A land swap between the City of Greenville and the owner of property where The Allen School, an historic school for African-American students, once stood will increase the number of affordable housing units in the city.

In the deal, the city will swap .569-acre of property it owns on East Stone Avenue adjacent to the former site of the Allen School for three properties JJSC Enterprises, LLC owns in three different historically black neighborhoods near downtown that total .613 acres.

The city will work with partners to redevelop the parcels – located on Mount Eustis Street in the Greenline-Spartanburg neighborhood, on Woodfin Avenue in the Greater Sullivan neighborhood and on Elder Street in Nicholtown — into affordable housing, said Ginny Stroud, the city’s community development administrator.

The Allen School was built in 1936 as a part of the Works Progress Act. By the end of World War II, it had more than 500 students and served students up to the seventh grade. The school’s roots go back to 1865 when the first freed slaves were taught in rooms of the Goodlett Hotel.

When Greenville schools integrated in 1970, the school closed and sat empty for decades.

The property was sold in September and the school was torn down. Thirty-one townhomes will be built and the city’s property provides a key access point to them.

Stroud said location of utilities and topographical challenges would have made the East Stone Street property difficult to develop as affordable and workforce housing.

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