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South Vo-Tech sold to become housing

Old South High site closed in 2004

Friday, February 29, 2008
By Eleanor Chute
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The now-empty South Vo-Tech High School, built in 1897, will have a new life as an upscale residence.

The Pittsburgh Public Schools board Wednesday approved selling the high school building, originally known as South High School, to lone bidder Gregory Development for $1.1 million. The district had set a minimum bid of $500,000.

The sale includes the original building and addition, which are bounded by Carson, 10th, Sarah and Ninth streets, but it does not include the annex located across 10th street, behind a gas station. The school has been closed since 2004, but the annex is in use.

Gregory Coyle, president of Gregory Development & Management Inc., said, “It’s going to be a high-end residential project. It will be probably 75 units, in that range.”

Whether it will be condominiums or rental units will depend on the market down the road, he said.

“I’m very excited about the prospect of developing it. I think the historical aspect is something we’re going to work very hard to maintain,” he said.

Kevin Hanley, manager of real estate and housing programs for the nonprofit South Side Local Development Co., which is not involved in the project, called the building “a gateway to the neighborhood.”

“It’s a key parcel, based on historical and architectural significance and location,” he said.

Mr. Hanley said Gregory Development previously has done some “solid work” on the South Side.

Mr. Coyle said the approval process could take up to 12 months, and construction could take another 12 months.

Mr. Coyle, who lives on the South Side, said the project is not intended for student housing, which some South Side residents had opposed.

The building was purchased as is, so the developer has to pay for the necessary environmental remediation, estimated at $700,000.

Other Gregory developments on the South Side include 1205-1213 E. Carson St. and 2026 E. Carson St.

Mr. Coyle also is a partner in ASC Development, which has been involved in projects such as a Wal-Mart-anchored shopping centers in Ebensburg, Edinboro, Bradford, Delmont and Shippensburg as well as one in Kilbuck, which was canceled after the planned site was plagued by landslides.

The school board also approved a resolution authorizing the chief operations officer and the solicitor to “expeditiously move forward with the disposal” of 20 closed buildings, for which the ongoing maintenance costs exceed a total of $1 million.

If a building fails to sell “in their initial attempt,” then the two are authorized to find a “responsible entity, within the immediate community of the school,” which could receive the building at a nominal cost.

The 20 buildings are Beltzhoover, Boggs, Burgwin, Chatham, Columbus, Connelley, East Hills, Gladstone, Knoxville, Lemington, Letsche, Madison, Mann, Miller, Morningside, Prospect, Rogers (in 2009), Vann, Washington and West Side.

Education writer Eleanor Chute can be reached at or 412-263-1955.
First published on February 29, 2008 at 12:00 am

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