Michigan housing developer expands Pittsburgh plans

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A Michigan-based housing developer is ready to make a big splash in Pittsburgh, with nearly 500 new apartment units.

Village Green detailed its plans Tuesday for a new 264-unit apartment building and parking garage at the SouthSide Works complex on the South Side, even as it prepares for a formal ground breaking today for a 213-unit project at Liberty Avenue and Baum Boulevard in Bloomfield.

“From the day we came in and met with the previous mayor, we said we weren’t willing to come in and do one deal,” said Shawn Zimny, Village Green’s vice president of development. “To make this investment an economic bonus requires us to come in and really create a presence for Village Green.”

The developer plans to fulfill that vision in part with the complex at SouthSide Works that will feature a mix of studio, alcove (studios with a defined sleeping area), one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, according to information presented to the city planning commission Tuesday.

Accompanying the U-shaped apartment building, to be built at Sidney and 26th streets, will be a 563-space parking garage with 12,000 square feet of street level retail space, possibly to include a grocery, which Village Green attorney William Sittig described as the “ideal fit.”

Apartment amenities will include a courtyard, pool building, a fitness center, club room and outdoor fire pit.

Village Green is pursuing LERTA-related tax abatements for the project. It already has gotten county approval for the abatements but is still trying to convince the Pittsburgh school board.

Village Green hopes to begin construction in the third quarter of this year and have the complex completed in 14 to 15 months.

It already has begun work on the Morrow Park project in Bloomfield ahead of today’s groundbreaking, with the first units to be ready in the summer of 2015. That complex will feature many of the same amenities as the one on the South Side.

At Tuesday’s planning commission meeting, the Mosites Co. also detailed plans for the first of three apartment buildings that will be part of its proposed Eastside III project near the Target department store.

The first building, to be ready in spring 2015, will offer 109 units and 2,000 square feet of retail space. Overall, the project will feature 360 apartments and 40,000 square feet of retail. The complex, which also includes a 524-space parking garage, is being built around a $52 million transit center project that includes the East Busway.

It plans to start leasing the first apartments in January. It will be competing with new apartments in the Highland Building and at nearby Bakery Square 2.0. But rather than be concerned about the competition, Steve Mosites, the Mosites president, welcomed it.

“I think it’s just creating more of a buzz. I’d hate to be the only one on the block, to be honest with you. It feels good knowing that there’s other things around that are successful. It’s creating more of a place,” he said.

Mark Belko: mbelko@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1262.


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