A proposed apartment building on East Otterman Street in Greensburg has been reduced in size and delayed while the developer negotiates an agreement with a neighboring commercial property owner.
Steve Gifford, executive director of the Greensburg Community Development Corp., and his wife first proposed a $1 million apartment project called ParkSide Lofts this summer.
It was to be a new, four-story, 15-unit apartment building, constructed after a dilapidated building that once housed a Sherwin-Williams paint store was torn down.
But as plans progressed, an architect advised Mr. Gifford that because the new building would be narrow, only 25 feet wide, and tall, he was concerned about it swaying in a wind storm.
He suggested Mr. Gifford seek permission from neighbors on either side to sink a concrete foundation footer 3 feet on the neighbors' property to stabilize the building.
Mr. Gifford said he could not obtain agreements for that.
"The Girl Scouts, who own the building on one side, had no problem with that, but the other owner would not agree to that," Mr. Gifford said.
"We wanted to rip up part of his parking lot in the rear to sink the footer, and then redo the asphalt, but no agreement could be reached," he said.
So the size of the project has been cut in half.
"It will be a two-story, wood frame building with six apartments," Mr. Gifford said. "And the foundation will be all on our property."
Mr. Gifford and his wife formed a company to undertake the project after Greensburg officials and the development corporation had unsuccessfully marketed the site, which has been vacant for more than 20 years.
"The property is very dilapidated," he said. "It has deteriorated over the years."
"I'm optimistic, but we're still in limbo," Mr. Gifford said of a written agreement with the last neighbor who will temporarily have equipment, such as scaffolding, on his property while the new building is going up.
"It's slowly coming along," he said. "Another developer may have given up by now.
"We have been back and forth quite a bit with the neighbor. The Girl Scouts have agreed to allow us to use ladders on their property while windows are being installed, and scaffolding and construction equipment when the foundation is being laid. But we still don't have an agreement with the other property owner for that.
"We hope to go before the historic and architectural board in October and the planning commission in October," he said.
Mr. Gifford wants to get the project moving before winter and still hopes to complete it by July 2014 to market the apartments to students attending Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine at Seton Hill.
"Since it's only half the size it was originally, we think that is still possible," he said.
Reducing the scale of the project, however, meant getting new architect and design drawings, he said.
After the project is reviewed by the city planning commission, it goes before city council for approval.
Debra Duncan, freelance writer: email@example.com.