live-in superintendent are on staff, and amenities include a renovated lobby, storage for rent, a bike room, a parking garage, and a rooftop terrace.

310-East-46th-Street-01 Turtle Bay Towers, #18F (Brown Harris Stevens)
Turtle Bay apartments
From the Listing: Enter this enormous studio to be greeted by bright light from clear open northern skies from giant arching greenhouse windows. Soaring almost 12-foot ceilings adding to the dramatic volume of the space. Multiple furnishing possibilities to accommodate a full-size dining table, full living room set-up and any size bed make this the easiest studio to furnish to your heart’s desire. With an architects touch, you can easily open the galley kitchen to include a breakfast bar and still have a dining table. See floor plan and full details here.

The Magnolia Mansion Lofts, East Harlem

309 East 108th Street
Built in 1889 | Converted in 1987
2 availabilities from $1.15 million

309-East-108th-Street-01 Magnolia Mansion (Sotheby's International Realty)
Nearly 100 years after it was built as a school, the building at 309 East 108th Street was converted to The Magnolia Mansion Lofts, a condominium with a full-time superintendent, modern infrastructure, and common outdoor space. However, original features like a grand entry and statement columns have been beautifully restored.

East Harlem condos
Upper Manhattan condos
From the Listing: This sun-drenched duplex loft at the Magnolia Mansion Lofts offers 14-foot-high ceilings, south facing oversized windows, washer/dryer in unit, hardwood floors and over 1,400 square feet of functional living space. The foyer offers a generous size room suitable for library or home office placement. The first floor features a grand living room and 4 large south facing windows. The open social kitchen including a large island, looks onto an expansive living and dining area ideal for entertaining. The second-floor features two generous size sleeping areas, a deep closet with a dressing area, bathroom and a washer/dryer for in-home laundry convenience. See floor plan and full details here.

The Glass Farmhouse, Midtown West

448 West 37th Street
Built in 1914 | Converted in 1982
1 availability for $1.295 million

448-West-37th-Street-1 All images of The Glass Farmhouse via Compass
A few short blocks from Hudson Yards, this brick and limestone loft building was converted to condominiums with 12' ceilings, light-filled living space, and open skyline views.

448-West-37th-Street-1 The Glass Farmhouse, #5A (Compass)
Hudson Yards condos
From the listing: This unique space is built-out as an apartment and fully functioning separate office with no detail overlooked. 12.5-foot ceilings and large north-facing windows created the backdrop for what became a work of art. Everything from the soundproofed ceiling to the chestnut floors with crocodile leather inlay has been thoughtfully designed. Lighting, windowsills, doors, desks, window treatments, closets and even doorknobs were designed specifically for this space. Concealed washer and dryer, custom built-in guest bed, double thick walls, sound system throughout - the designer/owner thought of it all. See floor plan and full details here.

The Beekman Regent, Midtown East

351 East 51st Street
Built in 1893 | Converted in 2000
5 availabilities from $1.4 million

351-East-51st-Street The Beekman Regent via Corcoran
The Beekman Regent, originally Primary School No. 35, is listed on the National Register of Historic Place and was the 2002 winner of the Mercedes Benz Property Award for "Finest New Redevelopment in the World." One look at its many setbacks and design reminiscent of The Dakota is enough to show how it won.

351-East-51st-Street-1 The Beekman Regent, #14E (Core Group NYC)
NYC loft condos
From the listing:This gracious home boasts a well-planned layout with an entry foyer leading into the living space to a picture-perfect Midtown skyline view. The windowed kitchen features top-of-the-line stainless steel appliances including a Sub-Zero refrigerator and a Miele dishwasher, custom cherry cabinetry, Valli & Valli stainless hardware, a GE water purification system, in-sink disposal, granite counters with full-height backsplash, Italian porcelain tile flooring, and under-cabinet task lighting. The oversized bedroom features a large walk-in closet and a full en-suite bathroom. See floor plan and full details here.

Built in 1908 | Converted in 2018
7 availabilities from $8.8 million

555-West-End-Avenue 555 West End Avenue (Rendering credit of Hayes Davidson
Ever since this Upper West Side Catholic school was built at the beginning of the 20th century, residents and visitors have marveled at the carved stone façade elements, parapets, filigreed windows, limestone window bays, and turrets among the eye-catching details of the English collegiate and Gothic style design of William A. Boring's design. Cary Tamarkin, a contemporary architecture luminary, restored these elements while adding a discreet penthouse and making minor alterations, all with Landmarks' blessing.

555-West-End-Avenue-1 555 West End Avenue, #THELIBRARY (Sotheby's International Realty)
Upper West Side condos
From the listing:The only new condominium in NYC with 18½ foot ceilings in a 42-foot long Great Room, with towering arched windows, “The Library” (2W) has 5 bedrooms, 5 en suite baths and a powder room. With a private landing and 3,463 square feet on two levels, the Library is one of 13 extraordinary, one-of-a-kind residences in Tamarkin Co.'s conversion of this landmarked former school. The kitchen features solid white fumed oak cabinets crafted by Christopher Peacock, with fluted glass cabinet fronts and Nanz hardware, and is open to the 37-foot Great Room providing a relaxed living and dining environment. See floor plan and full details here.

PS90, Harlem

220 West 148th Street
Built in 1905 | Converted in 2009
2 availabilities from $769K

220-West-148th-Street-1 All images of PS90 via Compass
Originally a public elementary school, PS90 graduated to a highly desirable doorman condominium. Its elaborately ornamented terra cotta and limestone exterior was carefully restored to its original detail, but the interiors had to be torn out and replaced. Nevertheless, the school's grand proportions can be seen in spacious rooms, high ceilings, and oversized windows. In 2011, it received a Lucy G. Moses Award, also known as "the Oscars of preservation."

220-West-148th-Street-02 PS90, #4G (Core Group NYC)
Harlem condo conversions
From the listing: There’s nothing else out there available on the market quite like this gorgeous south-facing one bedroom, not even in the same building, Harlem’s much-praised PS90 Condominium. You’ll have stunning sunlight and skies from the nine-foot-high double-pane windows topped by unique neo-Gothic architectural “cathedral” detail. The 12’ ceilings in this home create a tremendous volume of light and air as well an uncommon amount of wall space for art. Your open kitchen is designed for cooking and entertaining, with a generous island, a large area of Quartzite counter space with a full-height backsplash, copious two-tone Italian cabinetry, and a premium Kitchen Aid appliance package. The bathroom features a soaking tub, recessed lighting soffit, an oversized recessed medicine cabinet, bespoke tile and vanity, and a premium fixture set including a rain head and shower wand. See floor plan and full details here.

17 Monitor Street, Greenpoint

Built in 1906 | Converted in 2016
11 availabilities from $3,000/month

17-Monitor-Street 17 Monitor Street (Nooklyn)
A short distance from the L train, the St. Cecilia Catholic School has been converted to a modern "residential retreat" while honoring its prewar architecture. Amenities include a gym, laundry room, game room, lounge, bike storage, private parking, a common courtyard, and a roof deck with skyline views.

From the listing: Stunning two-bedroom loft in converted Catholic School building off the Graham L train. Designer details, vaulted casement windows, stone countertops and stainless steel appliances. Roof deck with 360-degree views, gym, laundry, elevator and more! 5-minute walk to McGolrick Park and an awesome Sunday morning farmers market not to mention all the great bars and restaurants in the area. See further details here.

The Cobble Hill School Condo

44 Cheever Place
Built in 1922 | Converted in 1986
No current availabilities

44-Cheever-Place-01 The Cobble Hill School Condo (Compass)
In the boundaries of the Cobble Hill Historic District, a schoolhouse was converted to a boutique condominium to accommodate the growing demand for housing. All apartments feature soaring ceilings and loft-like interiors, and amenities include a laundry room, assigned storage units, bike room, and on-site parking. See full details here.

Public School 9 Annex, Prospect Heights

279 Sterling Place
Built in 1893 | Converted in 2006
No current availabilities

279-Sterling-Place 279 Sterling Place via Compass
Public School 9 Annex may have been built out of the necessity to relieve overcrowding at the school across the street, but the result is a Romanesque Revival building that would become a New York City landmark and entrant on the National Historic Registry. See full details here.

Inkwell, Midtown West

520 West 45th Street
Built in 1905 | Converted in 2016
No current availabilities

520-West-45th-Street All images of Inkwell via Compass
When P.S. 51 was originally built at the beginning of the 20th century, it was said to be one of the first New York City schools to serve its students lunch. More than a century later, the Beaux Arts building would be another trend-setter as it got converted from a school to a condominium. A number of features were incorporated into the apartments in the process: Chalkboards have been placed next to the entrance and can be used as grocery lists, cubbies are ideal for storage, and certain units feature rolling ladders for storage. See full details here.

174 Pacific Street, Cobble Hill

Built in 1901 | Converted in 1984
No current availabilities

174-Pacific-Street 174 Pacific Street via Brown Harris Stevens
174-Pacific-Street-1 Interiors via Brown Harris Stevens
Cobble Hill's onetime P.S. 78 gets an A in renovations! It is now a New York City Landmark with gated parking, and offering excellent access to Trader Joe's, popular restaurants, and top shopping. See full details here.

East River Lofts, East Harlem

340 East 117th Street
Built in 1906 | Converted in 2020
No current availabilities

340-East-117th-Street-01 All images of East River Lofts via Living R.E. Group
East River Lofts is the residential conversion of the former P.S. 85 in East Harlem. A brick and glass addition designed by Issac & Stern Architects has been seamlessly incorporated into the original school, and all sections had new casement windows installed. Amenities include virtual doorman service, bike room, package room, fitness center, lounge, and roof decks with sweeping city views. See full details here.

29 King Street, Soho

Built in 1887 | Converted in 1981
No current availabilities

29-King-Street-1 All images of 29 King Street via CORE
New development is going up all over Hudson Square, but this Queen Anne-style building dates back to 1886, when it was built as a grammar school. Nearly 100 years later, the New York City Board of Education auctioned off Public School 8 and The Brodsky Organization bought it. In the present day, apartments show signs of their classroom pasts with soaring ceilings and oversized picture windows. They come outfitted with modern appliances, LED lighting, and generous closet space, but not at the expense of historic elements like exposed brick and oak floors. See further details here.

The School House, Lower East Side

371 Madison Street
Built in 1908 | Converted in 2014
No current availabilities

371-Madison-Street All images of The School House via Modern Spaces
371-Madison-Street Swimming pool
371-Madison-Street Courtyard
The Lower East Side is one of New York's most vibrant neighborhoods, but this prewar school has been converted to loft-like apartments that act as light-filled oases from the hustle and bustle. It has a full-time doorman, and building amenities include a fitness center, near-Olympic-sized pool, laundry room, on-site parking, bike room, screening room, and courtyard. See further details here.

The Residences at PS186, Hamilton Heights

526 West 146th Street
Built in 1902 | Converted in 2016
No current availabilities

526-West-146th-Street The Residences at PS186 via Dattner Architects
via Dattner Architects
At the beginning of the 20th century, this Neoclassical school building was designed by New York City Chief C.B.J. Snyder. Over 100 years later, after the structure had fallen into significant disrepair, Dattner Architects took on the task of preserving its historic exteriors and converting the interiors to community space for the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem and affordable apartments. The units boast 14' ceilings, and residential amenities include a video intercom, laundry room, community room, bike room, and the services of a live-in superintendent. See further details here.

Schedule an Appointment
To tour any of these properties, just complete the information below.
  1. Your message (optional)
  2. Your name
  3. Your phone
  4. Your email address
Or call us at (212) 755-5544

Additional Info About the Building