I have seen it in many other cities as small as Athens, GA and as big as New York City. Beautiful old historic buildings and public schools turned into amazing modern/historical lofts and condos. I know these ideas don't come cheap, but it is a way to bring more people to downtown who still want to live within a mile OF downtown but not quite IN downtown. The idea of this beautiful historic building being torn down is just as bad as the old courthouse on the square being torn down and turned into the 70's-80's monstrosity it remains today. It is so important to maintain the integrity of our historic areas and not rush to demolish our cities history so quickly.
Here is an example of this type of project in Knoxville, TN: