GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — An old school building turned into apartments in Grand Rapids has received an award for its historic preservation.

The building that now houses Emerald Flats Apartments, located on Emerald Avenue near Malta Street, first opened in 1929 as Eastern Elementary School. The school closed in 2008 and was purchased by ICCF Community Homes in 2015.

In 2021, it opened as an apartment building, with 50 housing units, a meeting space and a public park. The housing units are income-based.

The project was recognized with a Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation. ICCF Community Homes, Concept Design Studio, Inc., Wolverine Building Group, Designsmiths and Oasis Community of West Michigan were all awarded for their role in the project.

“When Eastern Elementary closed in 2008, the City of Grand Rapids lost a connection point and institution that rooted these blocks of the NE side in community,” Rep. Rachel Hood, D-Grand Rapids, said in a Thursday release. “Thankfully, ICCF, alongside the City of Grand Rapids, MSHDA and MEDC, have helped bring new life into a gorgeous historic school building, renewing not just the building, but also contributing to the sense of place and community connecting Highland Park Neighborhood.”

She said the project also helped meet a need in the community for more income-based housing.

Other awarded projects were Hamtramck Stadium in Wayne County, the Collaborative Bring Back Calumet initiative in Houghton County and the documentation and recovery of the Lake Huron Red Tail aircraft in lower Lake Huron in St. Clair County. For more information on the Governor’s Awards for Historic Preservation, go to