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Garfield project may get go-ahead

Pittsburgh Tribune ReviewBy Bonnie Pfister
Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The Urban Redevelopment Authority is poised to approve nearly $1.2 million in loans and more than $700,000 in grants to help develop an 18-unit residential and commercial building in Garfield.
The URA board is expected to vote Thursday on proposals to help finance the $6.17 million “Glass Lofts” development on Penn Ave and North Fairmount Street. The developer, Friendship Development Associates, has worked with architect Arthur Lubetz Associates and Sota Construction.

The project would include 3,200 square feet of ground-floor commercial space intended for a restaurant, 1,100 square feet of office space, and four artists’ studios.

The URA also is scheduled to discuss redevelopment efforts at Wood Street Commons, a 16-story building at the corner of Third Avenue and Wood Street, Downtown, which offers affordable housing to the working poor and those at risk of homelessness.

Operated since 1987 as a partnership of the nonprofit Community Human Services Corp., developer Mistick PBT and local government agencies, it houses 259 apartments and six floors of commercial space. But Mistick PBT is liquidating its assets and must be removed from the ownership structure, according to URA documents.
The Allegheny County Office of Community Services will vacate its office space there in June 2008, resulting in a loss nearly $1 million in annual income for the building owners.

The URA board will vote on a reimbursement agreement with the county to help pay Baker Young Corp. to reassess the building’s value and potential redevelopment of the commercial floors. The county would reimburse the URA half the cost to conduct the study, up to $25,000.

Officials from the URA and Friendship Development Associates did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment Tuesday.

Bonnie Pfister can be reached at or 412-320-7886.

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