The proposed renovation of a vacant warehouse at 4035 Liberty Ave. would add 29 units of housing that Ben Foreman, president of the Bloomfield Development Corp., said the neighborhood "is in dire need of. We feel this project is a must."
After months of meeting with neighborhood organizations, David Light, managing director of Lighthouse Property Development and Management, presented his plan to the Zoning Board of Adjustment Thursday, requesting zoning variances for floor space, height and setbacks. Although he has some hurdles to jump, neighborhood opposition isn't one of them.
Representatives of the Bloomfield Citizens Council and a nearby business owner, all in support, joined Mr. Light at the table with the zoning board when he made his presentation.
Janet Cercone Scullion, president of the Bloomfield Citizens Council, said the neighbors on nearby Howley Street had concerns about Mr. Light's original proposal to add two stories to the two-story part of the building. Another part of the building is 31/2 stories.
"After a significant number of meetings," she said, "we were able to take things off the table that were of concern to residents. He changed the whole configuration and made modifications that pleased the neighbors."
Mr. Light, a former director of real estate and lending for the Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development, met with the citizens council at the outset. Ms. Scullion directed him to meet also with residents of the streets behind his building, who have a view of the Bloomfield Bridge.
After talking with them, he revised his proposal to just one additional story.
"We reduced the height and number of units and reconfigured our units to make some smaller so we could still get our count to where it was still a viable project," he said. "To me, the only way to do this was to work with the neighborhood to come up with a unanimous agreement."
Mr. Light's father, Harvey Light, bought the building, a former Roth Carpet warehouse, in 2006. In 2008, he proposed offices on the site, and in 2009, the zoning board granted an exception for apartments. Neither plan was realized largely because of the economic crisis, Mr. Light said.
Mr. Foreman said apartments are in demand by people who work nearby, including at nearby hospitals.
Three of the units along Liberty would be live/work loft spaces. The development will offer a mix of apartment sizes.
Mr. Light said he is not prepared to estimate his budget or the rental prices, but the units will include amenities such as indoor parking and enough bicycle parking for every unit. The building is on a designated bike lane and bus routes.
The zoning board's decision is due within 45 days. He said he would expect the project to take 18 months to complete.