After being vacant for a decade, the former Germantown High School has been transformed into a luxury apartment complex known as the Annex at Germantown. The first phase of the project has introduced 45 residential units, with a total of 352 units planned upon completion.

The “Annex at Germantown.” (GIH | Pryce Jamison)

After years of community uncertainty surrounding the property formerly known as Germantown High School, which stood unoccupied on the 5900 block of Germantown Avenue for a decade, the location has opened its doors to the public once again, now as a brand new luxury apartment complex.

Five floors of 45 residential units are now installed on the side of the property that borders Germantown Avenue and East Haines Street, and full renovations within the building are expected to be completed by August, according to a building tour guide. Tours through the hallways and apartments in that section are now available for people to schedule.

The full completion of the project, which will be known as the “Annex at Germantown,” will consist of 238 residential units alongside other potential uses that will contribute to a total of 352 units.

A native of Cameroon, Ivan, is one of the first cohort of residents to move in within the past couple of weeks. 

“I was a little skeptical to move in as I wasn’t sure if other people had moved in, but now I’ve already met two people that have,” Ivan said. “My apartment is pretty huge for the price, so far, I’m liking it.”

Studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments began to be listed on June 1, and according to a building tour guide, about 20 residents have moved in so far. 

“I’ve never lived in the Germantown area,” Ivan said. “[The apartment building] had a good deal, which was one month for free, probably because we are new tenants.”

Studio apartment options, measuring 450 square feet, are now available for $1,050 a month. There are two options for one-bedroom apartments, one being 680 square feet and $1,375 a month and the other being 935 square feet and $1,425 a month. Two-bedroom apartments with two bathrooms are available for $1,650 a month and measure 1,100 square feet. Detailed images of the units and pricing information are available on Zillow.

Every apartment consists of vinyl hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, and quartz countertops and comes with a microwave, oven, dryer, washing machine, central air conditioning, refrigerator, and electric heating.

Peek at appliances within a kitchen. (GIH | Pryce Jamison)

“There’s still a lot of work to do, and I think it’s coming along; I don’t know if it was worth opening while everything isn’t yet operational, such as the gym and elevators,” Ivan said. “I’m on the fifth floor, and it’s a little difficult to move things using the stairs, but they were able to accommodate us in a way that if we have heavy stuff, they had people ready to help us move in.”

Germantown resident Kalina Harrison, as well as others in the community who are on the outside looking in, weren’t aware when the apartments began to be listed.

“I pretty much got the news when everyone else did, just hearing things, walking by it, and seeing a sign that says something about luxury living in Germantown,” Harrison said. 

“I came to Germantown as an adult, and I got to experience Germantown with fresh eyes. By the time I got here, [the school] was vacant,” Harrison said. “I have a lot of friends who are from Germantown. They attended the High School, and they were sad about it.”

Germantown High School originally closed in 2013 when the School District shut down 24 public schools in an effort to save $24 million per year, which marked the end of the institution’s 99-year history that served as a vital part of the community.

In March 2017, The Commonwealth approved the sale of the vacant property to the Concordia Group, a Maryland-based real estate development company, for $100,000. That price was only 6% of the property’s assessed value at the time. Shortly after, Concordia flipped it over to Germantown Development, a Philadelphia-based company and partnership between local developers Jack Azran and Eli Alon.

After two years of silence from the developers and a growing concern amongst community groups and meetings about the vacant property, plans for a $30 million mixed-use development were first communicated to the public in 2019

The Germantown Community Alliance (GCA), a group of Germantown residents with a mission to maintain transparent communication between developers and residents, attempted to create a CBA (Community Benefits Agreement) with Azran and Alon. That agreement would ensure that the developers would be held accountable for keeping promises with the GCA throughout the development process.

An agreement was never settled.

The first proposal was a project with 236 residential units, 159 parking spots, a community auditorium, art studios, coworking office spaces, a cafe, and a charter school that would fill the former high school.

Years later, the project is finally coming to fruition. Construction for the mixed-use project began last summer, and the development announced details to community members in November 2023.

The apartments that are now completed are known as phase one of the project, acting as the first step in a four-phase effort to transform the interior of the buildings. Phase two will consist of creating 57 units in another section of the property that borders Haines Street. Phase three will bring 99 units in what was known as Germantown High’s main building, which faces High Street. Thirty-seven units will be built in the property’s former gym for phase four.

Right now, it is uncertain if the full space will be used for everything proposed in the 2019 plan, but residents will have access to a fitness center, full-size basketball court, building elevators, and lounges. There will also be parking in the open lot facing Baynton Street, which will be able to hold 180 spots. A cafe might be installed on the building’s ground floor.

Even with the new use of the property that has already gone into effect, many elements of the interior and exterior still resemble the High School and its period of being vacant. 

Lockers are still visible in the hallways in between each unit. They will remain in the building’s hallways for “historic purposes” and be welded shut, according to a building tour guide.

Traces of old lockers from the high school in the hallway. (GIH | Pryce Jamison)

“Moving into an old high school, we kind of expected that, and I did ask questions, too, but I do like the fact that the hallways are pretty huge,” Ivan said. “Maybe they should do something to cover [the lockers] if the city agrees and if it’s something that is doable.”

Outside, there is overgrown vegetation, walls of graffiti, and trash that is still prevalent, showing a vast amount of work that the renovation efforts will have to tackle.

As an Atlanta native who has fully immersed herself within the community and has established an active voice in community Facebook conversations and neighborhood meetings, Harrison wishes for newcomers to find that same mindset.

For new residents, she hopes that everyone will come and “be prepared to see the beauty in where they live.”

“Be aware, be respectful, and be kind; respect the community,” Harrison added. “Just because we now have a luxury apartment complex doesn’t mean that the median income of the area isn’t low.”

Harrison, as well as many other community members, have had varying concerns, questions, and expectations for the property over the past decade, as yet another school was lost in a city with about a 22.7% poverty rate, a statistic recorded in the U.S. Census Bureau. The Census also states that nearly 26% of residents in Germantown live in poverty, which is higher than in Philadelphia overall.

More individuals across the neighborhood have begun to voice their worries through Facebook earlier this month, addressing how the location, which was once a historical and educational institution, could’ve maybe been used for another purpose within the community.

“I don’t want to offend anybody, and there’s nothing wrong with living in a luxury apartment; everyone should live where they want to live,” Harrison said. “But how are there community refrigerators on every other block in Germantown and then there are luxury apartments built? There needs to be some bridging.” 

Property values throughout the area may continue to rise drastically with the grand addition of a project like the Annex at Germantown.

“Some people in Germantown can’t even afford to pay rent anymore, and my rent just went up this week,” Harrison said. “I love where I live, I’m going to pay the extra rent, I love my neighbors, it’s fine for me, but a lot of people who are originally from here are priced out.”

To schedule a tour of the Annex at Germantown’s first phase, visit their website at