(PITTSBURGH) January 12, 2011 Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced today that the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) Board of Directors this afternoon will vote to approve financing for two redevelopment projects that will add almost 50 new housing units in the City of Pittsburgh. One project, called the Locomotive Lofts, will rehabilitate a once-vacant industrial site in Lawrenceville into 34 rental units. The other, located in Stanton Heights (and soon Sheraden), will put 14 foreclosed or vacant homes back on the City’s tax rolls.
“These housing projects will stabilize neighborhoods that are on the verge of experiencing Pittsburgh’s Third Renaissance, as well as create new addresses,” Ravenstahl said. “Our work with the URA to partner with neighborhood organizations is really making a difference in communities like Stanton Heights, Lawrenceville and Sheraden.”
The URA will vote to approve a $900,000 loan with Locomotive Development, a partnership of a.m. Rodriguez Associates and Green Development, Inc., closing the financing gap to redevelop a vacant, former-industrial site located at 4840 Harrison Street in Lawrenceville. The 20,000 sq. ft. four-story building will be expanded by another 20,000 sq. ft. to create 34 for-rent apartment units and 42 parking spaces. The $5.6 million project, called Locomotive Lofts, will be LEED Gold certified and generate $142,000 in annual taxes. The developer plans to break ground this summer.
“The Lawrenceville neighborhood has been taking off and there is a real need for more quality housing units,” said URA Executive Director Rob Stephany. “What’s exciting about this project is that this former industrial site has not generated taxes for more than 10 years.”
The building, built in 1899, was originally owned by HK Porter Co., a manufacturer of compressed air locomotives.
“We are excited to be developing ‘Class A’ rental housing in a neighborhood that really needs it,” said Victor Rodriquez, senior vice president, a.m. Rodriguez Associates. “Lawrenceville is a vibrant neighborhood with numerous amenities and in close proximity to downtown and other employment areas. It’s going to be a very successful development.”
In addition, the URA is working with neighborhood development groups to rehab 14 foreclosed or abandoned homes in Stanton Heights and Sheraden. Each unit will be rehabilitated up to code compliancy and increase energy efficiency before being sold to income-eligible households.
The URA will vote to approve a $333,400 loan agreement with East Liberty Development, Inc. (ELDI) for the acquisition of seven foreclosed homes in the Stanton Heights neighborhood. The Stanton Heights Neighborhood Association will help to identify foreclosed homes in the area south of Stanton Ave. Acquisition will begin later this month.
The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) awarded the City of Pittsburgh $1,008,397 in federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program III funds. A portion of the DCED award will be loaned to the Pittsburgh Housing Development Corporation for the acquisition, rehabilitation and resale of seven foreclosed or abandoned homes in the Sheraden neighborhood as well.
Sheraden and Stanton Heights were identified as two City neighborhoods in greatest danger of destabilization due to the national foreclosure crisis, which has impacted Pittsburgh neighborhoods much less than the national average. The housing markets in these neighborhoods are strong enough for the URA and community partners to undertake a portion of the existing foreclosure portfolio and help return it to the private market.
“Stanton Heights is a great city neighborhood that is primed to benefit from Pittsburgh’s Third Renaissance. These first seven homes will stabilize several blocks and help to jumpstart other developments,” said Kendall Pelling, project manager, ELDI.