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Fire Engine House in North Point Breeze Up for Sale

Offers due Oct. 22; tour set Thursday
Monday, September 06, 2010
By Joe Smydo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Engine No. 16 firehouse in North Point Breeze is up for sale. Proposals for use of the space are due Oct. 22 and guidelines are posted for would-be purchasers. Rebecca Droke/Post-Gazette

The fire trucks and alarm bells may be long gone, but city officials believe Engine House No. 16 still has a dynamic role to play in the East End.

Officials said they’d like to sell the building and have posted guidelines for would-be purchasers. The request for proposals is on, a year-old database of properties for sale by the city and Urban Redevelopment Authority.

The two-story, red-brick building is at Penn and North Lang avenues in North Point Breeze. Built in the early 1900s, it has 6,500 square feet of space and an appraised value of $90,000. Other features are two drive-in bays, 16-foot ceilings and a full basement.

The engine house’s name still adorns the front of the structure.

“It’s a gorgeous building,” said URA executive director Rob Stephany.

The building was used for police training after the fire department left.

The city stopped using the building as a fire station in the late 1980s or early 1990s, but it’s still used to provide classroom training to firefighters. Overall, the URA said, it’s in fair condition.

Mr. Stephany said the building is well suited for an architect’s studio, condominiums or a home-business combination. Claire Hosteny, URA senior real-estate development specialist, said one drawback is a lack of parking space outside.

Proposals are due to the URA by noon Oct. 22. A walk-through is scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday.

No public subsidies are available for renovation. The URA is helping to vet proposals, but the decision to sell rests with City Council and the mayor’s office.

In other cities, old firehouses have been converted into homes and businesses. In March, Chicago officials decided to seek redevelopment proposals for the old Engine Co. 18 firehouse, a two-bay structure built in 1873 on the city’s Near West Side. Officials said they’re interested in a commercial or mixed-use development.

Mr. Stephany said redevelopment of the North Point Breeze building can have a “catalytic impact” on a part of the city poised for progress. He said the development opportunity comes amid a master-planning process for the Homewood-North Point Breeze area.

In highlighting the firehouse development opportunity last week, officials also sought to focus renewed attention on the property website, which lists about 4,300 properties for sale. Properties may be searched by address and neighborhood. The website provides details on each property and has information on the city’s tax-abatement and green-up programs.

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