By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A developer has announced plans to turn an abandoned former hat factory in the Loft District into an apartment building, with Philadelphia students gaining internships along the way.

PRDC Properties is converting the eight-story Heid building at 13th and Wood Streets, to an apartment building with about 100 units. Mayor Kenney hailed the transformation of the century-old former hat factory.

“I think that the real estate market and the economy will begin to fill up these industrial buildings with taxpayers and young people who are coming into Philadelphia — hopefully to work at Amazon,” said Kenney.

City Councilman Allan Domb says he encouraged PRDC CEO David Perlman to include internships for Philadelphia public school students.

“We need qualified people,” said Domb. “So why not use own and teach our own — from Philadelphia, born and raised in Philadelphia — to work in the companies in Philadelphia.”

About 20 students from the Career and Technical Education Program at Ben Franklin High are being offered construction internships, says teacher Peter McDermott.

“And some of the kids that have, maybe some design skills, will set down with project management and actually help them do takeoffs for estimating for construction materials,” said McDermott.

Construction is expected to take about a year and a half.

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