The historic 1928 Hallmark School near downtown Pensacola will be demolished to make way for 76 townhomes, according to plans submitted to the City of Pensacola.
A final plat submitted to the city shows 76 70′ x 20′ lots arranged around the perimeter of the five-acre site. Developers received preliminary approval from the city’s planning board in March to move forward with development of the project. If the project receives approval for the final plat from city officials, developers are expected to move forward with demolition and redevelopment this summer.
The school, located at 115 South E Street, was named for George Stone Hallmark, a judge and prominent citizen of Pensacola who died in 1906. Two of Hallmark’s granddaughters, Edith and Eulalie Oliver, later worked as teachers at the school.
In January, city officials issued a demolition permit for the school during the city’s temporary moratorium on demolition of historic structures that are more than 100-years-old. At only 89 years old, the school wasn’t covered by the sixth-month moratorium passed by the city council last September. That moratorium has since expired, and a promised ordinance to create a demolition review process for historic buildings hasn’t yet been brought to a vote by Pensacola city council members.
Like many of the city’s historic structures, the school isn’t situated within one of Pensacola’s five review districts, so its demolition isn’t subject to the city’s limited historic preservation rules.
Closed in 2011, the school was put up for sale by the Escambia County School District. Pensacola-based 349 LLC purchased the five-acre site for $1 million in 2013. At the time, 349 LLC had four partners: Pensacola attorney Fred Levin, who fronted the money for the purchase; BLAB-TV owner Fred Vigodsky; Matt Pair, the former business partner of Pensacola mayor Ashton Hayward; and An Hayward, the mayor’s wife. Pair and Hayward were later bought out by Levin and Vigodsky.
A 2015 redevelopment proposal by Houston-based developer ITEX would have incorporated the historic school building, but that project failed to win state tax credits that were necessary for it to move forward.