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Wilkinsburg housing project gains approval

By Sam Spatter
Thursday, September 29, 2005

Another project to improve the housing inventory in Wilkinsburg has been approved by the Allegheny County Redevelopment Authority.

The authority on Wednesday authorized the county’s Economic Development Department to move ahead on the Peebles (Street) Square project, which involves the rehabilitation or construction of 12 to 14 houses in that area.

In July, Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation joined with Wilkinsburg Neighborhood Transformation Initiative, in a separate project to revitalize housing in a six-block area near St. James Church, known as Hamnett Place neighborhood.

For the Peebles project, the authority will seek $1 million in acquisition funds from the state and apply to the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency for about $2 million to assist the developer, Action-Housing, in the project.

“About four of the houses are occupied, two by owners, but the rest are either vacant or boarded-up, or the site vacant,” said Dennis Davin, the Economic Development Department’s executive director.

The overall cost of the program is about $5.6 million, with new houses selling for about $75,000 and rehabilitated houses, $65,000. The authority plans to provide a second mortgage of about $20,000, which is paid only upon resale of the house, he said.

The Hamnett Place neighborhood project includes rehabilitation of six abandoned buildings along Jeanette Street to create opportunities for new single-family housing.

Allegheny County is providing $500,000 for the project, and the History & Landmarks Foundation, and the state, will provide matching funds.

Cathy McCollom, the foundation’s chief programs officer, estimates the cost to redo the initial six properties could range between $90,000 and $130,000 per unit.

Sam Spatter can be reached at

This article appeared in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review © Pittsburgh Tribune Review

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