Just Listed: Loft Condo in Historic Bella Vista Schoolhouse

The historic Institute for Colored Youth is now a beautifully preserved and attractive condo. This top-floor loft unit comes with a rear deck and an unusual architectural feature.

condo for sale bella vista historic loft main floor

Key structural elements add distinctiveness to this loft condo in the historic Samuel Randall School, nee Institute for Colored Youth, at 915 Bainbridge St. #305, Philadelphia, PA 19147. Just be careful that you don’t bump into one of them on the way from your bed to the bathroom. | Bright MLS images via Coldwell Banker Preferred

Attention, history buffs: You now have the opportunity to make yourself at home in the original home of the first institution of higher education for Black people in the country.

This stylish loft condo is located on the top floor of the former Samuel Randall School on Bainbridge Street in Bella Vista. From the time it was built in 1866 until the school moved to Delaware County in 1902, it was known as the Institute for Colored Youth. Founded in 1839 by Quaker philanthropist Richard Humphreys, the institute had as its aim instructing Black youth in academic subjects, the mechanical arts, trades and agriculture with the aim of preparing them to become teachers.

condo for sale bella vista historic loft samuel randall school (institute for colored youth)

Samuel Randall School, built in 1866 as the second home of the Institute for Colored Youth

The building you see here was the institute’s second home, replacing a smaller building in the 700 block of Lombard Street. After the Randall School closed, it was converted into condominiums.

The high ceilings of its classrooms made them ideal for conversion into loft condominiums like this Bella Vista historic loft condo for sale.

The contemporary simplicity of this condo is augmented by the beams that support the building’s roof. They form a key decorative element of the open main floor, as one of the braces hangs over the loft balcony railing.

condo for sale bella vista historic loft dining room

Dining room

An open floating staircase leading from the dining room to the sleeping loft further accentuates the contemporary look and feel.

condo for sale bella vista historic loft kitchen


The kitchen, on the other hand, has classic cabinetry surrounding its modern appliances. The laundry lies at the end of the kitchen, and a powder room is located next to its peninsula and bar.



Off the living room, a deck with a retractable cover provides outdoor space and great views of the Center City skyline.



Of course, adaptive reuse projects like this one can pose challenges. One large one splits the sleeping loft in two.



At least you will be able to keep your muscles limber as you travel from your bed to the stairs, closet or bathroom.

Add to that the exercise you will get climbing the stairs in both your unit and the building, and add to that the walking you will do going to all the convenient neighborhood shops and restaurants, and you will be in excellent shape indeed.

And you will be able to regale your guests with stories about the historic landmark you live in. You can use the information in this Wikipedia article to get a head start.



BATHS: 1 full, 1 half


SALE PRICE: $369,000

OTHER STUFF: A $257 per month condo fee covers maintenance and insurance of the building and common areas.

915 Bainbridge St. #305, Philadelphia, PA 19147 [Rachel Rothbard | Coldwell Banker Realty]