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Smaller housing projects dot the city

By Ron DaParma
Sunday, December 23, 2007

While large new housing developments draw much of the attention Downtown — among them Piatt Place, the Carlyle, Three PNC Plaza, 151 First Side and the Encore on 7th Street — there’s also a fair number of smaller projects adding to the mix.

An example is a plan by the Urban Evergreen Group to develop 10 to 12 units in two buildings: 333 Boulevard of Allies and 330 Third Ave.

“Pittsburgh is an ideal place for developments and investments,” said Jose Caro of Urban Evergreen, who moved here from New York about two months ago.

This is his first development in Pittsburgh, and Caro wants to do others.

Urban Evergreen paid $495,000 for the two buildings, with plans to develop retail on the first level, offices on the second and residential units on the floors above. Caro says it hasn’t been decided if the units will be offered for sale as condominiums or rented as apartments.

Together, the buildings have about 19,200 square feet. The structures were sold to Urban Evergreen by Human Services of Western Pennsylvania, with Tom Sullivan, a broker with Pennsylvania Commercial Real Estate who handled the deal.

Other projects adding to the residential mix Downtown include Philadelphia developer Solara Ventures’ condominium development at 941 Penn Ave. that is providing 18 units.

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation is moving forward with its plans to convert three vacant buildings on the edge of Market Square into Market at Fifth, a $2.5 million to $3 million complex that will feature seven upper-floor apartments, a ground-level restaurant and a rooftop garden.

Another smaller development is 5 Lofts, a project that, as the name says, provides five residential units. The complex is being developed in a six-story building at 806 Penn Ave. by Ninth and Liberty Partners LLC, a group that includes investors Sean Luther, Tom Jackson and Patty Burk.

The first floor will be for commercial use, while the floors above each contain one unit with about 1,850 square feet.

Burk is vice president of housing and economic development for the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, an advocacy group.

One of partnership’s goals is to promote conversion of vacant upper floors of older commercial buildings into new housing.

Judging from recent evidence, the idea seems to be catching on.

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-471-5808  |  Fax: 412-471-1633