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Maury School back in session with 32 condos 8 months to create
Maury School finally getting new life as the Maury Commons condominiums

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The project blends old and new: New drywall arches and original yellow block lower walls.
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Date published: 5/11/2007

BY RICHARD AMRHINE

For Chip Reamy, moving into a condominium at Maury Commons has a special home-field advantage. Not only did his dad go there when it was Fredericksburg High School, but Reamy himself played football on the adjacent field during his years at James Monroe High School.

"This is exactly what we were looking for," said Reamy. "So we jumped on it." He and his wife, Ann, lived for years on Fauquier Street, and despite moving to Florida a couple of years ago, have maintained their ties with the city. Once they learned about the Maury project, and did some homework on the company running the show, their minds were made up.

They chose a unit that overlooks the 30-yard line in one direction, and Brompton and Trench Hill in another. "That building has some of the best views in the city," he said. "It took a long time but they ended up with the best possible use for that building--residential."

The Reamys plan to spend the month of July here setting up their new digs.

The transformation of the Fredericksburg landmark from white elephant to one of the city's most sought-after residential addresses is a study in historic preservation mated with business sense.

Today, the condominiums at Maury Commons are nearing completion just as quickly as they're being scarfed up by buyers.

As many as 24 of the 32 units are either under contract or reserved by interested parties. Some units are cosmetic touches away from move-in condition. The first buyers are expected to close on their condos at the end of June, just eight months after work began.

It's a remarkable timeline for the building, which dates to 1919 but has been vacant since 1980, when it closed its doors as a school.

It took 26 years of debate and hand-wringing for the city to figure out what to do with the former school--until it finally attracted the right buyer experienced in converting buildings for residential use.

That buyer, Echelon Resources Inc., paid $300,000 for the building, plus $50,000 to be put toward the war memorial at Barton and George streets. The deal closed Oct. 26, a Thursday, and Echelon was on-site to begin work the following Monday.


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The building was named for a native of Spotsylvania County who became known as the "Pathfinder of the Seas." His studies of ocean currents led to publication of the first accurate and reliable ocean-ographic charts and proved that by following the winds and currents ships could cut days from their ocean crossings.. He also had instrumental roles in establishing the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Naval Observatory and the U.S. Weather Bureau. After the Civil War, he taught at Virginia Military Institute.