Pittsburgh Housing Authority to shift millions, tap reserves to invest in development

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The Pittsburgh Housing Authority turned up the heat today on a massive rebuilding effort by shifting some $20 million to its nonprofit redevelopment arm and preparing to tap reserves for twice that amount in 2014.

The authority's board voted to approve a $173.6 million budget that draws down $40 million in reserves for reconstruction. It also loaned $7 million to its nonprofit Allies and Ross Management and Development Corp. to fill a funding gap in its bid to rebuild Addison Terrace in the Hill District. And it sent another $12.6 million to Allies and Ross to construct new housing in Larimer.

"The Housing Authority has to reposition itself so we are working as a business," authority executive director Caster Binion said, "and being a partner in the community while changing the face of public housing."

The $7 million loan to a partnership rebuilding Addison is necessary because PNC Bank can no longer provide a loan in approximately that amount. Mr. Binion said timing problems and federal belt tightening conspired to nix the PNC loan.

The loan increases the authority's investment in the Addison project to $58.5 million out of a total cost of about $160 million.

Across 40 years, the loan will pay Allies and Ross $11 million in interest, which will be plowed back into low-income housing, Mr. Binion said.

The effort to replace Addison's 734 dilapidated public housing units with some 400 apartments for a mix of incomes is being run by Columbus-based developer Keith B. Key, whose firm will also manage the rebuilt community.

The $12.6 million dedicated to Larimer, plus $3.9 million previously dedicated to the project, will pave the way for about 85 new homes.

The city's Urban Redevelopment Authority is separately leading the construction of 50 new homes there. The housing authority this month applied for federal funds that could bring the total to 350 residences.

The authority's plan to tap reserves to the tune of $40 million next year will leave it with around $20 million in the bank, Mr. Binion said.

neigh_city - breaking - businessnews

Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1542. Twitter: @richelord. First Published September 26, 2013 12:45 AM


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