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Trust to offer historic residence Downtown

By Ron DaParma
Thursday, March 1, 2007

Another building is being added to the list of new and existing structures offering residential living Downtown.
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is teaming with Trek Development Group on a $15 million project to convert the historic 12-story Century Building on Seventh Street into a 61-unit loft-apartment complex.

“As part of The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s mission to develop a thriving arts and residential neighborhood, The Century Building will be a great complement to the Cultural District’s broad array of residential offerings,” said J. Kevin McMahon, president and CEO of Cultural Trust.

The trust provided financing for Trek, a Pittsburgh-based firm, to acquire the 78,000-square-foot building.

The organization has spearheaded development of the city’s 14-block Cultural District, where the Encore on 7th, Penn Garrison, and Liberty Lofts are in place. It also is moving forward with plans to develop RiverParc, a $460 million project expected to create 700 residences, 159,000 square feet of retail space and 1,500 parking spaces on six acres between Fort Duquesne Boulevard and Penn Avenue.
Trek’s local projects include the 900 Penn Apartments, which has been fully leased since opening in 1999 in the Cultural District.

The purchase price of the building was not immediately disclosed. According to Allegheny County records, the building, owned by the Chartiers Valley Industrial & Commercial Development Authority, has a market value of $3 million, including land.

Billed as an “affordable” residential development, the Century Building project will offer a mix of single-room studio and one- and two-bedroom loft units renting from $550 to $1,150 a month. Rental charges will depend on the income level of prospective residents.

Construction is expected to start in the spring of 2008.

Designed in Beaux Arts classical architectural style by Pittsburgh architectural firm Rutan and Russell, the Century Building originally served as an office building in 1906-1907 for the Century Land Co. It is eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic places.

The Cultural Trust also acknowledged the Working Group on Downtown Housing, a coalition of public and private organizations formed in 1998 to encourage development of Downtown housing. One of the group’s goals is to convince developers to allocate up to 20 percent of their projects to what is known as workforce housing.

The trust said workforce housing is defined as occupancy by working individuals/families whose annual household income is typically 80-120 percent of the area median income. That’s compared to affordable housing where the household income level is below 80 of area median income.

Ron DaParma can be reached at or 412-320-7907.
Reprinted with permission. © 2007, Pittsburgh Tribune Review

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